As the leading American proponent and theorist of the software-design philosophy known as fuzzy logic, Bart Kosko, author of Fuzzy Future: From Society and Science to Heaven in a Chip, can be expected to have high hopes for the discipline. And it's not like it hasn't lived up to some of them already. Forsaking the binary either/or at the heart of digital computing, fuzzy logic's emphasis on the shades of gray between true and false makes it a valuable way to program microchips that guide factories, cars, household appliances, and other gadgetry that works with the physical world's nonbinary facts. It also makes for a pretty slick philosophical end run around the yes-or-no logic that has been the basis of Western thought for the last couple of millennia.
But here Kosko announces that fuzzy logic is ready to do more. Taxes, voting rights, abortion, warfare, genetic engineering, deep physics, computer-generated art, the quest for transcendent posthuman immortality--all of these and more, he tells us, may in the future be transformed by the powerful techniques of fuzzy thinking. The overall result: less government, ignorance, poverty, death; more power to the people. This of course is exciting news, and that may explain why Kosko sometimes seems less than interested in nailing down the details of what fuzz has to do with any of it. So if it's an education in fuzziness you want, look elsewhere--at Kosko's earlier, more introductory Fuzzy Thinking perhaps. But for a vivid snapshot of fuzzy thinking at its most ambitious, jump right on in. --Julian Dibbell [via]