Re: [unrev-II] Session 1 - Better Humans, Better Information Systems

From: Mark Szpakowski (
Date: Wed Jan 19 2000 - 09:41:14 PST

From: Mark Szpakowski <>

At 09:50 AM 01/18/2000 -0600, Bill & Sharon Bearden wrote:
>Jeff wrote:
> > Which brings me back to your mention of eastern techniques.
>I do not know how these techniques can specifically aid the cause of
>solving complex, urgent problems. I mentioned it primarily to
>make sure that we don't just focus on one method of improving the human
>system. But I also mentioned it in anticipation of the
>upcoming discussion of human augmentation through nano-tech (e.g.
>nano-biology). Engelbart mentioned in the first section that the
>complex solutions to complex problems also become complex problems themselves.

I think there is a necessary place for the role of the minds of the human
actors in any systems oriented approach to global ecology: these minds are
the key and most significant factors in initiating actions which affect
that entire ecology. Augmenting human capabilities without in some way
considering dealing directly with our minds, and how we make our (what we
usually think are good) intentions, risks augmenting human effectiveness
without considering how that effectiveness is directed.

If everything we experience is processed through the psycho-somatic soup of
our minds, where thoughts and emotions are often indistinguishable,
shouldn't that be the first topic to be addressed?

Engelbart raised the question of "how to dialog" in the 2nd meeting, and
noted that he had no particular skills there. This is a related question:
how does a NIC arrive at its intentions, and then the means to realize them?

I think there is something necessary here that can be found in existing
traditions and practices. Having said that, it may not be possible to do
more than acknowledge this, and to go on to the technical and human
interface details. It may be good enough to just say that we have some
consensus that our intentions are probably okay. But I think the deep roots
of dealing with the complex problems of our own creation will not have been


Mark Szpakowski

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