18 responses

  1. Tim Kastelle
    March 20, 2011

    Nice job of integrating a fairly broad but interesting set of work Greg.

    That book by Brian Arthur is the best economics book that I’ve read in ages. Very clear thinking all the way through, and I think that his ideas are dead on.

    Reply

    • Greg
      March 20, 2011

      Yeah, it was really good. All the best work these days seems to come out of the Santa Fe Institute.

      – Greg

      Reply

  2. Ryan
    March 20, 2011

    Fearing ourselves is nothing new, but it is useless in our evolution, which you decree inseparable from technology’s. In this, I feel you have touched upon the means of our liberation. For, if it is ourselves, and what we are capable of creating, that we fear (for example, governments and economies), then is it not possible to betray those silly fear-provoking behaviors and treat ourselves to some decent technically-enabled abundance? What business does a man have in the sweat and toil of a field when a machine can do it for him? Yet, what business does a machine have in a field of a man that kisses the soil with thanks for his crop? The way man lives is simple, but convoluted by inefficient concepts such as fear and money. Love and freedom is our natural state, and anyone aware of the current trends will find that we will either return to that state or be lost for a very long time. I, personally, have not the patience to be lost – but I will be happy to help as many as I can before I go.

    Reply

    • Greg
      March 20, 2011

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Ryan.

      – Greg

      Reply

  3. martin king
    March 20, 2011

    Nice review Greg.

    My view:
    Humans have co-evolved with technology since the earliest times – it could almost define what it is to be human.

    Although animals use tools it is fruitful to look at the differences between tool and technology and what is different now.

    For me the key concept is degree of consciousness and self awareness

    1 – Technology is greater than the use of tools – I think technology requires a deeper degree of consciousness – application of “scientific” operation –

    2 – We once we just did technology we are now considering it existentially – we are becoming aware of our relationship with technology – an issue of our time

    Reply

    • Greg
      March 21, 2011

      Martin,

      Good points. Thanks for this (and sorry about the late reply. For some reason you got stuck in spam.

      A few points:

      1. Both Brian Arthur and Kevin Kelly are explicit about the fact that technology includes ideas and processes (and I agree). So I think that extends your argument.

      2. I’m currently reading a book about the origin of communication and it seems that a key way that humans differ from primates is our ability to form shared intent. So again, I think you’re right. Our ability to add to each other’s achievements is vital to how we advance. Like I said, cultural evolution and technology are intertwined.

      Thanks again!

      – Greg

      Reply

  4. kengon
    March 20, 2011

    Greg,

    Great post, sir. Anyone that dips back into the well to pick up *both* Heidegger and Kuhn deserves kudos for that fact alone, let alone establishing relevancy. Both of these books are favorites of mine.

    One of the key points in Kuhn’s view that shouldn’t be overlooked, given the focus of your post, is the generational effect of world view. Only as the influence of the elder generations diminishes does the new world view have a real chance to come into prominence. Given the pace of change today, we cannot afford to wait for the previous generation to “die off”.

    Indeed, I think that we still see some of that in play today, but I think it’s much less. I see this playing out in smaller time chunks, because of the rapid advancement of technology/knowledge, as well as the effect of specialization. I expect this trend to accelerate over time. In addition, I think it will have a re-integrating (resolving issues with cross-specialty views due to specialization) effect, as we develop better techniques for managing/transforming content and engaging with others (both online, offline and mixed modes).

    Best,
    kengon

    Reply

    • Greg
      March 20, 2011

      Ken,

      Good point. Another thing I think is too often overlooked is that Kuhn was fairly explicit that new paradigms don’t abolish old ones as much as they build on them. As we build new solutions to new problems, we still have to solve the old ones.

      I think that all too often people who seek to innovate undermine themselves by failing to learn old lessons.

      – Greg

      Reply

      • kengon
        March 20, 2011

        Agreed on both counts!

        kengon

        Reply

      • Greg
        March 21, 2011

        🙂

        Reply

  5. vic williams
    March 27, 2011

    Hi,

    I think that we can look at innovation in two ways. One is innovating inside a thought castle/paradigm/culture. This pattern mainly innovates inside social-cultural ways. The other is innovating with ‘go look and see’. Toyota lean, Boyd, quantum mech, and tao use observation of natural patterns. The two interplay.

    U.S. medicine is tech based and its innovation is tech based, but U.S. health is life style based. Over reliance on tech-food leads to an instant-life style that often degrades into tech medical fixes instead of ‘inspecting and adapting’ to a better life style.

    Some such tech innovation might then be seen as dumbing people down to an instant-fix while such people are living in thought-castles that separate them from their own bodies. That might be “Technological Evolution is Cultural Evolution” by discarding part of the population. It might also be a sign that following tech through lagging social constructs discards people.

    There’s a yin yang in the patterning that means a tech good innovation may well have an implicit/ignored/unknown tech bad innovation that hits us socially/culturally/physically.

    Reply

    • Greg
      March 27, 2011

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Vic. Much appreciated.

      – Greg

      Reply

  6. Graham Rawlinson
    March 28, 2011

    I am somewhat surprised that no mention has been made of the most comprehensive account of technological evolution yet, the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving. TRIZ. Having found out about it and introduced it into the UK in 1996/7 it has taken off substantially in South East Asia where people seem to be more open minded, but it is being used by many maybe most of the big corporates around the world. TRIZ came about from hard research by thousands of people, it is not just one man’s good assimilation of reading lots of stuff. So TRIZ is the science of evolution of technological design.

    Reply

    • Greg
      March 28, 2011

      Thanks for the tip Graham. Top be honest, I’ve never heard of TRIZ. Do you have a link?

      – Greg

      Reply

  7. Graham Rawlinson
    March 28, 2011

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TRIZ is not a bad start

    Or try http://www.triz-journal.com/

    Or http://www.aitriz.org/

    Or http://www.mazur.net/triz/

    Or just Google TRIZ, and try TRIZ search and big company names and see what links you find, a good way to research reality.

    E.g. TRIZ and Samsung produces
    http://www.samsungsdi.com/intro/c_4_1_1t.jsp

    Hope this helps

    Graham

    Reply

    • Greg
      March 28, 2011

      Thanks, I’ll check it out.

      – Greg

      Reply

  8. Ellen Domb
    April 3, 2011

    Thanks Greg and Graham–Greg, great review, and it covers a lot of territory that TRIZ deals with. Graham–thanks for alerting Greg to TRIZ. I’ll tweet the review to the TRIZ camp, and maybe we’ll get some new folks into the discussion. –Ellen Domb

    Reply

    • Greg
      April 3, 2011

      Thank you and good luck with the group!

      – Greg

      Reply

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