Problems never solved but transformed - Revisit the statement

Back in 2019, I jotted down a fleeting reflection on a question that may seem trivial at first glance. It’s the kind of question that feels almost too obvious, woven as it is into the fabric of our daily existence, which is perhaps why it can feel trivial to contemplate. Yet, take a moment to consider it:

“Why does it seem as if there’s an unending cascade of issues needs our attention?”

Asking these questions lead to inspect “What events create new problems once it is solved?”. I am revisiting that thought to see if anything has changed in my perception and try to avoid confirmation bias. This time, I leveraged AI technology to debate that with me.

I asked AI to debate my hypothesis:

Debate this statement with me - “We do not solve the problem, but transform it to an another state?”

AI an I debated for about 15 minutes and Here is a summary of the debate on the idea that AI and I had.

Arguments “for”

  1. Cyclical Nature of Problems - problems, by their nature, are cyclical and evolutionary. When we solve one problem, we often do so within a specific context and set of parameters that can give rise to new challenges. Example: the invention of automobiles solved the problem of long-distance travel but introduced new problems like pollution and traffic congestion
  2. Perspective and Perception - From a philosophical standpoint, the way we perceive problems and solutions is deeply subjective. What constitutes a solution for one individual or society might not hold the same value for another? In Buddhism it is notion of impermanence (lasts only for a limited period) and the Vedantic emphasis on transcending limited perceptions. Example: Buy a vacuum machine to easy the cleaning. But prepare to spend effort to maintain, clean and take care of the machine. You got a new problem to handle.
  3. Complex Systems Theory In complex systems, such as ecosystems, economies, or societies, interventions often have unforeseen consequences due to the interconnectedness of components.Solving a problem in one part of the system can cause ripple effects that transform it or create new problems in other parts. This suggests that solutions are part of a dynamic process of transformation rather than definitive endpoints. Example: You want a connected society. Introduce the social platforms. Solves connectivity, but opens up array of complex issues right from Mis-information, Creating bias, impacts reading abilities in children and many more

Arguments “against”

  1. Definitive Solutions Exist - There are numerous instances where problems have been solved without merely transforming them into other issues. Example: the eradication of a disease like smallpox through vaccination - Humanity solved, eliminating a major cause of suffering without transforming it into a different problem
  2. Incremental Progress - Progress is achieved through the incremental solving of problems, building towards a better state of affairs. Each solution contributes to a foundation of knowledge and capability that enables humanity to tackle more significant challenges
  3. Clear Objectives and Goals - In the fields of science and engineering, problems are defined with specific, measurable objectives. When these objectives are met, the problem is considered solved. Example: landing a spacecraft on Mars is a problem with clear goals. Upon achieving these goals, the problem is solved

In a nutshell, this revist has made my thoughts bit wider, yet more affirm on that we “always” never solve a problem. By solving all the manual tasks with Automated (Software and Machines), we transform that issue into another form or shape.