Moulton Lava

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Mechanism Design vs. Intelligent Design

The Nobel Prize in Economics was awarded today to three researchers who developed an economic theory known as Mechanism Design.

Mechanism Design is a branch of Game Theory that investigates how to design economic systems which induce participants to play both optimally and ethically.

That is, in Mechanism Design, there is no advantage to Gaming the System.

There is a very short article in Wikipedia on Mechanism Design, compared to a very long one on Intelligent Design. The irony is that Mechanism Design is an intelligent application of mathematical analysis of economic systems.

Methinks it would behoove the Wikipedians to spend less time on Intelligent Design and more time on Mechanism Design.

12 Comments:

Blogger Fuckin Broc said...

Considering that these topics are barely....barely related you can't compare them. Of course that has never stopped you before when it came to making mountains out of molehills. Don't try to argue that they are similar because any argument you make will be filled with more holes than the story of your relationship with Picard.

Also, last I checked Mechanism Design wasn't being trumped up as something it wasn't and did not have a group of people actively pushing it to supplant a known fact and pushing students to be forced to learn it in some twisted sense of academic freedom ALL THE WHILE violating the laws of the land.

Once again, poor Moulton, it seems as if you have shown your stunning lack of intelligence. Keep it up though, its quite amusing.

11:59 PM  
Blogger Moulton said...

When one abstracts seemingly unrelated ideas to their essential features, one often finds more commonality than might first be supposed.

By analogy, consider the diversity of species across all living organisms — plants, animals, and bacteria. Although these species are remarkably diverse, they all share the identical underlying DNA genetic code.

One of the arguments of the ID crowd is that the uniqueness of life at the level of the mechanism of DNA (along with the complexity of that mechanism) is just too ingenious to have arisen by dumb luck.

And that assertion does raise a good question for the science of abiogenesis. Exactly how did the DNA code and related cell machinery arise in the first place?

Sexual reproduction is an example of a marketplace economy. The marketplace exists because the mechanism of DNA-based reproduction enables it.

The question of whether the DNA code, as we find it today, is a frozen accident as Francis Crick hypothesized, or an optimal code that evolved to maximize the reliability and robustness of the reproductive machinery remains an intriguing puzzle for biologists to work out.

Learning the underlying mathematics of Game Theory, Drama Theory, and Mechanism Design is a lot more interesting than studying the teleological arguments of the proponents of Intelligent Design. The problem with teleological arguments is that they lack the insight and functionality of the art of mathematical system modeling.

If it troubles you to be coerced or restrained by the totems and taboos of authority figures, you might find your long-sought intellectual freedom in the derivative disciplines of Systems Theory.

7:01 AM  
Blogger Fuckin Broc said...

Thank god you finally admitted to being an ID proponent. At least it clears that up. Was that really so hard to finally just admit that? It sure brings everything else into much sharper focus.

But please, don't stop on my account.

9:57 PM  
Blogger Moulton said...

You don't have an account.

10:24 PM  
Blogger Isotelesis said...

In a sense, dynamic mechanism design is an indirect form of intelligent self-determinacy/voluntarily (rather than merely indeterminacy/accidentally or determinacy/involuntarily), as in a meta-cybernetic system which sets up the conditions for its own emergence.

11:16 AM  
Blogger Isotelesis said...

Evolution and Intelligent Design:
This paper discusses the relationship between two sources of ideas. The first is a set of analytic results that impose the rational expectations equilibrium concept and do 'intelligent design' by solving Ramsey and mechanism design problems. The second is a long trial and error learning process that constrained government budgets...
http://www.econ.northwestern.edu/seminars/Nemmers07/Sargent.pdf

Mechanism Design for Dynamic Settings:
http://www.sigecom.org/exchanges/volume_8/2/cavallo.pdf

"What about the cyclical solution? If one uses laws to explain states, then one is obliged to explain the laws themselves. Standard scientific methodology requires that natural laws be defined on observations of state. If it is then claimed that all states are by definition caused by natural laws, then this constitutes a circularity necessarily devolving to a mutual definition of law and state. If it is then objected that this circularity characterizes only the process of science, but not the objective universe that science studies, and that laws in fact have absolute priority over states, then the laws themselves require an explanation by something other than state. But this would effectively rule out the only remaining alternative, namely the closed-cycle configuration, and we would again arrive at…magic."
http://www.scribd.com/doc/24820585/Cheating-the-Millennium-The-Mounting-Explanatory-Debts-of-Scientific-Naturalism

11:44 AM  
Blogger Moulton said...

