Category Archives: Technology

Spreading Dangerous Ideas

I’ve just read a blog by Seth Godin about Protecting vs Spreading Ideas. The moral of his blog, as far as I can tell, is; “Get good at what you do”; “Spread your Ideas Freely” they belong to everyone.

I agree with this philosophy but have often agonised over possible exceptions to this rule.

Lets take a hypothetical rewrite of History.  Lets say Rutherford split the atom and kept it to himself, he went on to do a few more experiments and discovered in isolation the power that could be obtained from such activity and kept it to himself. Pondered a bit more he decided to try the reverse of splitting the atom and discovered that fusing together atoms was even more powerful than splitting them. He still didn’t tell anyone. Experimented a bit more and came up with a working fusion reactor. This he told. In fact he gave building instructions, that an idiot could follow, to every country in the world.

Japan now had the energy they previously went to war over, no nuclear bomb got dropped, in fact it never got invented because there was no need for it.

Now lets assume instead that anywhere along this time line that Rutherford dies taking his ideas to his grave.

No splitting of the atom, no discovery of fission, again, no bomb.

OK I’m not a science historian. I have no knowledge of how long it would have been before someone else would have discovered the splitting of the atom bringing the world through the sequence of discoveries that have got us to where we today rather than the impossible events that lead to my Utopian scenario. It does however illustrate the possible need for exceptions and why I spend time agonising over it.

Are nanotechnology ideas going to progress or harm humanity’s  progress? How about genetic engineering? Biotech?

Was the letter, sent to the American President, which sparked the Manhattan Project, and signed by Albert Einstein, an exception to the rule?

History documents Einstein’s  anguish over the decision to send that letter.

Exercising Wisdom

I have found much to my dismay that if I stop exercising my muscles I get weaker and less capable of doing the physical things I used to do.

The opportunity to do physical exercise outside of the time I spend swapping my time for money is getting greater and greater. There are no end of things being invented to make physical exercise more convenient, exciting and fun. With participation undoubtedly they would make me stronger, yet I am less physically fit than I have ever been.

In days gone by I worked on Farms, building, mowing lawns doing all manner of physical activity. I was fit, happy and healthy. I now work in an office in front of a computer getting fatter and less healthy.

My switch from physical work to more sedentary work shows me the value and need of practicing the physical.

I’ve been wondering if the same principle applies to Wisdom.

Are the systems we implement in business and society taking away the necessity to practice wisdom and thereby making us less wise?

Barry Schwartz gives a TED talk where he gives examples of systems creating barriers to the practice of Wisdom.

Perhaps we need to be designing systems which promote the practice of wisdom. With practice, perhaps we can turn the tide on what is seemingly a collective loss in this area.
Along side our fight against obesity, should we be fighting against this loss? If so, what are the new set of tools to help us with this fight. Kahatika?

Update: Barry has released a little more on the subject. Still no definitive answer to how to ensure more practical wisdom. He does touch on changing the system though.
This is what Kahatika does.

Symptoms of Love

“The world would be saved if we could just love one another.”

An airy fairy statement used by hippies and dreamers?

No matter how true the statement may be, it is hardly a pragmatic plan of attack to “Save the World”.

Defining love is difficult in many ways. It’s association with sexual intimacy, and it’s broad context of use where many contexts are deemed socially unacceptable to even have a hint of that association, make in depth discussion of love uncomfortable for many.

  • Love your spouse
  • Love your Children
  • Love your Parents
  • Love Trees
  • Love a Business Idea
  • Love a good Steak
  • Love your God

There are so many different contexts where the word Love is used that it is impossible to determine if the world is increasing or decreasing in it’s level of Love.

In science, technology and business, when you have something you wish to measure, which is seemingly unmeasurable, you look for substitute characteristics, or if you are lucky, a substitute characteristic, which correlates strongly. Then you measure that. Interventions can then be trialled and reasonable assumptions on those interventions’ success or failure can be made from the analysis of data. Society moves in some direction or another as a result.

Pretty simple stuff, but what would be a measurable substitute characteristic for Love? I guess we are looking for an indicator or a “Symptom of Love”.

Furthermore perhaps we are looking to build the technology to provide the interventions, measure the results, analyse the data, and rework the interventions where appropriate to maximise the love.

Perhaps if this helped us practice the Symptoms of Love we could and would, over time, generate genuine love.

