Monday, October 19, 2009

They're All a Bunch of Nazi Conformist Cheerleaders

Not sure what to make of this. Researchers were interested in whether suicides of famous people resulted in copy-cat suicides. So they created a computer simulation:
By studying the behaviour of 1000 computer 'people', pre-programmed with the rules that govern how people learn from one another, (the researcher) investigated the problem of copycat suicides to see whether suicidal behaviour in the population really does fit with sociologists' assumptions (of copy-cat suicides being common).
Evidently, the computer people were all goth and copy-catty. The researcher concluded:
The findings of the computer simulations strongly support the proposed link between the mass reporting of a prestigious celebrity's suicide and an increase in national suicide figures.
Know what? Sure, this is pretty cool. But here's where I get pissy. Based on the computer people cyber-killing themselves, the researcher proposes real social regulation:
This highlights the need for media guidelines that restrict the dissemination and glorification of suicides, as already introduced in many countries, such as Austria, Switzerland and Australia
I guess that if you believe you can "pre-program (computer people) with the rules that govern how people learn from one another" then I suppose you'd also believe you can regulate "the rules that govern how (real) people learn from one another." I, on the other hand, am less willing to generalize from computer people to real people that absolutely. But I have a suggestion - develop a computer program that governs how people pay taxes. Then tax the cyber-people to fund the regulations. I would support that.

Title from here:

Posted at Reverse Sickology

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