September 28, 2009
The Sea of Intuitive Reading by Adrian Perez
Alexander read at one thousand words a minute. It was impossible, so the program paused him every five minutes so he could remember to keep breathing. There the words were, floating in front of him in associative bubbles. All of it was non-linear.
This reading breakthrough had occurred during research on Dyslexia, that showed Dyslexics weren’t reading wrong, we were simply writing wrong.
The story the world shows us is composed of other monkeys coming out of bushes and trees to kill us. It’s green snakes curled up in green leaves and brown branches. So reading linearly is the worst possible way to process information. And importance is by definition, all that matters.
Try assigning neutrality to a word. Try it. I’m serious. I’ll pause. Don’t keep reading until you’ve found a neutral noun.
Unless you’re a freak, you can’t do it. We assign value everywhere. Word: Book. Sounds slightly good to me. Word: Freak. Pretty bad, but kind of good too. Neutral words? Indifference guarantees you will not remember them.
Alexander read at one thousand words a minute. Whole vastness swept through his mind with layered comprehension.
As the Internet grew, the human mind began to fall behind. Artificial Intelligence began to spring past us. And it took only a few years of Intelligence-Par Artificial Individuals to leap into cliche-battle with humans. So this is why it was so exciting for Alexander. He was reading to save the Human world.
He spun through time-lagged association, making realizations as he interlinked through the Thought Sea. He raced against an AI he could see in the distance. Forward to a quantum mechanical solution for one of the high-bid problems. He might get the solution first.
Capitalism was a war of relevance. And Alexander’s company was fighting to be relevant tooth and nail. The best thing that could have happened to humanity was to get a competitor that was temporarily better than it. Alexander was glad there had been two years of real non-relevance for humans. He was surprised and optimistic about how short a time it took humans to enter back into the world of meaningfulness.
In a sundry market Alexander floated in a sea of problems and solutions. The input matching the speed of the output. The only rhythm, the complexity of the universe.
September 25, 2009
Buckminster Fuller, Abraham Maslow, Russel Ackoff, and Douglas Engelbart all envision(ed) the future in the same vein. And I believe they make a circle of thinkers who are the most idealistic and holistic when it comes to their forecasts and methodologies.
In the chart below I have shown these thinkers in a larger landscape of thought. All of these individuals operate along the ideal, the alternative, and the systematic. What other thinkers occupy the same vein for the other branches of knowledge?
Fuller constructed a world of Design Science where invention was consistently refined to create ephemeralization, where devices become more and more efficient. So a house needs less and less mass and resources than it used to. A car less and less fuel. He believed there were no crises of resources, only of intellect and will to engineer solutions.
Maslow constructed a world of individuals and organizations climbing a ladder of different needs, ultimately culminating at self-actualization, where a person is constantly approaching the limit where all of his or her skill and knack is resulting in a state of flow characterized by peak experience.
Ackoff constructs a world of synergistic institutions, where organizations operate for the betterment of their constituents and crisis are dissolved (not resolved) through lateral shifts in management thinking. All of this is characterized by a focus on effectiveness at solving the right problems, and not just doing the wrong things right.
Engelbart constructs a world where our tools can be used to improve those very tools, creating a loop of endless human augmentation. This manifested in work on human-computer interaction computer-computer interaction that demonstrated things like the mouse, internet, and hyperlinking, in a united system. These very improvements serving to create even more improvements.
These are all people who have seen the world in what seems to be a third alternative. When others are casting situations as dichotomies, the solutions these thinkers propose seem to blow past the arguments at hand.
September 24, 2009
The Robe of Entrepreneurship by Adrian Perez
Clarke’s Robe was a t-shirt with one long sleeve that covered his left arm, the other sleeve being like a normal t-shirt. This asymmetrical black shirt represented the entrepreneurial class. It was his brother Raymond’s idea.
Raymond felt the middle class was in decline in their country. And it seemed like no amount of stimulus packages or tax restructuring was alleviating the issue. Clarke’s brother decided what was needed was eccentric symbolic warfare on the problem. He felt entrepreneurs were the source of a burgeoning middle class, so last month, Raymond convinced Clarke to wear a shirt that he had hastily put together.
Clarke had been a software engineer at a startup that made Facebook applications. That is until there was a major money implosion that got him laid off. Ever since then, Clarke was very depressed. He had invested so much of himself in the technology, and it was obvious the company was not going to be able to sell off the remaining tech.
To pull Clarke out of his post-job depression, Raymond sewed together the black shirt and explained to Clarke what had been kicking around in his head.
The shirt gave Clark immediate feedback. He walked into a Starbucks and it was only seconds before the shirt caused comment. The lady in front of him, casually glanced behind her and in a flurry of fashion fascism demanded an explanation for Clarke’s social deviance.
Clarke explained it meant he was an entrepreneur. And in a bout of social fear, he made up a fictional company to talk about it. The woman was greatly assuaged, and half an hour into their conversation he realized she was hitting on him.
