Thursday, June 28, 2012

Next Steps for OpenSource Social Media, Inter-Connectivity and OpenEconomics

Take all the economic doom & gloom as one example. As another example, take all the kerfluffle about the Artificial-Intelligence "singularity", and fears that we'll be conquered by our own Borg machines.

Not to worry. As anyone experienced in Operations vs pure theory will probably appreciate, what matters above else is adaptive agility, and how to build more of it, cheaper/faster/better.

The way all "selection" occurs is through ontogeny - the rebuilding from scratch of complex systems, rather than the constant, recursive tuning of systems already to densely engineered to context. The desperate race to densely engineer JIT/JAN* solutions to fleeting contexts, dictates that endless hacks must be utilized. So many hacks are eventually used that all system hacks, from genes to fore brains to gold-std Central Bank operations, are first built on top of old hacks, and eventually completely replaced. They are rarely, if ever, redesigned.

* (Just in time / Just as needed)

Ontogeny works via agile recombination. NEVER underestimate that. Ontogeny means semi-random regeneration, where everything is reconnected to everything, and ONLY THEN relaxed to the minimal connections, data exchanges & inter-dependencies needed in order to map system function to a given, fleeting context.

There's a reason why all known complex species generate planned obsolescence into their members. Most lifetimes are tuned to the recent rate of context change that cannot be handled by plasticity of member behavior. Instead of endlessly hacking older systems, it's safer to re-launch updated models after intervals dictated by accumulating experience.

In the case of economics of nation states, it's not about the static assets tracked by economists & accountants. Rather, it's about the group intelligent agility quotient (GIAQ) that a given electorate can muster as contexts keep changing.

Design-build in construction is a practical analogy for those not familiar with biology. Decades ago, architects & builders recognized the divergence of what can be designed, vs what can actually be built, in sequence. Rather than the high cost of re-building with increasing frequency, a logical solution was formed. Design & construction were fused, basically dictating that only the skeleton of a design was constructed, before anyone attempted to finalize the more superficial design details. The same logic is followed in various forms of "Agile Programming", where initial function is tested before trying to nail down all superficial features & interdependencies.

Cultural evolution is no different in principle than physiological evolution. As contexts change, how quickly can a given culture reinvent itself & explore as many of it's available options as possible? What social catalysts can it invent - and how soon - to accelerate the process of re-connecting all old & expanding numbers of citizens? Then, how quickly can the same or different catalysts work in reverse to allow an enlarged population to relax into the minimal connectivity patterns allowing it to tune to a new context? And, how does it perform both steps WHILE ALSO retaining the intrinsic capability to do it all again, as soon as needed?

At the end of the Civil War, Joshua Chamberlain famously said: "We know not of the future and cannot plan for it much. But we can ... determine and know what manner of men we will be, whenever and wherever the hour strikes ... ."

Today, we must ask of ourselves and country a more distributed question. We still cannot plan for a completely unpredictable future. Yet we can, indeed, determine what multi-level, adaptive rates our citizenry & diverse processes can muster - when the micro-second strikes.

We can do that by developing the social instrumentation to connect everyone to everyone, upon demand, JIT/JAN. We can also allow most people to settle into the practiced routines that allow us to optimally adapt to a given context. When that context changes, however, we must have a populace previously and fully aware of the need to rapidly meet demands for radically adaptive change, and expecting to meet that challenge sooner or later. A population comfortable with change, and trusting it's ability to change, will be the superior "Context Nomads."  A population not prepared, will be less likely to successfully migrate across successive, changing contexts.

Can we retain a Context Nomad culture? Of course we can. We're already over-able to accomplish such maneuvers, as our various military, sports, theater, music, charity and business entities amply prove. All we're missing are two subtle requirements to scale group agility nationwide. First, incorporating "adaptive change at any moment" more fully into our teaching, training and practice habits. Second, selecting the social catalysts that allow us to practice responding to whatever changes we advise ourselves to prepare for, including surprises themselves.

We're mostly there. We've always had social mobilization methods, and are well on our way to formalizing them in virtual forms capable of supporting data throughputs previously unheard of !

