[unrev-II] Themes: OHS / DKR vs. Design Science

From: Rod Welch (rowelch@attglobal.net)
Date: Thu Nov 23 2000 - 09:14:53 PST

  • Next message: Eugene Eric Kim: "Re: [unrev-II] Towards a summary of documents"


    The underlying problem is that alphabet technology is running out gas on the
    Information Highway. Doug recognizes the challenge is augmenting competence,
    per the citation in his award for the National Medal of Technology...


    ..., also, set out in POIMS....


    Human mental acuity is limited by a fixed biology, and so as information flows
    faster the mind is overwhelmed by complexity, absent proactive tools and
    organization, i.e., management science, to convert information into knowledge
    faster and more accurately. If we cannot transition from IT to a culture of
    knowledge quickly, enough, the threat of bumbling leading to calamity escalates,
    as set out in NWO....


    I know people don't like all these links, but I have not figured out a better
    way to sound the alert, nor to explain the underlying forces that impact daily
    life. Doug wants to put into motion tools and systems for continual
    improvement. In my view, the core of this task is to enhance the underlying
    knowledge tool, which is alphabet technology. Build a better foundation, and it
    provides the means for continual improvement Doug advocates.

    While it sounds flaky, if you really want to work on world problems, start by
    addressing the architecture of human thought; that leads to connectionist
    theory. The alphabet is an analog of the human mind making connections.
    Improve that by integrating time and information, and you have a better
    foundation. This requires fostering a culture of knowledge that supports
    front-end investment in knowledge creation, as explained in NWO, similar to
    farming, finance and education, as explained in the letter to the team on 001102
    (which I haven't formally released, because it is a little long)....


    This front-end investment in knowledge is resisted nearly to the death, as Grove
    points out in his book "Only the Paranoid Survive," because of the difference in
    the character of "information" and "knowledge," as explained in the record on
    990527 discussing Clay Christensen's book, "The Innovator's Dilemma"...


    The challenge then is cultural, not technology; and the only answer on the
    horizon is education, and continuing to encourage people to stop doing IT, and
    start doing KM, as discussed previously. This is more down to earth than
    asteroid mining, but seems to be much harder to accomplish.



    Paul Fernhout wrote:
    > I've been nudging these space things a bit lately (eg. article link on
    > Asteroid Mining) because we to an extent have lost a bit of the second
    > part of the UnRevII focus. The issue is what are the global problems of
    > humanity and how should we go about resolving them? (Of course, using
    > Augmenting systems to help us.)
    > My perspective on this is that there are issues and challenges facing
    > us, but they are not what may be expected. Many are related primarily to
    > the implications of Moore's law applied over the next four decades (i.e.
    > computers a million to a trillion times faster than today's desktop for
    > the same price). Moore's law is itself a product of a bootstrapping sort
    > of process. Others are related to similar exponential growth curves in
    > biotechnology, nanotechnology, communications technology, manufacturing
    > technology, power technology, materials technology, robotics, and
    > collaborative technology (IT and/or social).
    > Compared to those challenges, running out of oil in a century or two is
    > a non-problem. In that sense, asking where our economy will get its
    > power in a hundred years is a bit like demanding a five year answer in
    > detail how they will earn a living after college. Obviously we don't
    > want to wave all our problems into a future "deus ex machina", but the
    > question is -- is exponential (bootstrap) growth happening, and if so,
    > what does it mean the real problems will be (and for who and where and
    > when)?
    > Or putting it another way, our technology may be in a runaway bootstrap
    > process whether we like it or not. This runaway bootstrap process may be
    > occurring whether or not our social knowledge or wisdom is bootstrapping
    > at the same rate. Doug has pointed out that every day may count -- he
    > says it is one thing that keeps him moving. So too we should think about
    > how every day may count as we try to bootstrap our collective wisdom
    > using still evolving Knowledge Management techniques to try to keep up
    > with the bootstrapping (or exploding) technosphere.
    > Sadly, part of the problem manifests itself in lack of priority
    > resources to try to solve the KM problem (especially in an open source
    > way), as organizations position themselves for private gain in business
    > as usual. This is similar to Doug's parable of the ant nest that
    > overhangs the river and continues to expand thinking everything is fine
    > until the branch snaps and it falls in the rushing water to be swept
    > away. Why invest in bettering the lot of humanity when there is one more
    > easy sale to make of a proprietary software, or one more stealth bomber
    > to build at a profit and some campaign donations, or (more ethically
    > challenging) one more hour that could be spent with your family?
    > [Related reading: "Protector" sci-fi novel by Larry Niven]
    > http://www.alumni.caltech.edu/~mcelroy/review/books/lnprot.html
    > My personal approach to this other UnrevII theme is to focus on a subset
    > of the problem I think a few people could solve. For me that is the
    > design of self-reliant communities in space, because that both is an
    > interesting long-term problem and it may have positive spinoffs for
    > bootstrapping developing communities on Earth (one of which is
    > developing tools like OHS / DKR). I find it a question that focuses the
    > mind, leading one to think about technologies and economics in a way
    > different from business as usual.
    > This is similar in some ways to the Buckminster Fuller mode of thinking
    > http://www.bfi.org/ of supporting human life in the universe with
    > minimal technology (the "Design Science" revolution). For that to
    > succeed, one needs to focus on the basics of survival, manufacturing,
    > and life support with an organization and cross-disciplinary focus
    > (including building real things) that is historically lacking in most
    > (not all) granted academic endeavors (despite what is promised, given
    > the realities of acadmic departments and related power strucutres). And,
    > fullfilling the design science hope will take something like Doug's
    > Augment / OHS. So, in general terms, my interest is perhaps more towards
    > Doug for OHS / DKR infrastucture (includign social aspects), and towards
    > Bucky for OHS / DKR content (mainly product design and manufacturing
    > process aspects).
    > This is my particular direction. I can see quite well the need for OHS /
    > DKR techniques to study and improve social systems as well (like Dee
    > Hock's Chaordic http://www.chaordic.org/ approach). Of course,
    > obviously there are current issues as well (millions of starving people
    > due to not distributing existing food supplies for political reasons,
    > http://www.thehungersite.com/
    > the continuance of ignorance and extreme poverty for similar reasons,
    > the proliferation of weapons of mass-destruction, the continued
    > destruction of biodiversity, misguided social policies, etc.). These all
    > deserve to be addressed by an OHS/ DKR. Once can hope that more for
    > everyone will mean more for the disadvantaged and less strife in
    > general. Whether that would be true is itself another question to
    > examine using a OHS / DKR.
    > -Paul Fernhout
    > Kurtz-Fernhout Software
    > =========================================================
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