Sunday, December 13, 2009

Minority creates knowledge, Majority generates intelligence

I was reading Weinstein's piece in NYT today, on Samuelson.  In the context of Samuelson's contribution to Kenyesian economic theory, the article points out that in the 1930's, when Keynes developed his ideas, world leaders could not cope with the great depression, whereas last year we were able to get it right:
Back then, governments stood pat or made matters worse by trying to balance fiscal budgets and erecting trade barriers. But 80 years later, having absorbed the Keynesian preaching of Mr. Samuelson and his followers, most industrialized countries took corrective action, raising government spending, cutting taxes, keeping exports and imports flowing and driving short-term interest rates to near zero.
I have been trying to find examples where the intelligence of a group of people turned out to be greater than that of one; where the origin and propagation of knowledge ultimately led to collective human behavior (thought and action) demonstrating an increase in intelligence. Examples in individual organizations was being hard to qualify. 
So, one group of the human population creates a problem and another group solves it.  An action is a problem when it concerns a minority of the population and is a solution when it is related to the majority.  Both groups of actors, were exposed to the same knowledge over the same period of time (80 years).  It may even be very difficult to find unique identities of the two groups of actors. But a solution was implemented. That's indicative of the evolution of intelligence.  
What did it achieve?  Nothing new.  It just ensured the sustenance of the system! Technological innovators achieve much greater feats.  The next big problem, our climate, environment and habitat will probably test if technological innovation has made us more intelligent. However, the majority and the minority of the population seems to have a wrong alignment this time. The solution will come from the minority, but the majority has already aggregated, around negatives.
  

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Interpreting incomplete experiments

The graph here is used by the authors of the analysis to somehow predict that when 100% of humans become authors in 2013, we are better off.  If, 100 people read what I type, then I'm an author because of the viral characteristics of information propagation.  This definition allows the qualification of Twitters as authors;  not mere communicators.  Humans and all animals and plants and the whole living world is already 100% communicators; besides, 40% of the human population is in India and China.


Take for example this debate on whether google is making us more intelligent or less. One has to actually read the several links embedded in these articles to get the complete picture.  But, how difficult is it to assume that some who are finding it beneficial to adapt are evolving with respect to our information processing capabilities while others are not, without attempting any generalizations?


The PS2 or PSP or whatever gaming device you use, is designed to test your eye-hand coordination; because you don't have a perfect/ideal coordination, manipulating these devices is a challenge and some incentive is added to the exercise in the result of the game to stimulate euphoria.  If you had perfect eye-hand coordination and other physical capabilities, you would need to be in the field, to get the same amount of satisfaction. So, a device that is designed to exploit your lack of capabilities to make money, is used in an experiment to suggest that we can enhance our capabilities with practice at a faster pace now than ever before.


When we write technical papers, the experimental section has the sole purpose of describing what the limitations of the experiments and therefore the results are.  However, its not written in the negative; it only describes what was done and then a practitioner can figure out what was not done.  This discipline in communication forms the basis of scientific methodology.  This discipline of communication intends to eliminate ambiguity.  


Science is not a profit making business.  But, if you leave the experimental or methodology section of our work out and become 'authors' based only on our results and discussion and conclusions, it seems there's a viable and flourishing business model.