Gray area principle

It’s so much easier to see the world in black and white. Gray… I don’t know what to do with gray.

— Garrus Vakarian, Mass Effect

Asserts that nothing is ever divided in two distinct parts with nothing in between. The name comes from an idiom where a world is divided into black and white, this principle asserts that everything is actually in varying shades of gray.

Most of the time used in moral choices that seem to be perfectly polarized, as in divided into two distinct extremes. More often than not it’s an illusion and less obvious states also exist. Moreover, the obvious choices might not actually be the ends of the spectrum.

But it extends even beyond human thought.

Say, there is a popular myth that computers operate on data confined in chips and that operations on that data are perfectly predictable. And while predictability of the operations is indeed very high (to the point that most software developers don’t even consider it), it’s not 100%, and there are tools to protect against it when necessasry, both software (various integrity checksums in network protocols and file systems) and hardware (e. g. ECC memory).


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