Francine M. Deutsch: Guided by concerns of the human heart

Published: 7/7/2021 4:28:14 PM Heartless algorithms can destroy a neighborhood. An algorithm is a step-by-step procedure for solvi...



Published: 7/7/2021 4:28:14 PM

Heartless algorithms can destroy a neighborhood.

An algorithm is a step-by-step procedure for solving a problem. For example, in elementary school, we all learned the algorithm to solve long-division problems.

Miriam-Webster says: “Algorithm, is commonly used nowadays for the set of rules a machine (and especially a computer) follows to achieve a particular goal.” Computers, however, do not have a human heart.

Several weeks ago the citizens of Warfield Place and their allies met with Mayor Narkewicz to try to convince him to stay the execution of the beautiful cherry trees on the street by delaying the repaving plan. The mayor patiently explained that Warfield was chosen based on the Department of Public Works algorithm for which street should be repaved. The algorithm’s answer is based on factors like the number of potholes, the age of the underlying infrastructure, and the relevant cost.

The mayor was committed to proceeding according to the numbers dictated by the algorithm. But numbers do not tell the whole story.

What’s tragically missing in this decision is care for the quality of life not only for the Warfield residents, but for all of us who look forward every year to this beautiful blossoming symbol of spring. A community like Northampton should be guided, not simply by numbers, but by concerns of the human heart that are not easily quantified.

Francine M. Deutsch

Northampton



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Newsrust - US Top News: Francine M. Deutsch: Guided by concerns of the human heart
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