Over the course of the next month, wherever Clarke went, the story started to spread. He realized that he better make his fictional company a reality. Much to his surprise, the symbol of his shirt aided him in this. Only a week later, while at another Starbucks, a bearded and portly fellow introduced himself to Clarke. Clarke wasn’t processing that the man was asking for a job. He was too stunned at seeing the man had on a black shirt with one long and one short sleeve.
A lot of people liked this story, so I decided to actually make the shirt described in the story (thanks to Margaret Glass for showing me how to sew).
Enough people have asked, so I am now making shirts for $22 (I am only shipping within the US)
Here are some pics:
September 19, 2009
These Monkeys and Their… by Adrian Perez
It was getting to be Autumn. Vela’s organization had just overthrown the government in a movement that started a month ago. Growing disenfranchisement guaranteed it would happen fast. That no one was killed was amazing. It was something like the Orange Revolution, but with even more email, Twitter, and cellphones.
For a while, the internet had been developing along what seemed like trite lines. There were computer applications to shake breasts, and make farts, and less trivial ones like for showing your friends pictures or having conversations. All the while, the internet was having it’s main effect, the organization of data by all participants in a way that was networked together for all participants to enjoy.
Didn’t want to share your data? By hook or by crook it was going to get shared. Slowly, as the antiquarian facade of the last generation’s culture was understood and refurbished, people started to realize it was not about the data you controlled, but what you did with that data. At the beginning this meant counting farts and boob shakes.
Triviality was necessary to train yourself to experiment. Two months ago, Vela was reading Maslow on Management and programming one of those very boob-shaking applications. In the book, Maslow, a psychologist, was describing how the Black Foot Native Americans used functional leadership to elect the best member for the task. This meant that there were no general leaders, but if a need arose, a leader was elected who was best suited to the task.
Vela could tell her company was failing. Her boss had become reclusive and stopped sharing with the rest of the programmers. It was a death-sign that the company was running out of money. Since no one was using her stupid applications, she decided it was time to get back to doing something meaningful. So she started working on the ideas in Maslow’s infuriating/liberating book.
What bothered her about Maslow’s ideas is that they didn’t seem to scale. She agreed with the long-dead scholar that the power-seekers often seemed to be the least skilled at dispensing power wisely. How could you find the best person for a job? Vela went to her search engine and typed in, “The best person to be my boss.” She got a bunch of unsurprising garbage and advice on dealing with bosses.
Then Vela organized the first coupe of her life. She sent an email to each of her fellow employees in the tiny company, and asked them, “Baring the current boss from heading engineering, and assuming you can not elect yourself, who would you ask to be boss?” They actually responded without sarcasm! It was a programmer miracle. They must have all been feeling the morale sinking.
She sent the list of potential bosses to the CEO. Remarkably he did his job and in a week they had a new boss. Vela was shocked, she thought it would not go anywhere. And as a programmer she asked herself a question universal to her profession, “What if I can automate that? How can I make it scale.”
For instance, “Who do you have be the ambassador to India?” You could elect someone who is running for this position, but what if the best person is an academic or businessperson, who does not even think of offering his services for the position. What if the best man is a janitor for an apartment building? Or the best woman, a factory worker? You couldn’t just ask in a general way or everyone would elect a socially near person. And you would have a gargantuan pool of people to consider.
Vela’s company started to rejuvenate, and as they hired more people, she had more free time to work on this problem. She was going over her ideas over and over, running in circles. And then she realized she needed to add some meta. Why not put herself in the system to build the system? She asked herself, “Who do I need to talk to expand this idea?”
The answer came pretty quickly, as the intern walked into the lunch room to get even more tea. She knew what making tea seven times a day meant, he’s bored. He had elected himself by walking in. She started to talk the idea over with him. Before she accidentally got him looping along with her, he asked her why she wanted to do this.
Vela told him, “To make a scalable and benevolent democracy system to govern any set of actions.”
The intern said, “No you’re not. It’s so that you can right the sense of injustice you feel. So that you may have peace.”
And with that enlightening foundation, the application was a breeze to make.
September 17, 2009
Apoplexy, by Adrian Perez
It is on the hands of giants the blood of followers falls deeply to the earth. Alex wrestled with that phrase his father told him when he was first going to the academy. It did not make any sense to him then, but for different reasons. One of them being the communal repartee that he had entered into with the Powerists.
He didn’t know what to expect when he first got to the campus. He flitted through the teleporter and arrived in a garden city that he had never before seen. In his dome in Northern Ohio, there was just the orange tint of sunlight. This place looked positively illuminated. And in a way, that his mind had not been able to imagine, if only for the poor sustenance it had received earlier.
The Powerists invited Alex to their dome out of the blue. He assumed that they were watching people’s behavior on the net. Scanning transaction and statements in the social tedium, looking for meaning. So something Alex did must have been relevant.
They were all wired to the brim with Sensory, so for all he knew he may have farted in just the right way to attract their interests.
What he knew of the Powerists is they are a cult, and that they believe that they can summon forth powers and control machines with simple training and minimal connectivity. The founder of the Powerists, Ian Smith, started tinkering in his garage before the Atmospheric Ripple, and he and other willing colleagues had entered into the first Advice Circle. This rudimentary Advice Circle was just a bunch of cellphones which were wired constantly together. They also had a function that would detect specific words in speech. So using these phones and a bracelet that would stimulate your arm in accordance with the person who was addressing you, you could enter into what would be called Rhapsodic Communication.
