The story of the Living Earth Simulator reminds me of some recent Guardian verbiage about meta-mapping from Google and Apple. The reason for Borges Google Doodle adorning the page comes from his oft-cited relation to anything and everything cartographical. It was Baudrillard who used Borges' meta-mapping story On Exactitude in Science as a reference for simulacra and McLuhan who brought it up later as a way to outline the way that technology can reflect and even become the landscape it adorns.
In time, those Unconscionable Maps no longer satisfied, and the Cartographers Guilds struck a Map of the Empire whose size was that of the Empire, and which coincided point for point with it. The following Generations, who were not so fond of the Study of Cartography as their Forebears had been, saw that that vast Map was Useless, and not without some Pitilessness was it, that they delivered it up to the Inclemencies of Sun and Winters. In the Deserts of the West, still today, there are Tattered Ruins of that Map, inhabited by Animals and Beggars; in all the Land there is no other Relic of the Disciplines of Geography. On Exactitude in Science, Jorge Luis Borges
It's easy and somewhat justifiable to be skeptical about modelling economics. Very few of these endeavours have ever worked in the past and the point of crises as they happen is that the Black Swans - from outside of the models - are the causes of disaster, not things easily predicted and thus mitigated against. By creating a more accurate model, do we simply suffer a greater deception of safety, or worse - as outlined in the article, does the model itself become of such value that it is more valuable as an artifact within the system than as a tool for observing it from outside?
Perhaps some sort of bleak merger of an ever-increasingly accurate Google Earth and the Living Earth Simulator might lead to the map of which Borges talked. But the form of this mega meta-map relies on what the creators want us to see and observe in a one-to-one augmented world.
Then we have to wonder how designers might conform of subvert this super-scale impression of the world. When we make things that go in the world how might they be easily mappable if it becomes such a vital tool? And if we begin to ensure against disaster by a vastly intelligent economic model that might be able to predict the financial ramifications of any introduced design would a new institution stand to test all designs against 'the model' to ensure success?
Might the 'real' world in fact become secondary to the map and the model and defined by it?