Algorithms are taking over.
Good Idea. business card with a smiley face nada mas
Reading David Brooks’ recent article “Flood the Zone” made me think of Kevin Kelly’s “What Technology Wants.” The two big ideas I have taken from that book are that technology has a moral dimension and that technology follows biological patterns and act as an ecosystem:
” the sum of all these technologies form an interacting whole much like a technological ecosystem. “
He calls this ecosystem the “technium.”
“Much to our surprise the technium follows many of the same patterns that Darwin figured out life as a whole followed: a pattern he called evolution. The patterns of our inventions are not random. They are not just one thing after another.
The patterns by which living organisms mutate and diversify in evolution so resembles the way technological varieties transform over time, that we can think of the technium as the “seventh kingdom of life.” Technology is an extension and acceleration of the same forces of evolution that crafted the other six kingdoms of life.”
Brooks talks about “changing the ecosystem”:
“The list of factors that contribute to poverty could go on and on, and the interactions between them are infinite. Therefore, there is no single magic lever to pull to significantly reduce poverty. The only thing to do is change the whole ecosystem.
If poverty is a complex system of negative feedback loops, then you have to create an equally complex and diverse set of positive feedback loops. You have to flood the zone with as many good programs as you can find and fund and hope that somehow they will interact and reinforce each other community by community, neighborhood by neighborhood.”
He highlights the problem of creating services for people when you are not certain how they might respond, and his answer is to just create a lot of programs.
Eric Ries discuses this same problem in the “The Lean Startup” but instead of social programs he is trying to build products and services to sell to people. Perhaps the “lessons” he has learned trying to create companies that sell products and services might be applicable to create successful social programs and the policy that funds it.
There is some connection here. There is some connection between Adam Phillips belief in Hedonism, the desire to stay children, the fear of death, and what Merlin Mann is talking about, the vapid quick hits of unsubstantial crap, and the creer crafts man. I think that the commitment to something necessarially means the not doing of something else, which is a recognition of limitations, which is a recognition of ultimate time limitation with is a recognition of death, and that we will not live up to our potential to live incredible lives, that we do not have the courage to do so.
“I’m talking about the individual US citizen’s deep fear, the same basic fear that you and I have and that everybody has except nobody ever talks about it except existentialists in convoluted French prose. Or Pascal. Our smallness, our insignificance and mortality, yours and mine, the thing that we all spend all our time not thinking about directly, that we are tiny and at the mercy of large forces and that time is always passing and that every day we’ve lost one more day that will never come back and our childhoods are over and our adolescence and the vigor of youth and soon our adulthood, that everything we see around us all the time is decaying and passing, it’s all passing away, and so are we, so am I, and given how fast the first forty-two years have shot by it’s not going to be long before I too pass away,whoever imagined that there was a more truthful way to put it than “die,” “pass away,” the very sound of it makes me feel the way I feel at dusk on a wintry Sunday… That everything is on fire, slow fire, and we’re all less than a million breaths away from an oblivion more total than we can even bring ourselves to imagine, in fact, probably that’s why the manic US obsession with production, produce, produce, impact the world, contribute, shape things, to help distract us from how little and totally insignificant and temporary we are.”
I read about Robert Sapolsky in an old wired Magizine here:
Its stuff like this that makes Wired worth way more than the $20 they change for a 2 year subscription.
I was talking to my sister and she told me about how she watch a video about something similar.
She sent it and it was the same thing:
Then this morning I go to boingboing, and there’s another post about Sapolsky:
All great stuff. Not sure what the take away is, except to try and reduce chronic stress. Meditate more?