Kraftwerk or De Kooning ..?

With all the talk about how, in the end, all of our jobs may be taken over by automatons, and us being left with nothing but idleness (as, e.g., this and many other posts on this blog), and erratic behavior as our core competence, what direction will art take ..?
I mean, we all studied the relevant literature, didn’t we ..?
And we all concluded that either times change slower than some predict, as invariably is the case (whereas the more profound effects play out even more profoundly than predicted, in the long run – discuss the time point cut-offs between short, middle and long run),
Or we’re doomed.

As an intermission:
[The erratic as style. Toronto, of course.]

But still, in that scenario where all the boring routine business (either physical or mental!) has been taken over by machines and algorithms, and the combination has become human-like in the sense that nobody cares anymore whether ‘intelligence’ concerns all of our [someone’s] mental capabilities – no human is perfect in all these elements, distributions vary enormously and everyone falls short on the majority …! (?) – combined into one, or it concerns only aspects of that all, we are left with the outer fringes of tasks that have some element of randomness that cannot be captured in algorithms – yet.
Where the boundaries will be pushed ever further. True randomness … hard to get. But look how dismal humans are with ‘randomness’, in this. What if machines outpace us at this one, too ..?

And, when we all will be pushed to the limits of creative work, will it pay enough ..? Probably not. That’s not how the world turns, with oversupply competing for buyers ever less ability to pay; vicious circle.

And, on the core note of this post: What direction will the art that we have so much time for, take? Will it be the art that sits well with the machine age, catering to the machines’ (!!!) needs in e.g., music by Kraftwerk [that recently got pimped to be the original and sole driver of electro[pop|music] but they’re in an admittedly very small pantheon together with, at least, their art-uncle/father Jean Michel Jarre..!] or similar ..?
Or will the art play on the core comparative strength of us, resulting in De Koonings, Rothkos, Pollocks even ..? I know I’d like that….
Either way … Are you educating your children already to live and work in such a world, or are you still aiming at all (sic) their education being outdated as soon as they have to stand on their own feet – with the required skills and mind being trained out of them ..? With the caveat that they’d still would need the most top-notch of education in everything; to be able to communicate with machines and to be able to handle (the complexity of) the world as it is then, including e.g., power failures … But? And? remember president Truman’s “I have found the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it.” Or are you chasing your kids for this on Coding as the new literacy (that I pointed out in the above education link) ..? Or this:
But we’re running off-topic now (?).

I’ll leave you now with maybe the one other take-away: What solution to mass joblessness is there in that ‘comparative’ ..? Which I meant in a Ricardo’an way ..! (As explained here) Think that through … Contra the above hypercompetition, is there salvation in there ..!?

To study; unconscious compliance, conformity

A quite good analysis here, of this book.

Which throws a wrench in many discussion positions for or against privacy … also in the light of this book. Are we numb mindless drones in larger schemes, or are we individuals whose choices happened to coincide? Through availability of emergent too-selective alternatives or what?

Think about that. And revel at:
000011 (3)
[Cheney interior, original. And B&B ..! Hey don’t complain, ‘t is from an analog one again, circa 1997.]

Aggregation is stripping noise; close to emergence but …

Still tinkering with the troubles of the aggregation chasm (as in this here previous post) and the hardly visible but still probably most fundamentally related concept of emergent properties (as in this, on Information), when some dawn of insight crept in.
First, this:
Photo11g[Somewhere IL, IN, OH; anyone has definitive bearings? JustASearchAway found it. WI]

Because I’ve dabbled with Ortega y Gasset’s stupidity of the masses for a long time. Whether they constitute Mob Rule, or are (mentally to action) captives of the (or other!) 0.1%, or what. My ‘solution’ had been to seek the societal equivalent of the Common Denominator – No! That may be in common parlance but what is meant here, much more precise, is the Greatest Common Divisor.

