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Contemporary Ideas and Practices at Work Keith Grint Abstract This book is designed for those who find current management orthodoxies inadequate, who are interested in alternative ideas and how they might be applied to management practice, but are not enthralled by the esoteric world of theoretical books about theory.

More This book is designed for those who find current management orthodoxies inadequate, who are interested in alternative ideas and how they might be applied to management practice, but are not enthralled by the esoteric world of theoretical books about theory.


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From the perspective of fuzzy logic, the uncertain future was no longer something to be defanged but to be welcomed. While not as prominent at the time, alternatives to top-down intelligence also popped up in early AI research, approaches that would eventually lead to the recent breakthroughs in the field. Fuzzy logic, on the contrary, suggests instead that there are computable gradations between the two. Everything for Zadeh — including truth itself — was a matter of degree.

Fuzzy Logic, Fuzzy Ethics — Real Life

Some other logicians and computer scientists were skeptical, insisting that this sort of approach was misguided, even pernicious — that it would grind scientific progress to a halt, given its apparent troubling of objective, clear-cut scientific facts about the world. This new approach held considerable promise for AI, as it purported to seamlessly integrate and learn from unexpected inputs, as humans can apparently do so effortlessly, rather than simply malfunction on contact like the more unyielding top-down systems.

This signaled a new paradigm, in which AI applications are effective insofar as they are unstable models of an unstable world, with each new input modifying and progressively updating the overall model itself.

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Bayesian networks — the breakthrough technique developed by UCLA computer scientist Judea Pearl in — as well as the many machine-learning techniques that have followed suit derive from this line of thinking. Those at the helm of AI systems often cannot articulate how they come to work in the first place and why, for example, they consistently drive users toward conspiracy or reproduce sexualized and racialized search results. The response to this ongoing crisis from prominent tech executives has been to repeatedly promise to do better in the future.

But this is essentially a plea for self-regulation, allowing companies to continue to operate without clear political boundaries or structures of accountability. Harris, curiously, is also a devout Aristotelian, if his public proclamations are anything to go by. That is to say, he, like the ancient Greek philosopher, understands ethics to be the individual pursuit of virtuous moderation. In the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle argues that to live the good life, one must constantly strive for the right balance between polar extremes.

Too much ambition is just as bad as too much lethargy; to be obsequious to others is no better than to be churlish. Ethics, for Aristotle, is the lifelong endeavor to locate and occupy the ambiguous yet optimal middle ground between excess and defect. For Harris, this represents a flipped script in which humans are no longer served by technology, as the industry, in its constitutional optimism, might have once intended, but have instead become subjected to its throes.


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This can all be chalked up, the story goes, to the inexorable failings of human nature that lead us to abuse such power. But as computing power steadily increases, so too does our individual vulnerability.

Fuzzy Management Contemporary Ideas and Practices at Work

According to critics like Harris, the insalubrity that follows every time machine-learning algorithms are airdropped into a new domain reflects not the garbage data going in or the garbled programming that attends to said data, but rather the innate glitches in our biological hardware. According to the Center for Humane Technology, our children have become addicted, our attention spans have waned, our communities have become polarized, and likes, shares, favs, and retweets have come to rule everything around us.

Such use of software metaphors to explain the human condition is par for the course in Silicon Valley, but the Center for Humane Technology seems to have set a new standard. The problems are bad but their causes … their causes are very good.