Use the old “Fake it until you make it” technique of self improvement on a global scale.

Now if I just had such a thing……….I reckon I’d call it Kahatika.

The Decision

If you had a virus that if given to a patient, cured them, and once cured, would give that patient the ability to infect other sick people with that virus, hence curing them and so on until all sick people were cured; Would you start the ball rolling by giving that virus to the first willing patient?

What would your answer be if only patients with the capacity for compassion were cured and patients without this capacity for compassion died as a result of becoming infected?

“The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile Universe.” ~ Albert Einstein

Yet we still Trust

Having just written about a Crisis of Trust I must recognise that, as a society, we still trust.

The following TED talk I found reassuring. His observations provide partial reason for why my Plan to “Save the World” may just work.

Like every world changing idea now-a-days, mine too involves the internet to a very limited degree. More importantly it involves some aspects of Human behaviour Jonathan touches on.


Save the World
The Venn Diagram - What system impacts the most fundamentally on our World?

“Permit me to issue and control the money of a nation, and I care not who makes its laws.” ~ Mayer Anselm Rothschild (Banker)

What do we reform to give best bang for our buck?

Financial independence is something we all covet but very few enjoy. Money, however much we wish it not to be so, dictates much of our enjoyment of life. We wish to eat, it requires money. We want new clothes, it requires money. We’d like to travel, more money, and so on. Hence those who have control over the supply of money, are deemed by most individuals to have power and control. Banks, Governments and Companies are the groups which wield this power. Within these organisations, individuals make the day to day decisions which ultimately give or take away money from other individuals. Traditionally, these organisations tend to be organised in a hierarchy where the individuals at the top have the ability to make decisions over the supply of money to those individuals beneath them. The ability to hire and fire is the ultimate example of control of the money supply. As society’s requirement for access to money increases so, an individual’s feeling of control over their own lives diminishes. Entrenched fear of losing money supply is still the most dominant management system in play. There are many management systems which have been implemented to redress the control of money, and hence control over our own lives issue. Within business, Piecework Pay, Production Bonuses, Profit sharing, Gain sharing are all systems, with varying degrees of merit, which, whether by chance or design, promise to pass back a degree of control to an individual. Most of these systems attempt to design in fairness of compensation through the use of empirical data, manipulated by some algorithm. Generally the algorithm consists of logic that some form of consensus has deemed to be fair. More often than not, individuals within an organisation will know of, or perceive of, examples where the system has not produced a fair result, whatever the system.

What if we accepted that systems were sometimes not fair and created a compensation system that didn’t use “fair”, as a guide but instead relied on faith in group, and individual humanity?

What if we created a system which enhanced communication, exchanged ideas, and gauged feelings?

What if this system empowered all individuals within an organisation not just those who excel?

Wouldn’t that be “Good”?

  • I’m a Communist?
  • I’m a Greenie Wack job?
  • I’m a conspiracy theory Nut?
  • I want to bring down the free market?

I’m none of those, just a bloke with a plan to save the world.

The World Doesn’t need Saving?

A famous visionary Buckminster (Bucky) Fuller , as he neared the end of his life, suggested that perhaps the world had seen a turning point. He saw the event of man-powered flight across the English channel in 1979 as an inspirational example of “Doing more with Less” and that if, as a global people, we can continue to follow this principle in every thing we do the world is on a path of recovery.

Since his death in 1983 have we continued on that path? Perhaps we have. Have we bottomed out as far as negatively impacting on our planet and humanity? Perhaps the natural momentum of doing more with less will carry us to a peaceful, prosperous world where poverty has been eliminated. I don’t know. We certainly seem to have the technology, the tools, one would suspect the individual will to continue on the recovery path. Perhaps there is nothing to worry about.

Just in case this isn’t so, I feel it is my responsibility to create an action plan to ensure a path Bucky saw as having started, continues yielding the results he envisioned.

The following is an amusing Talk by Robert Wright doing his best to convince us that we are indeed on the right track. His brand of Optimism is best listened to with distance between you and razorblades. 🙂

If you are running short of time, skip to 14:40 minutes into the talk the last 3 or so minutes, and listen to what he has to say about “Launching a Moral Revolution”. Personally I am more optimistic than he is on this process. I guess that’s because I think I have invented a mechanism to make it happen. Pay special attention to what he has to say about the Intelligent pursuit of self-interest as this is somewhat related to how I intend to “save the world”.