Ian initially imagined the device as a way to on-load strengths and off-load weaknesses. The pool of experimenters each took tests to see what each was good at. So that they would align in a complimentary fashion. They balanced around a list of virtues. Creativity, love of learning, wisdom, prudence, love, gratitude, teamwork, spirituality, forgiveness, modesty, self-control, curiosity, open-mindedness, appreciation of beauty, integrity, kindness, social intelligence, enthusiasm, bravery, hopefulness, persistence, and leadership.
The experiment was a success, but it had unintended consequences. Personal problems were solved tremendously quickly. If your anxiety increased for whatever reason, it would open your mic’ and people could hear and see your situation. Participants would talk about what was happening and the problems got solved with intense rapidity. Then, one month into the experiment, the participants started to speak with uncontrollable mumbling. And the objective, unconnected researchers who had been assigned to monitor them, went to pull the plug on the system.
This sent almost all of them into shock and the majority of them would have died, except if it wasn’t for the rapid action of Alex’s father who realized that they were going into shock because the system was off, and plugged them back together immediately.
Weeks later the Atmospheric Ripple happened and Alex’s father was forced to leave the project to find safe haven for his family. Events asked of people that their lives change, and Alex’s father never returned to the group. So now twenty years later, Alex was the one returning by invitation of the first Advice Circle.
September 16, 2009
I have been working on an application with a friend of mine to calculate the savings you would get if you could bargain down to the price Medi-Cal pays for services. This calculator tool will help you bargain down to more reasonable prices, which as anyone who has gone to the ER will know can be exorbitant (especially if you don’t have medical insurance).
I have been helping mainly with the layout and design of the app, where we have focused on creating a similar look to those of common hospital bills. In the process of doing this I created an icon that is meant to mock the common medical symbol, the Rod of Asclepius. My symbol is composed of two rods with a snake wrapped around them, creating a money symbol.
Anyone can use this symbol as long they credit me or throw a link my way.
September 15, 2009
The Expatriation, by Adrian Perez
Allen walked through the river bank. Hopping from rock to rock, he couldn’t see the ships flying overhead through the canopy, but he could definitely hear them. He started to run to the campsite. He would have to pack the fossils later.
In a little while, he stood a collective of Togs.
“What is the meaning of running off to this planet? You had responsibilities,” They implied with some level of force. The Tog were a collective group that long ago evolved from experiments with constant social awareness.
“The Federation really has no dominion over me,” Allen said, “I can come here if I want to.”
The Tog sullened, “But you made commitments. Experiments can’t go on without you.”
Allen always won progress through minimal effort. The Tog experiment had been failing recently and it was devolving into politics. He didn’t see how to change the situation, so he decided non-reciprocation was the best way to sober people.
One of the Togs, the one responsible for sexual relations drifted toward him. It was surprising this Tog collective was here in-person in the first place. They could have easily sent one member of the collective and stayed connected through distance tuning. What was more surprising is that he was now addressing the one he could identify as holding the sex role. It wasn’t like Allen could really respond, these jelly fish like creatures reproduced in a cloud of spores.
However, empathy oozed from this very non-bipedal representative. Allen’s mirror neurons forced feelings of kinship into Allen without him even realizing it. This Tog was good at its Position.
“Perhaps,” the Tog said, “You are in need of a vacation from the other world. One can be stifled by the impressions generated there. If I could perhaps attend with you on a Journey.”
Empathy or no empathy, Allen didn’t want to go on a “Journey” with anyone, he was tired of reaching compromise and unity. The research group was bogged to its neck in understanding exercises and peace seminars. It was an inescapable side activity with aliens.
He didn’t want to go, and that meant it was walking time. He left the tent the Tog was in and went back to the river and his fossils. A Tog who had not spoken went with him. This one looked larger than the others. Allen knew it wasn’t a queen or king. The Tog had none, they were a distributed network of individuals, created by a digital network that had become more pervasive than the one on Earth.
The Tog didn’t say a word. Until they got to the river. The Tog grumbled something as they approached the river bank.
“What was that?” Allen asked. He could have sworn the Tog said something in Earth, a language that the Allen didn’t think the Tog could speak.
The Tog repeated, “Idt.”
“Did you just call me an idiot?” Allen stood aghast.
Then the Tog shoved him with one of its tentacles.The shove was soft and barely pushed Allen back, but he knew what it meant.
Allen shoved back, and like two children in the weirdest play ground, they turned into a wrestling ball of jelly filled Helium sacks, flailing limbs, and gasping lungs. After fifteen minutes Allen got tired of kicking the Tog in what he hoped were reproductive organs, and the Tog got tired of trying to drown Allen in a cloud of spores.
Allen, lying on his back in the cool and shallow river bed, could see the rest of the Tog hiding behind the trees from a safe distance. He waved them over. From then on, Allen would head the new violence-based peace seminars at the research center.