Posted by: Snake Oil Baron | February 21, 2011


Once upon a time there was a corporate head office that felt that one or more employees of one of their local operations were not following an important store policy. The local manager and regional manager looked at the records and saw that the employees were following the policy and that the head office was making deductions based on an opinion about the merchandise that was in opposition to reality. Instead of launching a simple investigation (sending someone into the field to do the job they thought was being done wrong to see if the claims of the local management were true), head office assumed that they were right and put pressure on the local management to fix the “problem”. The local employees were bemused when they were told by management that they had better start doing what management could objectively tell them they were doing all along anyway. Meanwhile, a genuine problem that was causing the appearance of a fictional problem would not immediately be solved because head office did not believe it existed. Did I mention that the reason other locations were not coming up with this problem was that they were faking adherence to the policy in a way that would come back to bite them later on. Oddly enough, this is the second time in under a year that a problem with an almost identical nature had cropped up in regards to a brand new system being implemented.

The moral of the story is that while the private sector is infinitely superior to the public sector, it is still riddled with the bureaucratic ossification of human nature; it is an institutionalization of humanity’s psychological issues like denial, delusional and paranoid thinking, an inability to cope with exceptions to generalities, an inability to learn from past mistakes and an unwillingness to think long-term. When humans come together they become much more powerful than individual but they don’t transcend human nature.

The solution? Devise intelligent entities which lack human nature altogether. It is upper and middle management where A.I. will eventually yield some of the largest returns on investment. And think of the money we will save on comfy chairs and executive washroom cleaning.



  1. App rope oh of nothing much, I recently heard someone on a podcast referring to the first comment on an online news story about a possible undiscovered gas giant type plannet in the outer reaches of the solarsystem. The commenter seems to have assumed (possibly for the sake of humour) that the planet existed and had intelligent alien life. He/she simply stated that:

    “They will come here, kill the children and rape the dogs. That would be really, really bad.”

    I have decided to include that in the comments about any subject I can think of from space aliens to artificially intelligent robots to the Scandinavians to the producers of CBC TV and radio.

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