The Limits of Automation

If automation is only limited by the boundaries of what we can describe, are we actually capable of describing those entities, processes, objects and systems of non-trivially sophisticated complexity with which we all must eventually and inevitably engage ? What are the logical, mathematical and epistemological boundaries of our collective efforts to compress, optimise and accelerate technological, administrative and organisational systems ? Are we unable to automate much broader organisational or technical systems because beyond a certain threshold of descriptive complexity, uncertainty and entropy becomes fundamentally unmanageable ? Is it an irreducible problem-space because the logic required to describe globally-considered, emergent webs of complex systems interconnection and interdependence (far beyond relatively simple tasks and processes) is not amenable to concise or linear algorithmic representation ?

If we can not agree on a (shared, or ideologically agnostic) big-picture description of purpose and technological or organisational teleology, how can we ever hope to optimise and automate information processing systems beyond the most trivial or isolated of programmable processes, entities and objects ?

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