Isotelesis wrote...

In a sense, dynamic mechanism design is an indirect form of intelligent self-determinacy/voluntarily (rather than merely indeterminacy/accidentally or determinacy/involuntarily), as in a meta-cybernetic system which sets up the conditions for its own emergence.

I couldn't fail to disagree less.

1:32 PM  
Blogger Isotelesis said...

Perhaps I phrased that very poorly, you may not fail to disagree with this more either.

"From Jaim: Have human beings any demonstrable purpose other than to reproduce themselves?

Chris Langan: Yes. We are internal sensor-controllers in a “metacybernetic” system called reality. As such, we help reality self-configure by trying to maximize various levels of utility up to that of “teleology”. Teleology, a global principle of self-actualization ultimately associated with the design concept, is merely a logical predicate defined to account for that level of the structure of reality that relates the configuration of reality to other conceivable configurations. With respect to any temporal, evolving system, this is a necessary level of structure that can no more be scientifically dismissed than an unfashionable subset of a set can be mathematically dismissed from its powerset. In effect, it constitutes the “design phase” of reality itself."
http://www.iscid.org/christopherlangan-chat.php

4:13 AM  
Blogger Moulton said...

Ask not, "What is the purpose of life."

Instead ask, "How may I bring purpose and meaning to my life?"

One can conscientiously craft a purpose-drive life by wrestling one's calling into the world.

What is your calling? What long-term activity brings joy, meaning, and purpose into your life?

6:40 AM  
Blogger Isotelesis said...

A calling would be different from that which maximizes my generalized expected utility or that which increases total systemic self-utility...my calling is to learn right now, and perhaps to provide some material on Chris Langan's version of "intelligent self-design", (rather different from Dembski's version of ID) which happens to employ some concepts (utility maximization, the least action principle) from economics. I don't think it should be taught in school, first it has to be fully understood and deciphered, the concepts explored are more interesting to ontologists than biologists.

"A stochastic process with the Markov property, or memorylessness, is one for which conditional on the present state of the system, its future and past are independent."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Markov_process

(related to evolving systems with "private information")

This paper examines the problem of how to design incentive-compatible mechanisms in environments in which the agents' private information evolves stochastically over time in which decisions have to be made in each period. The environments we consider are fairly general in that the agents' types are allowed to evolve in a non-Markov way,
http://www.stanford.edu/~isegal/dmd.pdf

"The fact that LO has a foliated structure consisting of spacelike sheets, with temporal rules confined to the operators embedded in the sheets, suggests that its inter-operator (state-wise, ectosyntactic) level of structure be regarded as essentially spatial in character. Thus, where space denotes the external relationships among operators and time denotes their internal self-relationships, one might also think of LS and LO as corresponding approximately to time and space. (The correspondence is “approximate” because LS and LO are mutually inclusive, reflecting the logical coupling of space and time; LO topologically contains (LO,LS)-structured operators, while the operators descriptively contain LO.) Where space and time respectively correspond to information and a combination of generalized cognition and telic recursion, one may therefore conclude that the conspansive evolution of spacetime is an alternation of teleo-cognitive and informational phases cross-refined by telic recursion involving extended, trans-Markovian telonic relationships."
http://www.megafoundation.org/CTMU/Articles/Langan_CTMU_092902.pdf

11:07 AM  
Blogger Moulton said...

If your primary activity at this stage of your life is to learn, you might find this material to be of some value and utility to you:

Cognition, Affect, and Learning

11:27 AM  
Blogger Isotelesis said...

Thanks, a well done knol, here is mine:

Upon this gifted age, in this dark hour,
Falls from the sky a meteoric shower
Of facts...they lie unquestioned, uncombined.
Wisdom enough to leach us of our ill
Is daily spun: but there exists no loom
to weave it into fabric...
(Murray Gell-Mann)
http://knol.google.com/k/plectics-groups-autopoiesis-logoi-topoi-biosemiosis-orders-teletics

12:26 PM  

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