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Making sense of Social Radar: V-SAFT as an intelligent machine

January 1st, 2015

Ian S. Lustick

“Social radar” is a metaphor: in other words, a model. A model projects something known about a “source” onto something less well known—a target. We see the moon (the target) differently when we hear the metaphor: “The moon is a ghostly galleon.” In effect, the poet asks the reader to use “ghostly galleon” as a model for the moon. How we visualize the moon when we use that model results from our individual expectations, emotions, and images associated with the idea of a “ghostly galleon.” Under the influence of the metaphor, i.e., when employing “ghostly galleon” as a model for the moon, we see the moon not as an astronomical object but as a spooky vision, floating silently, mysteriously, perhaps ominously, through the clouded darkness. Taking “social radar” seriously as a metaphor, and therefore as a model, can illuminate many aspects of this vision for forecasting.

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