Of effects & things – Cognitive Edge [...]

Now any one of these challenges the idea that you can do something a couple of times, get a favourable response and then assume you can carry on doing the same thing.
Once people work things out, or get bored (numbers one and three) the cool thing that worked for you may start to turn sour.
Things don’t work consistently in a complex system at the sort of coarsely grained level that most methods work. That means we need to make sure that any practice can be explained in terms of natural science before we can have any confidence that we can repeat what worked last time. Or we go into the change knowing that it will only work for a period and we will have to change things again.

The Cobra Effect
In British India a reward was offered for dead cobras in an attempt to reduce the danger to humans. It worked well for a period but then people started to breed cobras to kill then to collect the reward. Thanks to Michael Allen Smith for the picture by the way.
The Butterfly Effect
One of the best known cliches, but still a good one. The point of the story is that small changes in the environment combine with other small changes which result in a hurricane. The point being that very small things can result in major outcomes, but its not predictable and the same small changes might not achieve the change in a different context.
The Hawthorn Effect
Which argues that humans respond to well to novelty, but you should not confuse the novel thing with novelty in respect of cause and effect. (Source)

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Mistaking volume for veracity? – Cognitive Edge [...]

>“ (…) social media, while powerful, increasingly represents the tyranny of the herd rather than the wisdom of the crowd
(…) We are rapidly mistaking volume for veracity.
(…) the number of cases of manipulation is increasing as those with power learn how to use the system.
(…) Like any human tool social media can be used for good or ill, and over enthusiastic support for the latest tool can lead to blindness.
(…)So lets use it as a tool, realise the limits, seize the opportunities, understand the nature of legitimate constraints. ”

But I had also marked another passage from Laudato Si’ so I quoted that in full:

… when media and the digital world become omnipresent their influence can sort people from learning how to live wisely, to think deeply and to love generously. In this context, the great sages of the past run the risk of going unheard amid the noise and distractions of an information overload. Efforts need to me made to help these media become sources or new cultural progress for humanity and not a threat to our deepest riches. True wisdom, as the fruit of self-examination dialogue and generous encounter between persons, is not acquired by a mere accumulation of data which eventually leads to overload and confusion, a sort of mental pollution. Real relationships with others, with all the challenges they entail, now tend to be replaced by a type of internet communication which enables us to choose or eliminate relationships at whim, thus giving rise to a new type of contrived emotion which has more to do with devices and displays than with other people and with nature.

DaveSnowden #LaudatoSi

Mistaking volume for veracity?

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The Digital Education and Cosmopolitanism – Bernard Stiegler [...]

> The so-called ‘‘consumer’’ industrial society of the twentieth century was founded on consumer capitalism, which establishe relations between economic agents specfied as functionally distinct producers and consumers. These relations characterized what we call mass society, with its mass-culture industries,mass markets, and so on. Here at Ars Industrialis, we believe that these consumerist relations engender a society marked by a generalized proletarianization. We give the word ‘‘proletarianization’’ an expanded meaning. For us, proletarianization signifies the reduction of knowledge through the computational expansion of factory models. This begins with the workers, who lose their embodied knowledge [ savoir-faire ], and continues with the consumers, who lose their life wisdom [savoir-vivre], and so on until today, when even designers are losing their ability to conceptualize and theorize [savoir- conceptualiser et theoriser], and decision makers, their power to decide
(Source)

pharmakon #ArsIndustrialis #Simondon

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How Technology Hijacks People’s Minds — from a Magician and Google’s Design Ethicist — Medium [...]

> The ultimate freedom is a free mind, and we need technology that’s on our team to help us live, feel, think and act freely.

We need our smartphones, notifications screens and web browsers to be exoskeletons for our minds and interpersonal relationships that put our values, not our impulses, first. People’s time is valuable. And we should protect it with the same rigor as privacy and other digital rights. (Source)

attention #mindfulness #focus

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A Current List of Use Cases for Ethereum — Medium [...]

> A Current List of Use Cases for EthereumPeople often ask me, “What is Ethereum used for? What does it do?” Even for those who understand blockchains, Ethereum, and smart contracts, pointing to specific use cases can sometimes be surprisingly difficult. So let’s explore. The purpose of this guide is to act as a reference point for new members of the community who can sometimes become overwhelmed by the current disorganized nature of news flow.The themes in the following apps are trust minimization/elimination, diversity, and disruption. As you read, keep in mind how transaction fees for reputation/trust are removed by simply cutting out the middleman entirely, and how established business models across a wide variety of industries are threatened. Keep in mind, however, many of these apps are incredibly early stage, and it’s hard to know which ones will take off and which ones will fail. (Source)

blockchain #bitcoin #smartcontracts

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Steven Pinker on the Curse of Knowledge and Writing Better [...]

> Pinker first calls attention to the Curse of Knowledge — the inability to put ourselves in the shoes of a less informed reader. The curse of knowledge is the single best explanation I know of why good people write bad prose. It simply doesn’t occur to the writer that her readers don’t know what she knows — that they haven’t mastered the patois of her guild, can’t divine the missing steps that seem too obvious to mention, have no way to visualize a scene that to her is as clear as day. And so she doesn’t bother to explain the jargon, or spell out the logic, or supply the necessary detail. (Source)

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Curiosity Depends on What You Already Know [...]

> Curiosity is not just wanderlust, though. We’re curious about specific things, and different people are interested in different specific things. Some are hobbyists, seekers of the arcane, others jacks-of-all-trades. This divergence of interests tells us that something beyond a tendency to roam must be guiding each of our unique obsessions.

