‘In most sciences people are forced to be very familiar with the idea that “the map isn’t the territory” meaning that your models of a domain are not identical with that domain. But in software the model you create does massively shape the world that people act in and – the more something happens in software – are a lot closer to the territory. Computer scientists are used to creating the model and claiming it to be the territory’ tante.cc/2021/12/20/model-worl


I feel like someone should do a compare-and-contrast between computer science ideas like that blockchain will solve everything and economics ideas like that neoliberal markets will solve everything.

In both spaces there seems to be a confusion of model and reality, and in both cases the model shapes reality. But neoliberal economics gets taken seriously in ways that blockchain does not.


Is the fact that blockchain is still a kind of fringe idea that gets mocked while neoliberal economics is the basis for national policies around the world simply a matter of neoliberal economics having a headstart, or is there some fundamental difference in ridiculousness of the two ideas?



I like the idea of the map changing the territory in computer science resulting in crazy ideas like blockchain as a miracle cure. However, this has me wondering whether perhaps the phenomenon is more common than we realize, and that perhaps the reason that blockchain feels more ridiculous than some other examples is that it *isn't* mainstream (at least not yet).

Where else do map-territory confusions that shape the world come up? Medicine? Nutrition? Technology more broadly?

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Building on this, I find myself wondering whether there might be other concepts from the computing world that are just as poorly thought out as blockchain, but that we don't notice because they're already so universal that we've learned to take them for granted.

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