Toward that end, I am thinking of beefing up my recent essay about Altruistic Horizons: Our Tribal Natures, the Fear Effect and the End of Ideologues.
What I need from some of you is a more critical read or that piece. Especially, any links or references to REAL ANTHROPOLOGY that supports (or doesn’t) the basic notion that confident tribes gather as nations but drop down to bickering clans, bands, even families, when times are fearful & hard.
Looking back at some other postings, about inter-human connectivity, I find that similar thoughts by others: a piece on Mark Pesce’s Hyperpeople blog.
A related knock-on piece offers thoughts on how people utilize e-connectedness to enhance their knowledge and ability by using the “Three Fs” -- Finding, Filtering and Forwarding. Very interesting and cogent observations.
And yet, as I point out in my Disputation Arenas paper, we actually do these things online, today, very badly! The three Fs are actually so primitive today that they suppress creative aggregate intelligence, almost as much as they enhance it.
Naturally, I think my new Holocene invention will change all that. Background info can be found at: http://www.slideshare.net/davidbrin/holocene-intro1-16078404
REVIEWING MY OWN POSTINGS ON THIS MATTER... I just believe that there are many factors constraining our online ability to Help enlightenment civilization reach its next level.
1. Citizenship is hampered by the error of cynicism:
The Real Culture War: Defining the Background
2. ...and by a hidden conflict of professionals vs amateurs:
The Other Culture War: Beleaguered Professionals vs. Disempowered Citizens
3. ...and by failure of accountability for predictions:
Accountability for Everyday Prophets: A Call for a Predictions Registry
4. ... and by poor structure in the deliberation of opinion in the online world, allowing everyone to speak without any way for bad ideas to sink or good ones to rise:
Disputation Arenas: Harnessing Conflict and Competitiveness for Society's Benefit
5. ... or for extra capital resources to flow easily to big projects that stand on our urgent horizon: Horizons and Hope: The Future of Philanthropy
An Open Letter to Researchers of Addiction, Brain Chemistry, and Social Psychology
7. ... and a seemingly deliberate effort to use the interface itself to suppress cogent discussion among the hundreds of billions of young people who go online to flirt and gossip, actually WRITING more words than any other generation, but unable to express anything more complex than "ROFL!" in clipped sentences: www.holocenechat.com
8. But the biggest impediment is a cloud of secrecy that prevents markets and science and courts and public opinion from making decisions with efficiency and rapidity, leaving them less effective to serve as agile arenas for problem solving. Leaving us much too dependent upon high level government decisions in order to get things done. (Of course, the irony is that the chief defenders of this fog are the very ones claiming that they adore "market solutions.")
I do believe in hyperintelligence and hyperpeople! I just see far more impediments than most of the enthusiasts do. This irony is disturbing to me. Enthusiasts like Kurzweil downplay the obstacles while their opponents downplay the possibilities.
From the inimitable arch-neomodernist Cory Doctorow’s Boing Boing site: Patent Office Will Ask the Public to "Peer Review" Inventions -- (Boing Boing -- May 8, 2006) The US Patent and Trademark Office has launched "Peer to Patent," a community patent peer review project. The USPTO is overloaded with patent filings, so it does little or no investigation into patents before rubber-stamping them, expecting that the courts will sort out who invented what.
Naturally I approve, philosophically. It’s what I push... and yet I wonder, would it have made my own recently awarded patent easier or harder? Actually, I think it would have been granted a year earlier, and generated a lot more buzz! (I’ll be in DC late this month. Anyone know the masterminds of this program?)
Smart Mobs and Empowered Citizenship: Remember outsourcing? Sending jobs to India and China is so 2003. The new pool of cheap labor: everyday people using their spare cycles to create content, solve problems, even do corporate R & D.
An article on search engine accuracy suggests we need wariness about whether they turn out empowering everybody, or a few.
More on similar lines? An editor posted an article containing "Dogma of Otherness" Italian translation. It's available at:
Recommended reading: Dan Gilmor’s recent book, We the Media: Grassroots Journalism By the People, For the People, which is about the relationship between mainstream media and this new citizen-driven, participatory journalism, Dan said he believes that "it is symbiotic, I hope, not confrontational. Certainly there will be competition, which is valuable. But I hope bloggers and other kinds of grassroots-media folks will become part of a larger ecosystem, not try to displace what already exists, because we need both. The possibilities are endless, and blogging is just one. Wikis, podcasting and all kinds of other methods will be brought to bear on the big and small issues of our times."
Does this mean that all information, no matter how democratically obtained and published is valid? Of course not. As Gillmor tells us, we all need editors. We the Media raises these and many more thorny issues that we must confront; the world of openness and collaboration is taking off, and technology leads the way faster than organizations, society, and law can catch up. These same arguments apply to government, and especially to departments and agencies that deal in protecting us (and our rights).
Openness is certainly an issue to deal with for these institutions; they have fine lines to tread as they find better uses for open source information which derives from this plethora of sources, often expert sources, and the vast army of citizens who would like to do their part in the post-9/11 world. Listening is a critical skill that must be mastered. Public-private partnerships will emerge. How we collaborate, with safeguards for privacy and security, can determine ultimately how secure we are and how well our basic freedoms are protected.” (Source, the Highlands Forum.)
And somewhat related, on the theme of infectious altruism...
. . . Tyler Carpenter, Rogue Academic writes: “Earlier today I was laying on my couch and flipping through my battered copy of "Otherness", trying to determine which story to re-read while I waited for my laundry to be done. By chance, I settled on "The Giving Plague," due to all of the 'Beware of West Nile Virus!' posters I've been seeing of late on the UC Santa Barbara campus. Later, I happened across an article link on scicentral.com, about research into an 'altruism gene'. The coincidence between revisiting ALAS and reading the article was too much to ignore. Maybe you'll find it interesting, maybe not - but I'd feel remiss if I didn't pass it on.
Finally... I am on my way to NYC, DC, Boston for talks about
1. How to escape from tall building (!)
2. Complexity and the difficulty of prediction
3. "Evil Genius" secenarios for terror attacks on the Homeland.
If any of you have citations or very quirky insights on these topics, feel free to comment here...