In the case of the AI "singularity," it's far fetched. Who's going to rewire millions of new cpu models every 9 months or less? Who's going to redesign and rebuild all the "catalyst" machines that will redesign hardware? And what reference survival purpose will that hardware be aligned to?

What's seems inevitable is an inflection point in human GIAQ. Once our populations are better "instrumented," and can rapidly parse all OpenSource info across large populations - to converge to what matters most in any context - then large human aggregates will "know what they all know," upon demand, and be prepared to use it with agility too. After that, it's entirely a matter of practice.

Our cultural challenge is rather like that of the ~70 trillion cells in your body having their cake, and being able to wield a credit card, refrigerator, table, plate, knife & fork too - before someone else eats our lunch - and us - first! Tempo is always part ofan  agility equation. With group practice we can eventually even link, stage & sequence ingredients, utensils & ovens.

What proportion of available data is passed between your 70 trillion cells at any instance in any context? Amazingly little. Only what absolutely needs to be. 70 Trillion is a very large number. In comparison, with only 312 million members in the USA (2012), we have one helluva inflection point to go through ourselves.

There's still an additional subtlety that Economists & IT people don't fully appreciate from biology. It follows a thread that Walter Shewhart stated back in the 1920s - "Data are meaningless without context." We also know that most data are also irrelevant even within a given context. What we always face, therefore - in our adaptive race with tempo-driven milestones & frequent choke-points - is that all historically known instrumentation systems are under two types of unrelenting pressure. First, to converge to reduced bandwidth just minimally necessary for the RANGE of contexts we encounter. Secondly, and simultaneously, to retain the ability to adjust that range - through rapid recombination - to the changing demands of new contexts.

By studying the envelope of data exchanges required over time, we can evolve social media channels tuned to the minimally productive bandwidth which allows adaptive group agility.  We can do that WHILE retaining the capability to change any bandwidth, as needs change.  Developing the tools to change anything even faster is the real adaptive race.

The bandwidth point is consistent with all known sensory systems. All of our known physiological senses are constrained to the particular visual/auditory/tactile/olfactory/taste/vestibular BANDWIDTHS describing the minimal envelope of challenges we've recently faced. We've learned we don't NEED most data, and so don't need to collect, parse, separate or use most of it. That saves a LOT of overhead, and is an intrinsic part of agility, ontogeny & evolution. We can augment our data bandwidth at will, but will waste time doing so UNLESS and UNTIL it's actually required. 

As an aside, investors may think of the differing rates-of-change of multiple social-media data bandwidths as analogous to 2, 20, 50 and 100 day moving averages. In social media, however, the bandwidth of each data channel can drift with time, based on full-group feedback about group outcomes.

Rigorous bandwidth tuning will apply to all our emerging, OpenSource social media channels. There's an urgent need to "cut down the useless chatter" when short-term group agility is needed. The signal/noise ratios required for specific group maneuvers is a dynamic property defined entirely by context-specific group practice - called OutcomesBased practice. More to the point, to tune social communications upon demand, we'll need to describe, define and invent social sub-catalysts specific for the task of tuning social-media catalysts upon demand.  OpenSource social media already demands nested levels of catalyst & sub-catalysts.

We're just starting the process of applying OutcomesBased training to social media. Once practiced, the outcome will be astounding, compared to our previous abilities.

Only then will we be able to replicate agile social ontogeny, and drive the Adaptive Rate of the USA at a tempo ensuring not just survival, but also insanely great accomplishments we can't possibly predict or even imagine.


xan said...

Well that's going to take some time to digest. But I am getting the gist of it and finding it insightful.

Tom Hickey said...

jit/jan def=" just in time, just as needed"

Tom Hickey said...

Roger, I suspect that we get to the singularity long, long before humanity gets to the required GIAQ.

Technology is much more tractable than human resources. Group coordination improves that but how much?

The level of global collective conscious at present is pretty abysmal, hundreds of years behind the edge of the envelope. and even the most intelligent and well-educated in the real sense people can gather even a fraction of the relevant info, let alone process it.

So we are starting now way behind the curve. This is part of the argument for the importance of reaching the inflection point of singularity. The inflection point of GIADQ doesn't seem to be within anything like close reach.