Indeed, scientists who study the mechanics of curiosity are finding that it is, at its core, a kind of probability algorithm—our brain’s continuous calculation of which path or action is likely to gain us the most knowledge in the least amount of time. Like the links on a Wikipedia page, curiosity builds upon itself, every question leading to the next. And as with a journey down the Wikipedia wormhole, where you start dictates where you might end up. That’s the funny thing about curiosity: It’s less about what you don’t know than about what you already do.
In the most basic terms, you could describe curiosity as a function of motivation plus direction.

So maybe it’s true that I go to Wikipedia, as Schopenhauer said, to “ward off boredom.” But then I stay there for the next three hours reading up on the Mongol invasions of Japan partly because, subconsciously, I just like the dopamine rush I get from clicking on the links—the same rush that drove my ancestors to colonize Australia and the Arctic Circle, invent pottery, and carve the Venus of Willendorf.

But why follow the Mongol horde deep down the rabbit hole? Why not research Willard’s sooty boubou, or any of the other theoretically interesting subjects Wikipedia’s “random article” button tosses my way? Why does curiosity beckon us this way, and not that?

n a 1994 paper, Loewenstein theorized that curiosity’s direction is determined by the “information gap,” the sudden awareness of what you don’t know and the immediate desire to fill that gap. This perceived gap can exist in the physical universe (What is this weird bug?) or the mental one (What is love?). His theory does a good job of putting into words why Upworthy headlines are so irresistible (Damnit, what are the 22 Reasons I’m Probably Already a Manatee Fan?), and why curiosity is viewed as both a strength and a weakness (Did you know that manatee nipples are located in their armpits?).

For the information gap to set its hook, though, it can’t be too big (the headline is written in Portuguese) or too small (One Fact Is That Manatees Live in Florida)

In a 2009 study, a team of researchers (including Loewenstein) ….
As expected, subjects were least curious about answers they thought they knew. But they were also uninterested in questions about which they hadn’t a clue. Instead, curiosity peaked when subjects had a good guess about the answer but weren’t quite sure. The sweet spot for curiosity seemed to be a Goldilocksian level of information—not too much nor too little.

The way our brains instinctively seek “just right” levels of novelty is a bit like going to a bookstore, Kidd says. “You wouldn’t want to pick a children’s book, or a book you’ve read a lot before.” On the other hand, if you choose a book you can’t penetrate at all, like, say, a Russian textbook on astrophysics, you hit a similar problem. “That’s not going to be very interesting.” To learn, you have to have something to grab onto: The next handhold can’t be too far from the last—you might never reach it. So as your brain pushes you to gather information as quickly as possible, it instinctively steers you away from gaps that are too small, or too large.

To predict or even control curiosity would be to teach more efficiently, to better understand diseases of the mind, to entertain more consistently; life would be endlessly interesting. But the very difficulty of studying curiosity suggests its boundlessness, the near impossibility of truly directing it. For now, there are only more questions.

(Source)

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New Forking Syntax on Wikity [...]

> This weekend’s addition is pretty cool actually. So you know the wiki syntax within Wikity is to use double brackets around the page title to create a link, right, like so:

Poor Sleep and the Munchies

But what if you want to link to a remote page? The Wikity way to do that has been to go out, find the page, fork it, and then link to it from the other page. That’s a drag!

So we’ve added a new feature to the syntax. If you put a remote site in the double brackets, and that site returns valid Wikity JSON, the server will go out, copy the remote Wikity page for you, pull the title off of the JSON, and replace the link in your page with the title. (Source)

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Intentionally Finding Knowledge Gaps | Hapgood [...]

> Weird things happen when you go from thinking of your website as self expression to thinking about it as a model of your emerging thought — that memex-like collection of things you’ve read and thought and agreed with and disagreed with.

One of the things I do periodically is throw search terms at my Wikity site and see what comes back, to see if I’m thinking enough about issues I care about, or if I’m falling into just amplifying the things that pop up in my stream.
(Source)

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Technology does not saves time [...]

> Dennis Pearce Champion Mar 8, 2016 7:48 AM

The other (tangential) point I wanted to make is that “time-saving” automation, whether it be airplanes, microwave ovens, or spreadsheets, never actually saves time. It just ratchets up the expectations of how fast things can get done and often dramatically changes how humans do the remaining jobs left to them that machines haven’t taken.

Tom Standage has a great quote in his book The Victorian Internet about the parallels between the internet and the telegraph. It’s from a speech made by a New York businessman named W. E, Dodge in 1868:

“The merchant goes home after a day of hard work and excitement to a late dinner, trying amid the family circle to forget business, when he is interrupted by a telegram from London, directing, perhaps, the purchase in San Francisco of 20,000 barrels of flour, and the poor man must dispatch his dinner as hurredly as possible in order to send off his message to California. The businessman of the present day must be continually on the jump, the slow express train will not answer his purpose, and the poor merchant has no other way in which to work to secure a living for his family. He must use the telegraph.”

(Source)

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Salvation and Confession in Christianity [...]

> Christianity is not only a salvation religion, it is a confessional religion. It imposes very strict obligations of truth, dogma, and canon, more so than do the pagan religions. Truth obligations to believe this or that were and are still very numerous. The duty to accept a set of obligations, to hold certain books as permanent truth, to accept authoritarian decisions in matters of truth, not only to believe certain things but to show that one believes, and to accept institutional authority are all characteristic of Christianity.

Christianity requires anther form of truth obligation different from faith. Each person has the duty to know who he is, that is, to try to know what is happening inside him, to acknowledge faults, to recognize temptations, to locate desires, and everyone is obliged to disclose these things to either to God or to others in the community and hence to bear public or private witness against oneself. The truth obligations of faith and the self are linked together. This link permits a purification of the soul impossible without self-knowledge (Source)

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