Since that is at work when ‘adding’ people into groups: Through stripping differences (as individuals have an urge to join groups and be recognized as members, they’ll shed those) and Anchoring around what some Evil Minds may have (consciously or not) set as GCD-equivalent idea, the GCD will reinforce itself ever more (immoral spiral of self-reinforcement), mathematically inherent through adding more elements to the group for GCD establishment and (not ‘strictly’) lowering. [The only difference being the possibility of a pre-set GCD to center around; just make it attractive enough so the mass will assemble, then shift it to need ..!] Where the still-conscious may not want to give up too much of their individuality but may have to dive under in their compliance coping cabanas just to survive (!?).

So, aggregation leads to the stripping of ground noise which may lead to patterns having been pervasively present but covered by that noise, to emerge. Like statistically, a high R2 but with a low β – but still with this β being larger than any of the others if at all present. This may be behind the ‘pattern recognition’ capabilities of Big Data: Throw in enough data and use some sophisticated methods to ensure that major subclasses will be stratified into clusters and be noise to the equation. [That GMDH, by the way, was the ground breaking method by which I showed anomalous patterns in leader/follower stock price behavior (Shipping index significantly 2-day leading one specific chemicals company; right…) in my thesis research/write-up back in 1994, on a, mind you, all hard-core coding in C on a virtual 16-core chip from mathematics down to load distribution. Eat that, recent-fancy-dancy-big-data-tool-using n00bs..!]

By which all the patterns that were under the radar will suddely appear as patterns in Extremistan DisruptiveLand would; staying under the radar until exploding out of control through that barrier (but note this). As emergent.

But just as metadata is not Information but still only Data, the Emergent isn’t, really. Darn! Close, but no Cuban.
As the pattern is floundering on the research bed when the noise around it dries up, it is not necessarily part of every element in the data pool and potentially can only exist (be visible) at aggregate level. But can and ex-ante very much more probable be part in one or some or many elements of the pool, which would be methodologically excluded from the definition of Emergence / Emergent Characteristics (is it?). And, if the noise is quiet enough, would already be visible in the murky pool in the first place as characteristic not ‘only’ as emergent as the definition of that would have it.

So, concluding… a worthwhile thought experiment, sandblasting some unclarity, but still, little progress on understanding, felling-through-and-through, how Emergence works; what brings it about. But we should! It is that Holy Grail of jumping from mere Data to Information ..!
Joe Cocker just died a couple of weeks ago. Fulfill his request, and little help this friend here, with your additional thoughts, please…

HTTP status 418 against unpersonation

Though we’re halfway towards granting legal person rights to animals (as this and this show), and you know a lot of co-workers for whom this presents a nice little bit of progress, I’d say we have also moved great strides in the opposite direction.
Which is far more dangerous.

It all started, throughout the ages over and over again, with the already-responsibility-deprived weasels (a.k.a. ‘mere employees’ and ‘leaders’) wiggling out from under the burden of guilt for, e.g. most recently, the Sony hack, the financial crisis; you name it. With excuses ranging all the way from “I wasn’t important enough to had been able to make any noticeable difference anyway” to “If I hadn’t done it, someone else would have and at least now it was me with still some consciousness that did it” – where one’s character speaks through one’s actions …
Which in sum total, through a particularly nefarious twist of aggregation and emergence (read back this little badly unnoticed gem and you’ll get it) leads to … dehumanization of these speakers, and corporations seeking personhood as well.
Which is far more dangerous.

All of you that behave this way: You’re not underestimating the dystopian version of the Singularity, but actively bringing it on … by degrading your own independence, freedom (of mind and action!), identity, humanity, and value. By suppressing any questioning of the Überbureaucracy, actively, by frowning of much worse on those that want to remain human and social (i.e., exchange ideas). Etc. To no end.
To the end of letting the force of nature, the beast within, to explode out through the most deviant, unthinkably inhumane, behavior in particularly with the ones that were most and first in line with ratio, bureaucratic petty rules, i.e., the ones holding sway over all others including you. With the explosion hitting you, too – and you have no answer either now or then…

Complexity, of the world, of societies, of your immediate environments (Sloterdijk’s spheres, yes), of yourself, is no excuse to shut down. It should be a wake-up call, a call to arms, a sacrifice … not to ritually celebrate past developments, but to progress out of the complexity …!
My fabourite option: a healthy dose of status code 418 for all, not always, but every now and then, here and there. Life is too important to always take seriously!

