Technology is not for us to disappear into but to emerge from to become more resonant in the natural world.
Technology is not for us to disappear into but to emerge from to become more resonant in the natural world.
Possibly. I do think every agent of influence is a system has critical thresholds that, if surpassed either upward or downward, shift the behavioral dynamic of that system. There is a difference between drinking and being a drunk. In the first case, the drink is owned by the person, in the second, the drink owns the person. Too much or too little water is another example.
Technology certainly moves the fulcrum by which we can leverage activities and is potentially useful if applied in certain contexts, but as a collective global culture, we are biologically wired to derive our sense of identity, self, and value from fulfilling a need in the context of a community. So entrenched is this inclination that our organelles, cells and organs are aligned on this relational theme. If technology frees us to be more effective at that finding and expressing purpose, then we can consider it a nourishing and adaptive advantage, but many of us have served our purpose by necessity throughout the years - by responding to external motivators, not by way of internal motivations like a sense of purpose, curiosity, and passion applied to the field of opportunities. If technology frees a person of this caliber from the necessity to work toward some useful end without cultivating the need and the attending creativity to to satisfy some useful and valuable end in the context of community, my guess is that freedom could ironically be a dystopian prison. Not everyone is autotelic.
I could be missing something(s)
Work is the operative word in your well crafted response. Indeed if we take effort out of discovery, we may find ourselves in the dystopian future you warn about which is the very reason I argue for leaning on augmenting intelligence (Englebart) over a reliance on artificial intelligence, In what I see in an emergent web is where creators of experiences condition their expressions by the decisions they make with the assistance of AI and the consumer actively filter their impressions through their own choices with the assistance of AI. They hold the painters palette and make the strokes but AI mixes the paint. My argument is what happens when we give people the ability to reach deep inside themselves to find capabilities needed by another regardless of location who are reaching deep inside themselves as well. Just like in Steven Johnson's book Emergence where a colony of ants communicate through pheromones outside the control of the Queen ant, we can learn much from each other outside the influence of the network and organizational domains. But if you removed all of communication technology, would we have these capabilities? Where are our pheromone trails? They don't exist, right? But if in the long view we started to build technology closer in alignment with the natural flow of information to augment the flow of information between us to emerge the best of what is within us. Where we push for progress as opposed to being pulled. What could that world look like? Not striving for perfection but what could a 10% bump in intellectual curiosity over a large population do?
I heard an interesting talk called "A Rational Approach to Oral Tradition and Stonehenge" by Lynne Kelly which pointed out the way oral cultures process things quite differently. My guess is there are some useful pieces of information that can be extrapolated from cultures that are tethered to records like writing.
One thing I wonder about in terms of the effects of moving past oral traditions on the way we experience life is if our connection to ritual is more obscured, and how that might make us a much more sublimated culture, more prone to act out the emotional language without understanding its effect because we have lost a certain sense of the ritualistic part of ourselves - perhaps sacrificed for the considerable advantages that come with being able to record and retrieve information by other means.
Here's the talk in case you're interested.
On another note, thanks for posting thought provoking things.
Such incredible insight Joe. This is spot on. I started watching the video and will dig in deeper as time allows. This helps me in more ways you can imagine. I am writing a book titled The Emergent Web and one of the chapters is on Immersive Technology. So what happens when you look at an insect through a pair of smart glasses and information is rendered onto that insect which engages not only the curiosity of the person watching the insect but a world renowned entomologist through another pair of glasses looking at this shared reality. What happens if sensor data was available to show trend lines of the environmental impact of water overflow in that specific area. What happens the next time either party looks at the same insect without the glasses, wouldn't they have an augmented view of that insect and that location that would have not been possible without the technology. Are the chances not increased of interacting real time with an entomologist through the proper use of technology than without. And would this not quite possibly bring the person closer to their traditions. What would a projected image of Abraham Lincoln in front of the fireplace of a descendant of slaves reading the Gettysburg address do to future historical references of Lincoln. How could technology speak to our traditions, our behaviors, our situations as individuals. I always refer back to the work of John Dewey at the turn of the century and his wish for a much more experiential curriculum. The tools are here. Why are they speaking for us and not to what resides deep inside us? And back at you. You have surfaced quite a few interesting points. I am truly grateful.
As far as I know, it was entirely by doing that we once learned. Dance and ritual then played a prominent role and later increasing sophistication of abstractions were woven into the tapestry, increasing our temporal and spacial vision as well as our ability to transmit information using token symbols just like pheromones are used as social currency in an ant colony.
We drifted from that integrated ritual-knowing approach with the introduction of writing. So "magic" was writing considered that scribes were their own class, and so powerful was knowing that it could now transcend generations.
With the advent of educational institutions born in medieval times in the west, we further emphasized the split between knowing and doing. The universities were primarily for the academics and guardians of the stories that bound us together. Rulers, priests and the like were the customers - it was part of the many eusocial differentiations of tasks that enabled us to increase our ability to effectively and reliably do additional things, including capture and record even more understanding more accurately at an increasingly accelerated rate.
My guess is our fascination with learning in the form of capturing things in a net of verbal abstractions came at the expense of forgetting how to do because of too much emphasis on, and belief in, the presumed magical power of verbal knowing. This, coupled with a downward look at the plebs who learned by apprenticeship was perhaps a mistake. Modern institutions still bear the hangover effects of this unfortunate social stratification. John Dewey was one of many who attempted to heal this divide. He tapped into the value of an immersive verbal, visual, tactile kinesthetic aspect of learning that is more suited to ingrain information in us beyond the abstract. To unlock the capacity to do. Modern education still appears to be largely lost in it's own little words to our detriment.
