Thursday, October 29, 2009

Blame Excel

@thinkovation (Gary Barnet) argues that the current financial crisis was caused by Excel (via @neilwd).

@monkchips thinks this is silly. I think he means it is silly to blame things on Excel. Of course Gary make it clear that he is actually blaming things on people using Excel stupidly.

If it is silly to blame a lump of software when things go wrong, it is equally silly to credit a lump of software when things go right. But this is exactly what the software vendors do all the time - claiming all sorts of benefits from the use of their products.

@jevdemon adds: "bad carpenters blame their tools". And good carpenters never praise their tools.

There are some fundamental logical flaws in the way people commonly reason about lumps of software as instruments - means to producing some end. See my paper Reasoning about Systems and their Properties.

See also my post A Better Instrument?

And for a related point, see Mike Kavis, When in doubt, blame the cloud

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