Well, I’m off to some very dense prose, where mere text lines are ever more narrow in their description of the richness of the ideas and constructs to be discussed. Hence will part ways, with:
DSCN1441[Bam! Out explodes the force of nature]

Predictions 2015

So… The End is Nigh. Hence, my predictions for beyond it.

As 2015 is about to kick off, herewith my predictions of what happen in Internet / IT land, as notable in the global society, being part of my mind frame. Or so.
To not make things too difficult to understand, I’ve assembled a mixed bag of abstract notions and concrete(ly noticeable) stuff that will happen, interlaced with all sorts of fancy graphs and dull pictures – to make you think not applaud sheepishly. Think, think first, deeply, and then still agree with the clairvoyance of:

  1. A first easy start: The development of Appl. [censored] stock as a systemic risk to the (financial and other) world. As the 1 trillion dollar mark approaches, how much would a stock need to corner the market in terms of risk ..? In particular when it will turn out to not be hip anymore somewhere during the next year:
  2. Another of this kind: Docker. As explained before on this site, this underpinning of cloud-to-cloud portability, now backed by all the major brands and a bunch of others as well – those not in, to fall off the bandwagon, hard! –, will surface as a big-time hype catchphrase and will even get implemented quite extensively. Though the latter will remain under the surface for most outcrowd.
  3. Aie oh Tee. Yes, as it rallied to the fore already in 2014, but will now burst out in earnest. After Kurzweil’s agenda, despite Carr’s, and beyond the nerdy early innovators’ adoptions. For the various directions that IoT will develop in, see this here earlier post. These streams will become more distinct next year.
    • At least, the ‘domotics’ / wearables markets will come to full steam, in particular as retrofitting becomes easy and invisible.
    • Security and audit (vendors racing to lead the former, you may thank and reward me in advance for the latter) over IoT of all kinds, will rapidly improve. See below.
    • AI will get integrated. Because reasons. Being:
      [Useful if not when you understand what’s going on here, both (!) story lines]

  4. Disruptions: In particular the unsettling decentralization ones. Like:
    Where grassroots sharing on either the supply side, the demand side, or both, will rule.
    OR the Amazonian style of Big Corp obliterating the defenseless old, may intervene.
  5. AI. A big, very big one in 2015 – whether you like it or not, the Kurzweillian happy go lucky augmented-humanoid buds will come to fuller bloom next year.
    • E.g., the above trolley problem and similar ethical and philosophical questions will be discussed profusely, hopefully delivering some twists and turns that settle parts of the problems. All of them, probably cannot be resolved once and for all; the Gödelian knots in them, are systemic and no re-definition of the problems may prevent that. FACT. But progress is there.
    • And/or, there will be many snap-to-make-sense solutions coming out. Partly or fully automated [visual|speech]-to-[text|interpretation]-to-[information|action] will arrive on any device. Take this article as example of early stages; using spreadsheets – how Old School! but still pervasive ..!
    • And many more applications. Like this. Big G’s X Labs is at full speed. And will come with many breakthroughs…
    • Oh, even before this post aired, this here interesting development…

  6. XYZCoin will continue to develop in the next year. Structures will emerge. Look for development in all the main sectors:
    • Sorting of all the sorts of coins. Zippcoin may flourish. Litecoin, maybe. Others?
    • Wallets (software wallets, and web/mobile wallets);
    • Payment processors (payment service providers, and payment networks);
    • Exchanges (xyzCoin exchanges, spot/forward exchanges, and stock exchanges);
    • Borrowing and lending (peer to peer borrowing and lending, and bank-like borrowing and lending);
    • Hardware and equipment development (for mining and ATMs);
    • Investment vehicles (ETFs, trusts, venture funds);
    • Other (binary options, casinos, microworks sites);
    • Secondary and tertiary systems of cryptographic(‘ally provable’) unicity of IDs. This actually will be the Big One. As Zippcoin delivers a Basic Income in the economists’ sense. As DACs will do all sorts of strange things, hard to understand by most, easy to reel off in dangerous directions similar to quants having been ill-understood (at a deep, fundamental understanding/meaning level) in the financial derivatives world… And as explained here and here in its systems details.
      But then, if you’d claim to understand already, the following would be easypeasy for you to explain, right?