We are human beings, not human knowings. We become by doing, but I think this was somehow forgotten in modern pedagogy as a result of the flood of information, along with a loss of understanding how to foster our native curiosity. This was also exacerbated by the necessity to prime people for industry, which in essence tailored schools to ingrain an adherence to authority structures, timing to bells and obligations and to asphyxiate curiosity so people could function better as cogs in the industrial machine.
There are some things that are being done to make learning more immersive. The Anatomage Table looks promising as a step, but I agree with you this could be taken much further. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FFd6VWIPrE
I also think Sugata Mitra is on to something with immersion. If you have not heard his TED talk, I highly recommend it.
We are human beings, not human knowings
How true this is. I just love it!!!
And yes I am very familiar with Sugata Mitra's experiment. One of the discoveries that had help keep my writing alive. I have been writing on the fundamentals of the concept of an emergent web for 15 years now and when I came across Sugata's experiment it really drove home what is possible within the human condition. But I would like to make an additional point on the act of doing. I don't want to discount the power of connecting expressions and impressions between people. Look at what has happened on this thread. There are several instances of you articulating ideas I have not considered which now has led me down another path of thinking.
In light of this what could the articulation of one person "do" to inspire another to "do" something to explore their own potential. Where a lower caste member cleaning toilets in New Delhi engages with another thousands of miles away speaking to an inner ability that could be connected with a need. An exchange that could have a butterfly effect on themselves and their family. So is it the act of doing to learn or is it also the inspiration to do that will yield the best results.
What is possible when personal interests are surfaced through a resonant connection of both expressions/impressions and hand on experiences? I believe this is what technology should be offering.
And I will check out the Anatomage Table. Looks very interesting.
And very cool clip on the Anatomage Table. I had not ran across this one yet. I had collected a number of similar types of clips for a virtual world called Hypatia I consulted for in the recent past. I had a chance to write an article on the technology for the company last year. http://timefirevr.com/2017/04/04/inspired-movement/. So much potential in the AR/VR/MR space. I just hope that potential is not lost on continuing to prey on our lowest common denominator.
Matt Ridely calls the emergent property that comes from the exchange of ideas you are talking about "When ideas have sex". I'd love to hear more about the book if you are at a point where sharing is appropriate.
Absolutely! I would be honored for you to read my draft. I sincerely believe you may understand my book better than myself. I've always intended this book to be a balanced mix of technology and humanism but I feel have been missing the latter and your feedback has been helping quite a bit. The article you just shared is so spot-on it surfaced a few more ideas. For starters the ant pheromones are the what ---- what is the why?
The book is basically a white paper I would like to compliment with interviews from industry leaders in the space I'm talking about. Combining the two together should make a nice short book. Once I get it into shape, the purpose of the book will be to get it into the hands of every technologist, academic, scientist, politician, and user who could influence the building of an emergent web. This is a book of questions not answers especially since I'm neither an intellectual, an academic, or a technologist. Just a marketer for a small motorcycle dealership group with a few ideas on the future of the web. (which is kind of the point of the book as I believe there is untapped potential in all of us regardless of social standing, income, race, color, and creed)
I'm doing my best to get the paper portion of the book in shape before the Douglas Englebart Mother of All Demos 50th anniversary I plan on attending in early December. https://thedemoat50.org/. I would like to get the fundamental set of ideas down in order to solicit thoughts on the concept of an emergent web from the likes of Christina Engelbart, Tim Berners-Lee, Alan Kay, Ethereum Founder Vitalik Buterin, and Cake.co founder Chris MacAskill (as I believe this social network speaks to the heart of an emergent web). Seems like a tall order, especially since I have absolutely no contacts in the industry but never say never.
Anyhow thank you for your brilliant insight and taking your time to share these incredible ideas. I'll post a link to the paper on this thread in the next couple of weeks for your perusal. All the best Joe.
Hey Joe, I'm looking for your insight as well as anyone else on this thread about a chapter I am working on for my book ~The Emergent Web. The chapter is titled Augmenting the Flow of Information which is riffing off of Douglas Engelbart's theories on augmenting intelligence (albeit more focused on the potential of the personal over the organizational)
In this chapter, I am arguing for the building of tools to allow the individual to more effectively condition their expressions and filter their impressions over the web through personal domains of experiences removed from the influence of organizational domains. Just as Roman emperors wielded power from the influence of their own organizational domains of knowledge over that of the personal domains of their subjects, contemporary organizational domains of Google, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Microsoft, iTunes, etc. seem to be wielding too much power over the personal domains of today.
In previous chapters, I contrast the idea of the natural flow of information with the artificial flow of where we are today and make the argument that in nature we have dominion over our own expressions and impressions and the artifice of corralling these experiences into pages and documents outside of one’s personal authority moves us away from the potential of natural communication as well as limiting the potential of the human connection.
Curious to hear your thoughts on this as you seem to have a strong grasp on the humanistic side of communication.
Here's a couple thoughts:
Read Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software, by Steven Johnson
Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, by Douglas R. Hofstadter
Here's a lecture series on it by MIT
Thanks for sharing. The Steven Johnson book is what finally gave my writing direction after all these years. I was not aware of the other resources so I will watch. Thank you Joe. I do appreciate it.