Zach Tellman: the heuristics of the government fail and the heuristics of software fail

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at:

Zach Tellman gives a speech that almost compares urban planning to writing software. He never exactly states his idea, but he is often on the brink. He compares the state and the nomad and suggests that the state is attempting to force reality to conform to a simplified version of itself, so as to make it tractable. He never exactly says “All of your attempts to write software are doomed” but that is implied by his implied criticism of the state. Government planners must use heuristics to make the world understandable, but their heuristics are like the map which is never the territory. So to, our software. The implication is that no matter how hard we try to build flexibility into our software, we will never be able to account for all that reality will bring to us.