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Early thoughts on Opasnet

The text was written on an airplane from Milan to Helsinki, 25.4.2007 22:21. This was probably after an Intarese meeting. --Jouni (talk) 12:51, 21 June 2016 (UTC)

For some strange reason, I am not tired. To do something useful, I'll start my own description of pyrkilo. The description that is not bound by the description of work of WP1.4 or SP1 or Intarese or anything else. I'll try to explain it from my point of view, not from the point of project menagement. I am not sure how unclear my presentations have been so far, when I have tried to emphasize a particular feature of the whole thing that I thought might fit that particular purpose.

So, what is pyrkilo?

The basic idea of pyrkilo is to save the world from complex deteriorating environmental problems that are too large, too slow, or too difficult to be tackled using traditional policy-making tools. I have located the method under risk analysis to define it as a part of scientific discipline. I have rather flexibly used also other names about this thing, such as risk assessment, benefit-risk analysis, or impact assessment. But really, I think it is something bigger, and neither the traditional risk analysis, nor any other existing word really describes what pyrkilo is about.

The basic idea is that it should be an authoritative description of an important issue, so that whoever is talking about the issue cannot ignore what the pyrkilo says about it. The aim is thus to limit degrees of freedom in policy-making. If all policy-makers knew that there is an authoritative source where anyone can check and find out that you are talking bullshit, it should greatly improve the quality of political discussion and thus decisions. In addition to improving discussions, it should be able to falsify the worst policy options and thus discourage their promotion. ("Falsify" means here that it is shown that with any plausible value judgments a certain option is always inferior to others).

I am impressed about the simple and brilliant idea of democracy, which I think does the same. The strength of democracy is not that it produces the best decisions. The strength is that it prevents a large number of most stupid decisions that dictators or totalitarist groups would do. Democracy, like pyrkilo, has its requirements: there must be freedom of speech, well-enough educated public, infrastructure to fulfill the democratic decisions, and so on. So, we must understand what the requirements for pyrkilo are.

(By the way, like pyrkilo, democracy is NOT an intuitive idea although it is simple. Those who realised that democracy might work were really visionairs and fighted against the intuitive decision-making protocol that we all have in our genes: 1) there is a group, 2) the group has a leader, 3) the leader is the one who is able to grab the power using different means (force, respect, wisdom...), 4) the others obey the leader.)

I believe that the idea of pyrkilo is important. Actually, I think its importance is in the same order of magnitude as the idea of democracy, given that it works. This might explain why I really don't care whether Erik of David or someone else thinks this is a good idea. If they don't see it now, they'll see it afterwards (again, given that it works; the whole text here is written with this disclaimer). I cannot even consider the idea of giving up pyrkilo because it gets opposition. I would never forgive myself if I did.

Because I am so convinced, I think of things backwards in time: I think of the future where the pyrkilo is up and running. Then I think what must have happened before that, and before that, until I get back to the present from the near future. Then I know what I must do to get to the near future. (Because of this, it is quite easy for me to see what should be done after five years, but it is much more difficult to see what should be done during the next five months. I am a poor manager because of this, but a good visionaire. That's why I desperately need someone to take care of the practical issues.)

Because I am so convinced, I thought in the workshop that I should say: This is a historic moment, and I suggest that everyone starts writing a diary, so that the future historians have material for their research. But then I thought that it is too

Some requirements for pyrkilo:

  • It must be respected.
  • It must produce better descriptions of world than traditional methods.
  • It must have a tendency of convergation of content. This means an opposite to a discussion forum where the discussion goes on as responses to details to previous reponses, thus having tendency to slide away from the important issues.
  • It must have methods to