Wednesday 2011-11-09

Out of Control by Kevin Kelly

Early 1990s futurism.

MATHEMATICIAN JOHN HOLLAND: It goes kaleidoscopic! There's a lag time, so it'll flicker all over the place. The chameleon won't ever be a uniform color.

COMPUTER SCIENTIST MARVIN MINSKY: It might have a number of eigenvalues or colors, so it will zero in on a number of colors. If you put it in when it's green it might stay green, and if it was red it might stay red, but if you put it in when it was brown it might tend to go to green.

NATURALIST PETER WARSHALL: A chameleon changes color out of a fright response so it all depends on its emotional state. It might be frightened by its image at first, but then later "warm up" to it, and so change colors.

-- Chapter 5: Coevolution
The next breakthrough won't be in the individual interface but in the team interface
-- John Seely Brown
The facilitator of the lap game takes a group of 25 or more people and has them stand fairly close together in a circle, so that each participant is staring at the back of the head of the person in front of him. Just picture a queue of people waiting in line for a movie and connect them in a tidy circle.

At the facilitator's command this circle of people bend their knees and sit on the spontaneously generated knee-lap of the person behind them. If done in unison, the ring of people lowering to sit are suddenly propped up on a self-supporting collective chair.

-- Chapter 20: The Butterfly Sleeps
Now, 33 years later, I see that democracy is a device that allows conflicting minorities to reach relative fluid compromises. It keeps subgroups from getting stuck on some locally good but globally inferior solution.
-- Stuart Kauffman
(As long as each subgroup has representation)