Philosophy
Expand
Play
Episode 87
Featuring David Weinberger
Demetri Kofinas speaks with philosopher David Weinberger about the science of prediction, its evolution, and its implications for a future where machines may provide better predictions than those generated by traditional models, but which may not be able to provide explanations for their forecasts.

In this week’s episode of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with philosopher David Weinberger about the science of prediction, its evolution, and its future.

 

The two begin by exploring classical approaches developed by early philosophers and mathematicians in the ancient world and upon which advancements were later made by enlightenment thinkers and experimental scientists.   

 

The models developed in this tradition have, until now, provided explanations for phenomena, which are used to make predictions about the future states or trajectories of these and other phenomena that adhere the same laws of action or motion.   

 

What is new today is the evolution of what are known as “machine learning algorithms,” many of which provide superior predictions to those generated by conceptual or working models, but which often times cannot provide explanations for these predictions. They are, in this sense, block-box oracles.   

 

This represents a fundamental break with the sort of epistemological approach taken by the ancient Athenian philosophers who demanded that beliefs be justified by reasoned arguments or those of empirical scientists who relied upon falsifiability of testable hypotheses. In other words, whereas traditional approaches to science have necessitated the development of theoretical models of the world that can be tested empirically through the act of making falsifiable predictions, these new approaches are capable of generating predictions without a means by which to understand the causes at play.    

 

What are the implications of this new science? If predictions provided by highly intelligent machines become consistently more accurate across all domains of study, would we prefer to accept these inexplicable solutions over less accurate ones whose methodology we understand? At the limit, if we were to implement every prediction of every MLA, would we arrive at a fated, perfectly knowable world? If machines become the equivalent of Delphi’s Oracle, what will be the value of doing science? The scientific method, after all, is the means by which we have been able to navigate and understand the material world, in material terms. Does this re-open humanity’s door to the preoccupation with the mystery of conscious experience, which cannot be explained through the scientific method of objective, empirical analysis?  

 

These are the questions we explore in this week’s episode with David Weinberger and Demetri Kofinas.

 

Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas

Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou

Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @hiddenforcespod

David Weinberger is a philosopher by training. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto and taught college from 1980-1986. He was a gag writer for the comic strip "Inside Woody Allen" from 1976-1983. David has been a pioneering thought leader about the Internet’s effect on our lives, on our businesses, and most of all, on our ideas, from the earliest days of the Web. He has contributed to fields ranging from marketing to libraries to politics to journalism and more as a strategic marketing VP and consultant; an Internet adviser to presidential campaigns; an early social networking entrepreneur; a writer-in-residence at Google; a senior researcher at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, a fellow at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, and a Franklin Fellow at the US State Department. His writing has appeared in publications from Wired to Harvard Business Review and his books include the bestselling The Cluetrain Manifesto.

Lock

Content Locked

FREE SAMPLE RUNDOWN

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Phasellus hendrerit. Pellentesque aliquet nibh nec urna. In nisi neque, aliquet vel, dapibus id, mattis vel, nisi. Sed pretium, ligula sollicitudin laoreet viverra, tortor libero sodales leo, eget blandit nunc tortor eu nibh. Nullam mollis. Ut justo. Suspendisse potenti.

Sed egestas, ante et vulputate volutpat, eros pede semper est, vitae luctus metus libero eu augue. Morbi purus libero, faucibus adipiscing, commodo quis, gravida id, est. Sed lectus. Praesent elementum hendrerit tortor. Sed semper lorem at felis. Vestibulum volutpat, lacus a ultrices sagittis, mi neque euismod dui, eu pulvinar nunc sapien ornare nisl. Phasellus pede arcu, dapibus eu, fermentum et, dapibus sed, urna.

Morbi interdum mollis sapien. Sed ac risus. Phasellus lacinia, magna a ullamcorper laoreet, lectus arcu pulvinar risus, vitae facilisis libero dolor a purus. Sed vel lacus. Mauris nibh felis, adipiscing varius, adipiscing in, lacinia vel, tellus. Suspendisse ac urna. Etiam pellentesque mauris ut lectus. Nunc tellus ante, mattis eget, gravida vitae, ultricies ac, leo. Integer leo pede, ornare a, lacinia eu, vulputate vel, nisl.

