Hard Questions the Computer Cannot Help Us With

The Computer can do a great job on problems that we already been defined for it. But it cannot help in help us decide what kind of problems we want it to work on.

An example will help explain this.


Prisoners of Hope: Lyndon B. Johnson, the Great Society, and the Limits of Liberalism has lots of statistics about the number of old people that would be served by Medicare and Medicaid. And the number of hospitals in the South who were segregated.

But no computer could predict how people would react. LBJ, a Southerner himself knew – and acted on his instincts.

If all the elderly had showed up, and demanded health care, the system would be overwhelmed. LBJ even arranged for helicopters to transfer patients to hospitals who could care for them. There might be riots in the South.

LBJ made the decision to go ahead anyway. No one called his bluff – because it wasn’t a bluff. He was prepared to back up his decisions with military force – and everyone knew it.

No computer that ever existed, or will exist – could do this. It cannot provide leadership.


These examples can be multiplied endlessly. No computer will show the human race how to get out of the muddle it is in – because most people do not know themselves.

Only a human mind can see this – and it is not working very well. Partly because the Computer – with its social apps, and its smartphones – have make it hard for people to think on their own.

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