Chaitin complains that they’re “managing to make it impossible for anybody to do any real research. You have to say in advance what you’re going to accomplish. You have to have milestones, reports.” The trouble is, he says, real advances often don’t work that way:
Gregory Chaitin: It’s tough. I have a pessimistic vision which I hope is completely wrong, that the bureaucracies are like a cancer — the ones that control research and funding for research and counting how much you’ve been publishing. I’ve noticed that at universities, for example, the administrative personnel are gradually taking all the best buildings and expanding. So I think that the bureaucracy and the rules and regulations increases to the point that it sinks the society.
At that point, basically, I expect, as with companies, the country will collapse because it will fail in a competition with a younger, more vigorous, more daring country. So nations and corporations seem to have a life cycle like human beings do: Vigorous youth where they think they can do anything and then they get very conservative. They don’t want to come up with a new product which competes with their existing product line because you can’t predict how much it’s going to earn in advance.
At IBM it used to happen. The salespeople would — with a completely new technology, a new kind of computer — make a very low estimate of how many are going to sell. So we have to charge a lot for each one because we had a lot of development costs and we weren’t allowed to dump products.
Robert J. Marks: Yeah. It’s frustrating.
Gregory Chaitin: It’s more than frustrating. I think it’s the end. When our society reaches that point, their innovation is going to go down.
So the result is that it’s a lost cause. If you want to try some daring new product, it’s going to be so expensive that no one is going to buy it.News, “Gregory Chaitin on how bureaucracy chokes science today” at Mind Matters News
In Chaitin’s view, a key problem is that the current system cannot afford failure — but the risk of some failures is often the price of later success.
Note: Chaitin is best known for Chaitin’s unknowable number.