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    • As I wrap up an essay I have been working on for my Emergent Web blog on the role of the decentralized connection in the free market, I was reminded of a song I recorded reflecting on Thomas Paine’s book Common Sense. For some reason still unknown, I decided to set passages from the audio book to a Bossa Nova drum track while I added guitar and bass. I guess what else is a nerd to do!!  But as I listen to the passages from Common Sense again I see so much that has been lost since the founding of our democratic republic. The same can be said about Adam Smith who I am currently researching for my essay. The ideals of the Enlightenment were powerful and should not be forgotten as we try to find true North through the noise technology has rendered.

      As one can tell I am not a professional musician but I do enjoy the medium of music immensely in the ability to tell a story whether verbalized or not.  More ideas than craftsmanship for me. 

    • I think of those wise founding fathers whose writing was incredible often. But I sometimes wonder, had they been able to see what the U.S. has become with social media, money, assault weapons, etc., would they have written what they did the way they did?

      Paul, I think you'd love this New Yorker piece about Hacker News and how they try to shape it both with tech and a human touch. I found every word to be fascinating. I think it's relevant to the emergent web because it reveals so much about how people actually interact.

    • First of all, in the service of the thought experiment of gaining insight from enlightenment thinkers, it might be best to break these thinkers into two categories of time travelers or ones born in our times. The latter bearing the burden of nature and nurture distorting their lens on contemporary thought. But if we choose the time traveler, I believe they would provide a much needed perspective on building off of the equation of humanity into our technology. Which speaks well to the article you shared from the New Yorker illuminating the difficulty found in optimizing the human condition. (Your shares are always so spot on!)

      Doesn't the following quote from the article just nail the difficulty in this proposition?

      "In April, when a story about Katie Bouman, an M.I.T. researcher who helped develop a technology that captured the first photo of a black hole, rose to the front page, users combed through her code on GitHub in an effort to undermine the weight of her contributions."

      Tech didn't create this sentiment. It only projected and amplified it into a stew of users looking for a reason to take their frustrations out in a connection engineered more for provider controls rather than user understanding. I have no easy answers on this but feel the following quote from the article hits at the center of the conundrum technologists face.

      “There’s often a strong wish to solve these contentious problems by changing the software, and, to the extent that we’ve tried things like that, we haven’t found it to work. What does seem to work better is personal interaction, over and over and over again, with individual users. That, case by case by case, seems to move the needle. But it’s very slow.”

    • Yeah, that quote about Katie... Once upon a time I volunteered for an organization that tried to help people with their marriages. One psychiatrist there would refuse to take couples that didn't consider themselves to be equals in popularity, looks, intellect, etc. Why? Because invariably, if one came to view themselves as less than the other and couldn't lift themselves to their level, they would turn to trying to bring the other spouse down to theirs. That would poison the relationship.

      I see that with my message forum, ADVrider. If we get someone like Charlie Boorman on there, inevitably there emerges people from the shadows to flame him off the board even though he's as nice as can be, like Katie.

      I don't know how software fixes that.

    • We will never attain perfection nor should we but why can I not shake the notion that technology could serve us better. I often reflect back on your own personal stories of your upbringing and how you came out the other side intact. You did this, not technology. But I am going to guess a community of people you engaged with over the years were able to help you reach inside and navigate through the rough waters to see yourself through to calmer waters. Could have been a friend, a housekeeper, a clerk, a family member, Steve Jobs??, etc. Of course I can't speak for you but maybe you see where I am going. It is the experiences that drive us. If we could be more selective over these experiences by tuning those experiences that resonate the most with our internal drive to move forward, what could we achieve?

      Your example of the psychiatrist is a perfect example. I personally believe mental health is the number one issue we face as a society today. Yet the ability to connect the afflicted with real time resources is incredibly archaic. What would make us think that the person to understand our demons the most is nearby or residing inside an institutionally conditioned vessel of knowledge? I have used an example of an augmented mirror to change the reflection to demonstrate the ravages of drug use before. What could be built to elevate understanding of self and others to inspire engagement then let us do the rest. But I don't believe the top down, centralized model of tech to date is a ripe environment to explore this potential. We need to be in control first.

      That is my take at least. Always love your insight Chrs!