"Det svåraste är här att låta obestämdheten riktigt och oförfalskat komma till uttryck."

April 20, 2014

Monthly Archives: December 2011

What is your care/share-ratio?

This article in MIT Technology review made me think. The author sets out comparing Moore’s law and Zuckerberg’s law and notes that there are fundamental differences between them. Z’s law says that online sharing will double yearly over the foreseeable future. The article author notes that this is not interesting in itself without an additional concept of “caring”. We could simplify this and think of the caring/sharing ratios for different network: how much material we share and how much we care about or actually consume. (Presumably we could even define social networks as networks that depend on their care/share ratio …continue reading

Argument from different model – a new foul in the theory of argument?

In Dietrich Doerner‘s excellent book on decision making, charmingly called the Logic of Failure, he develops the following problem solving model: Formulation of goals Formulation of models AND gather of information Prediction and extrapolation Planning of actions, decision making and execution Review of effects and revision This is a great model for several reasons, but the most important thing that Doerner has in his model that is left out of many other models is the first element in the second step: the formulation of, exactly, a model. It is essential to problem solving, and far too little time is usually …continue reading

The imperative of openness for data society

Aficionados of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series will like this article from MIT Technology Review. In the article we can read bout how physicists have developed methods that allow forecasting, much like weather forecasting, of purchasing decisions. And the way they do this should sound familiar to Asimov fans: Here’s how they do it. These guys think of humans as if they were atoms interacting with each other via three different forces. The first is advertising, which they think of as a general external force, like a magnetic field. The second is a word-of -mouth effect, which they model as a …continue reading

At what reform cost does democracy break?

Imagine that a lawmaker came to you and said that he wanted to propose a law that would contain the following provision: This law can only be changed after 15 years of complete consensus in the legislature and after paying 10 million USD. What would your natural reaction to that provision be? I am guessing that it would be mixture of incredulity and horror, right? Because if we start legislating like this we completely invalidate the democratic processes that are enshrined in our constitutions. But all laws are a little bit like this. To change a law is always harder …continue reading

ADBJ 30 år — fem frågor för de kommande 30 åren

I dag hade jag möjlighet att via länk få hålla ett föredrag om de kommande 30 årens utmaningar där rätten möter tekniken. Som tidigare styrelsemedlem, medlem och allmän beundrare av ADBJ var det extra roligt. Nedan en sammanfattning av de punkter som jag talade utifrån. Informationssamhället utvecklas i spänningen mellan två olika framtidsbilder. Den ena är bilden av ett ordnat och kontrollerat samhälle där tekniken stödjer en rationell människa, den bild som kanske tydligaste artikulerats i Paul Otlets Mundaneum. Den andra bilden är bilden av ett samhälle där tekniken exploderat, rationaliteten vajar och kaos öppnar sig, en bild som Borges …continue reading

Should we teach coding in schools?

In the UK right now there is an interesting debate about whether schools should teach programming instead of having kids do boring things in office software. I think the answer is a resounding yes. Not only because, as some say, “coding is the new latin”, but because there is something else here that I think is extremely valuable: the way of thinking that coding teaches. Computer science, to me, is interesting not chiefly because it is about computers. It is because it is actually a new kind of science. The way you are taught to think about the world in …continue reading

Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks live in San Francisco

Okej, så det var en ganska fantastisk konsert med The National igår. En vän sade nyligen att publiken i SF är svårflörtad, och desperat vill visa hur laid back den är (något som inte gick under VNV Nation konserten direkt, eftersom Ronan skriker åt publiken att dansa och röra på sig rätt så oavbrutet) – och jag måste säga att jag är litet småbesviken på min medpubliken. Det fanns gott om tillfällen att hoppa litet, men tydligen är det koolare att svaja med ett glasrödvin litet sådär lagom insiktsfullt spillande. Det kan i och för sig vara gruppen som uppmuntrar …continue reading

Önskelista – The Ultimate Christmas Hamper!

Jag blir alldeles sjuk är jag ser saker som de här: The Ultimate Hamper från Bureau Direct i Storbritannien. Vilken perfekt julklapp! Och endast 235 pund! Vad är det med anteckningsböcker, pennor och foldrar som är så magiskt? Sanningen är att jag inte riktigt vet. Jag tror att det är att de representerar en sorts redskap för lärande och tänkande, och att de innehåller ett skakigt löfte om tid att förkovra sig. Förkovran. Det är ett vackert ord. Jag skulle vilja förkovra mig mer. Gå på djupet. Skriva mer. Läsa mer. Under tiden som jag funderar ut hur jag ska …continue reading

Margulis on being controversial

Q: Do you ever get tired of being called controversial? A: I don’t consider my ideas controversial. I consider them right. Lynn Margulis response when interviewed in a magazine about here ideas on evolution, Gaia and more. While I am more inclined to believe in the Medea hypothesis than the Gaia hypothesis, I think Margulis’ response is a very thoughtful one . She recently passed away. Edge has a small piece that is refreshingly honest, with a note from Jerry Coyne that I think shows more respect than many other sickeningly sweet obituaries do.

Optimal social density?

According to some interesting research out of Facebook the degrees of separation between different nodes in the social network is decreasing. In but a few decades, if these numbers are right, we have gone from 6 degrees of separation to somewhat more than 4. Now, the interesting question is if this is a good thing or not. Are lower degrees of separation (or let’s call it sloppily higher social density) a good thing or not? Obviously, making the case that it is good seems easy. We could argue that a more connected world will be more peaceful, that knowledge will …continue reading