Sunday, January 27, 2008

Who am I ? Random Nonsensical Rant

What would make more sense than to dedicate our lives to finding our true nature? But what if we don't have a true nature ? We have optimization functions : Self-gratification (local optimization), v/s Making the world a better place (global optimization); we have cost functions, and we certainly have priors. The problem is the problem is not time invariant. It changes, we change, as we speak, as we think.

While I sit and read blogs, while I sit and wonder how can Bayes not be the right answer, I change. Each person we meet, we see. The woman in the bus with the funky purple hat "imported from India", the old lady with her red lipstick, the people standing with "No War" signs on the streets, or the ones who clean the streets of garbage without being paid to.

People I never speak to challenge my understanding of the world, question what 5 years of my life are worth, remind me of the always ignored, but still always present optimization function, in a world with no feedback, in a world with no evaluation metric, with multiple realities, and multiple belief systems, and 6 billion people, most of whom believe they are the most important person in the world.

And yet we all do it, we all optimize over an undefined function. And turns out that the people unaware of doing it are the happiest of them all. Ignorance really is bliss, if happiness is what u want.

And so it seems who you are is all about your loss function. And then I wonder why I am taking the optimization class, when really what I need is decision theory.

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