Thursday, November 27, 2014

Mathematics Of Human Return-On-Coordination ... Pattern-Recognition Prerequisites Modeled

   (Commentary posted by Roger Erickson)

Did prehistoric conflict hastened human brain's capacity for collaboration?
Sure. Experienced rugby players would tell you that, and chimpanzees too, if they were interested in talking more. :)

As you might guess, the distributed return-on-coordination tracks both pattern-recognition skills AND group practice.

If specific neural organs like the cerebellum help mediate smooth coordination among all the muscles & countless muscle fibers of the human body ...

... then what specific CULTURAL ORGANS might - with enough aggregate practice - continuously mediate more return-on-coordination across entire markets, economies, cultures and nations?

You name it. The future's the limit.


Roger Erickson said...

part of the ongoing task of adapting to scale,

i.e., linking current-scale mechanisms with larger-scale emergent behavior

"More is Different" - it sure is. How do humans do it?
linking current-scale methods w larger-scale emergent behavior

Tom Hickey said...

then what specific cultural organs might - with aggregate practice - mediate continuously more return-on-coordination among whole markets, economies, cultures and nations?

Sociologists call it "ritual" or "ceremonial." It roughly corresponds to habit in individual behavior. The organs in society through which ritual expresses the ceremonial are culture through cultural artifacts like customs and conventions, and institutions through institutional arrangement. Both are rule-like and some aspects are formalized as systems of rules such as laws.

Randall Collins calls this "the nonrational foundations of rationality" in Sociological Insight, ch 1.

Individual habit and social ritual from the basis for social organization and this is supplemented in humans by rationality, by which sociologists mean something different from economists. Humans have a greater degree of freedom that other animals and they use only only habit and ritual to control it but also rationality that is logical and conceptual, analytic and synthetic,, etc.

The ancient Greeks distinguishes the nonrational infrastrucutre from the rational superstructure as "Dionysian and "Apollonian." The Dionysian is "chthonic" or earthly and the Apollonian is divine. They recognized that humans would rather associate themselves with the divine and suppress their earthly roots and warned that doing so has untoward consequences. Modern psychology has picked up on this, and sociologists and anthropologists are aware of it too. Economists, not so much.

Sociologists distinguish functional rationality from substantive rationality. Substantive rationality is about ends and effectiveness in achieving them. Functional rationality is about efficiency of means. To paraphrase management über-guru Peter F. Drucker, "Efficiency is doing things right, while effectiveness is doing the right things."

These influences are integrated in individuals and their socially interactions with different degrees of success both individually and socially. Clearly, less than highly integrated individuals will not scale very well, although a well-constructed culture can overcome that to some degree. But to meet emergent challenges, both highly integrated individuals interacting in the contest of a highly integrated society is needed. This requires a suitable culture and institutions.

Roger Erickson said...

I was thinking more along the lines of tech support methods

e.g., mobile phones, streaming news and decision-support interfaces .... along the lines of what pilots use in airplane cockpits.

That might be the beginning of a cultural-cerebellum function, regardless of the specific feedback channels it conveyed, or the range of that feedback content.

Engineers & military brass call in "Command & Control" functions, or simply "Communications."

Tom Hickey said...

I think we are already seeing that in the proliferation of advanced technology among humans. Underdeveloped countries are going directly to cell phones and digital payments, for example.

BTW, Peter Russell's Global Brain is about this effect of technology on consciousness.

I would include this at the level of ritual rather than rationality. People who have grown up in the digital age have a different outlook and greater universality of consciousness than others. They "think differently." And part of that is thinking more globally, which means greater species awareness. They are also more ecologically aware also.

Kids now get a toy cell phone when they are about three and start using real gadgets soon afterward. They are "connected" from the stage of imprinting. Sociologically. this is an aspect of ritual as the nonrational foundation of rationality.

Matt Franko said...

"I guess I'll have to tell 'em
That I've got no cerebellum"

Joey Ramone, Teenage Lobotomy

Roger Erickson said...

then antebellum,
still waiting on culturbellum