Re: CAMREC: Re: Turing tests?

From: the Campaign for Real Economics (
Date: Fri Jul 09 1999 - 16:53:53 BST

Date: Fri, 09 Jul 1999 16:53:53 +0100
Message-Id: <>
To: bogus
From: (the Campaign for Real Economics)
Subject: Re: CAMREC: Re: Turing tests?
In-Reply-To: <CAMREC: Re: Turing tests?>

Message-Id: <>
To: CAMREC list members <>
From: the Campaign for Real Economics <>
Date: Fri, 09 Jul 1999 16:53:53 +0100
Subject: Re: CAMREC: Re: Turing tests?

Bruce wrote:

> However experience suggests that economists will always quibble as to
> how successful they are at addressing real problems, which would lead
> one back to the old unproductive aguments about why what they do is bad
> science. External observers will be confused by the competing claims
> about the success of these traditional models - the failure of economics
> will not be made apparent.

Increasingly, external observers are also real scientists -- as in software
engineering for electronic commerce or in modelling the social impacts on, and
consequences of, climate change. It does not in practice take long for them
to rumble the contribution of conventional (= toy?) economists.

> The ETT forces evaluation only by its success at replicating the
> behaviour of a real economic entity. We can choose a realistic problem
> domain for the interaction and thus force entrants to deal with it (and
> not an abstraction of it).

Any representation of a real problem will be an abstraction. So, too, will
any representation of real actors. To require our representations of real
actors to be indistinguishable from the actors themselves is both very strong
and unnecessary. We want our representations to capture *relevant* aspects of
observed behaviour. I take this to be the import of Edmund's remarks. My
concern is that we should spend our time developing useful approaches to real
economics rather than playing games with the toy economists.

Professor Scott Moss
Centre for Policy Modelling
Manchester Metropolitan University
Aytoun Building
Manchester M1 3GH

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