  7. Security. Finally, something closer to home. Here, a natural modesty may cloud the actual vast progress. Like in:
    • The spread of OSSTMM. More a gaining of ground. But from there, anything goes. ISO27k1:2013 may still go around, and will indeed have a major impact on the efficacy of InfoSec implementations – now, hopefully, where applied correctly (one fears in a precious few places only; the rest performing dismally), optimizing visibly and efficiently for maximum effect. But still, it will have to be augmented with OSSTMM(-style) concrete InfoSec business. Even when the compliance/certification Totalitarian-Bureaucrat mumbo-jumbo will continue.
    • IoT security. Vendors are onto this now, mainly in the B-Internal and B2B markets (explained in these posts).
    • Encryption of data by default, throughout. Quite an example of InfoSec basics spreading under the radar. Even socmed tools will incorporate this. Effectiveness (security levels achieved) may vary widely, but the attention is good. Very good.

OK. So far, so good. First, let’s celebrate the end of the year commemorative days, in a solemn and thankful, humble way. Then, party like it’s 2015 all the way. And, I’ll leave you with:
DSCN8963[Not oft seen, at Viana do Castelo]

[Edited to add: I’ve upgraded the predictions a bit, and turned them into a PPT. Yeah, I can do More Slick but this: ISACA Zuid 2015 01 21 (in Dutch but you get it) is how it is…:]

Spam (out) of control

How is it that for decades, we had been used to managerial spans of control being in the 5-to-10, optimal (sic) 8 range, whereas what we had in the past couple of decades is spans of control in the 2-3 range mostly ..? [Duh, exceptions and successful organisations aside…]

Because I came across some post on a well-known business site where there’s an early simple statement that a span of control of 10 would not only be normal, but outdated as well, as the span could be at 30.
Well, I doubt the latter, as this would conflict with a lower ‘Dunbar’ number which indeed is about 8, with ramifications for informal control as outlined in this Bruce masterpiece. Oh yes now it springs to mind the 8 figure was taken by the military, the ultimate built-for-survival organization, to be the optimal span of control, and taken over to business for its apparently attractive all-business-is-war metaphor – where the attraction is there only for those not really exposed to the gore of war, I guess.

But whether it’s 8, 10 or 30, the optimal span of control clearly is larger than the common today’s practice.
Which has implications:

  • Too low a number will inevitably lead managers to seek to have something to do. Busywork, in their role leading to excessive micromanagement (yes pleonasm but on purpose) and/or excessive meeting behavior, in particular with their underlings and/or likewise trapped colleagues, like an AA group. Thus burdening the underlings with time taken away from actual content work and the need for Action item lists and reporting blub. Thus burdening colleagues with all sorts of time lost on, what actually is, whining.
  • Too low a number and the micromanagement leads to extreme (far overextended) controls burdens on the ones who’d actually produce anything of value instead of producing negative value with all their externalities like managers may commonly do. This burdening then leads to ‘process’, ‘procedures’ etc., to ‘standardise’ (otherwise, understanding of actual content would be required; the horror to managers!), hollowing out even further the value of any work done. As in the abovementioned / linked Forbes article; the Peter principle will reign.
  • Too low a number and the standardisation will drive out the creativity (in process and in product/service design/production/delivery) that is required ever more than before to counter the ever more changing environment. As I typed this, this article arrived…

So yes, we all need to focus on upping the number. To counter stalemates. To counter bureaucracy heavens. To regain flexibility.
But still, still, this could only work IF, very very big IF, ‘managers’ (not to address actual managers, that I value enormously!) can loosen their frantic, fear-of-death-like Totalitarian Control attitude.
Which I doubt. But then, organisations relying on these (whether already or after they will have crowded-out the actual managers via the Peter principle and acolyte behavior) will loose out to the upstarts that do keep the mold out.

And, finally, of course:
DSCN1138[Was safe, now the highway passes by somewhere down below, leaving the ‘secured’ stranded upon high; Carmona]