The end result, or at least, what I took home from it (apart from becoming more knowledgeable about the general field, of course), is that there apparently is no perfect solution that works in all cases. And that, IMVPO, utilitarianism seems fairest, on the whole.

What works for one situation may not work for another. There is no cookie cutter solution for everything, and to insist that all systems - or any system - would be completely scaleable (as one person has apparently asserted) if only humans were perfectly educated kind of reinforces my point.

IF A SYSTEM REQUIRES PERFECTION OR EVEN GENERAL COMPETENCE ON A LARGE SCALE, IT WILL FAIL.

This, and Cram's mention of the word "Heuristics" reminds me of the No Free Lunch Theorem:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_free_lunch_in_search_and_optimizationBasically it describes a situation where it can be mathematically proven that there can be no generic search/optimization procedure (algorithm) that is efficient for every single possible problem. (BTW, also holds for meta-heuristics, which are generic optimization improvement methods, such as "best out of three" voting)

"The 'no free lunch' theorem of Wolpert and Macready," as stated in plain language by Wolpert and Macready themselves, is that "any two algorithms are equivalent when their performance is averaged across all possible problems."[9] The "no free lunch" results indicate that matching algorithms to problems gives higher average performance than does applying a fixed algorithm to all.

Which is basically what you say, right?

The only useful solution to this problem is to use a different algorithm for different problems. Makes sense, but the only way to choose the right algorithm is to make use of "domain knowledge", which is external information based on the particular instance of the problem, but not part of the general class of problems.

In other words, it says (back to real world) you need to apply common sense and critical thinking skills. Which also do not scale well. So I am curious to read your next installments on these subjects