The Art of the Possible

Can Eric Bonabeau’s Hunch Engine expand your mind?

According to the company’s publicity materials, the Hunch Engine is software that uses evolutionary algorithms to breed solutions to science, engineering, business, or design problems–solutions that no human mind could have predicted. Icosystem claims that evolutionary algorithms expose ideas to a kind of natural selection, allowing users to “reach beyond the limits of their imagination.” But the notion that serendipity might produce better results than thinking and planning left me suspicious. That was before I heard about the French letter carriers.

This dovetails nicely into ideas like Agile (iterative) Software design. In the past, software architects tried to design the entire software program before a line of code was written. The result was rarely what was needed.

Instead, Agile design writes code right away, and iteratively changes it, recoding as necessary, and rethinks the application as people use it and decide what they like and don’t like.

Nature does it everyday, why would we be so arrogant to assume we know better? Oh, yeah — we’re human. 😉

The Art of the Possible