Thursday, October 09, 2008

Using Spore to Guide the Economy

Many people know about the Sims game and recently Spore where you build a world and it evolves based on how you tweak the 'DNA' and genetic pool of your simulation. Why can't you apply methodology the same to economic simulations? Here's my idea, the government and private sector combined should set up a massive simulation of people, economies and stimulus programs that run in much faster than real time and allow the general public to try out simulations of different economic programs. Google/Microsoft/Oracle/Amazon/Apple/IBM/OSF should chip in resources to build/connect to this cloud simulation and it should be open to supercomputers as well to plug in simulation results. Additionally, people can volunteer their free CPU cycles to try random parameters like the folding protein and SETI screensavers do.

It should be run like a contest and every couple of weeks, the top 1% of simulation results should be analyzed by a pool of really smart people. As the economy is a moving target, this should be an ongoing effort with base assumptions adjusted based on the changing reality.

There's almost no chance that this can be done in time to change what's going on now but there's no reason why a few spreadsheets can't be thrown out there with tweakable parameters to let pundits work on. I am pretty convinced that the crowd can figure out economic algorithms to ease or solve many of the economic pressures at hand.

Just a thought, much better than handing out free money and buying deadbeat mortgages with my tax dollars IMHO.

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