Suspendisse mauris. Fusce accumsan mollis eros. Pellentesque a diam sit amet mi ullamcorper vehicula. Integer adipiscing risus a sem. Nullam quis massa sit amet nibh viverra malesuada. Nunc sem lacus, accumsan quis, faucibus non, congue vel, arcu. Ut scelerisque hendrerit tellus. Integer sagittis. Vivamus a mauris eget arcu gravida tristique. Nunc iaculis mi in ante. Vivamus imperdiet nibh feugiat est.

Lock

Content Locked

FREE SAMPLE RUNDOWN

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Phasellus hendrerit. Pellentesque aliquet nibh nec urna. In nisi neque, aliquet vel, dapibus id, mattis vel, nisi. Sed pretium, ligula sollicitudin laoreet viverra, tortor libero sodales leo, eget blandit nunc tortor eu nibh. Nullam mollis. Ut justo. Suspendisse potenti.

Sed egestas, ante et vulputate volutpat, eros pede semper est, vitae luctus metus libero eu augue. Morbi purus libero, faucibus adipiscing, commodo quis, gravida id, est. Sed lectus. Praesent elementum hendrerit tortor. Sed semper lorem at felis. Vestibulum volutpat, lacus a ultrices sagittis, mi neque euismod dui, eu pulvinar nunc sapien ornare nisl. Phasellus pede arcu, dapibus eu, fermentum et, dapibus sed, urna.

Morbi interdum mollis sapien. Sed ac risus. Phasellus lacinia, magna a ullamcorper laoreet, lectus arcu pulvinar risus, vitae facilisis libero dolor a purus. Sed vel lacus. Mauris nibh felis, adipiscing varius, adipiscing in, lacinia vel, tellus. Suspendisse ac urna. Etiam pellentesque mauris ut lectus. Nunc tellus ante, mattis eget, gravida vitae, ultricies ac, leo. Integer leo pede, ornare a, lacinia eu, vulputate vel, nisl.

Suspendisse mauris. Fusce accumsan mollis eros. Pellentesque a diam sit amet mi ullamcorper vehicula. Integer adipiscing risus a sem. Nullam quis massa sit amet nibh viverra malesuada. Nunc sem lacus, accumsan quis, faucibus non, congue vel, arcu. Ut scelerisque hendrerit tellus. Integer sagittis. Vivamus a mauris eget arcu gravida tristique. Nunc iaculis mi in ante. Vivamus imperdiet nibh feugiat est.

Lock

Content Locked

FREE SAMPLE RUNDOWN

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Phasellus hendrerit. Pellentesque aliquet nibh nec urna. In nisi neque, aliquet vel, dapibus id, mattis vel, nisi. Sed pretium, ligula sollicitudin laoreet viverra, tortor libero sodales leo, eget blandit nunc tortor eu nibh. Nullam mollis. Ut justo. Suspendisse potenti.

Sed egestas, ante et vulputate volutpat, eros pede semper est, vitae luctus metus libero eu augue. Morbi purus libero, faucibus adipiscing, commodo quis, gravida id, est. Sed lectus. Praesent elementum hendrerit tortor. Sed semper lorem at felis. Vestibulum volutpat, lacus a ultrices sagittis, mi neque euismod dui, eu pulvinar nunc sapien ornare nisl. Phasellus pede arcu, dapibus eu, fermentum et, dapibus sed, urna.

Morbi interdum mollis sapien. Sed ac risus. Phasellus lacinia, magna a ullamcorper laoreet, lectus arcu pulvinar risus, vitae facilisis libero dolor a purus. Sed vel lacus. Mauris nibh felis, adipiscing varius, adipiscing in, lacinia vel, tellus. Suspendisse ac urna. Etiam pellentesque mauris ut lectus. Nunc tellus ante, mattis eget, gravida vitae, ultricies ac, leo. Integer leo pede, ornare a, lacinia eu, vulputate vel, nisl.

Suspendisse mauris. Fusce accumsan mollis eros. Pellentesque a diam sit amet mi ullamcorper vehicula. Integer adipiscing risus a sem. Nullam quis massa sit amet nibh viverra malesuada. Nunc sem lacus, accumsan quis, faucibus non, congue vel, arcu. Ut scelerisque hendrerit tellus. Integer sagittis. Vivamus a mauris eget arcu gravida tristique. Nunc iaculis mi in ante. Vivamus imperdiet nibh feugiat est.