About 13 years ago d and I made the passive aggressive decision to open ourselves up to the chance of procreating. I’m sure the reader can figure out the choice we made. Well the chance turned into a probability of 1 rather quickly.
Archive for the ‘decision theory’ Category
In “Tent City, Tent Tent City” we learn of the movement in Austin to create a roaming Tent City to inspire awareness and legislative change around ideas of homelessness. The tent city uprising piggy backed a little on the occupy Austin movement due to the fact that the laws used to restrict occupy Austin activities were the same laws preventing homeless people from squatting in public places.
I wasn’t fully aware of this reality because I was so caught up in the basic ideas being reported about occupy. I was more focused on the 1% vs. 99% message. Which in reflection isn’t even close to the more fundamental problem of property ownership.
What is property? What in the world are these empty parks and buildings and old alleys? All these public spaces and abandoned privately owned spaces? These are opportunities for the “owners” of these spaces to extract revenue. And the essay makes a powerful point in that the revenue increases the more people are kept on the move. The key to property value isn’t in having people inhabit it! It’s actually about the potential to inhabit! Creating desire to inhabit is what we call development! As long as people inhabit a space one can’t be improving it and selling it to others.
Ultimately the tent city movement fizzled for a variety of reasons. The participants made, in my opinion, a wise choice in disbanding the movement once a point a been made and the media started to get weird.
This issue of laws against homelessness – you can’t occupy public spaces in some cities (see this great report for overviews) – and that of property as something are far too big to be tackled in one movement. Property ownership is the basis of civilization. Our entire world is drawn into nations, states, cities, zones, personal real estate. Ours is a history of conquest over those who occupy property we want to claim as our own. This history will not be easily overthrown.
Though I do believe as we move into a more predominantly digital existence the idea of property ownership will erode. I don’t see a short term end to property ownership because even the digital requires physical resources. The difference though between the past and the digital future is that it is much more difficult to lay claim to digital property because it is so easily reproduced and modified and shared and expanded. The idea of protecting intellectual property is already cracking for mostly practical reasons – it’s not physically possible to do so, even my offensive measures. Beyond the digital I wonder how comfortable younger generations are getting with “renting” or “sharing” property. (stats on rent/own in housing and some rent/own survey here)
The essay closes with a thought that perhaps it’s best to “keep on the move” as a means of experimentation towards a better world order. It’s hard to argue with the idea of experimenting with ways of living that don’t include property ownership is probably a worthwhile exercise. The way we do things currently – increasing income gaps, more punitive laws against homelessness, climate change – seems hardly sustainable for ANY way of living for lots of people.
Impasses Questions at the end of the essay responses follow.
Question 1: “How does the noting of profit involving bodies being set in motion intertwine with the idea that camps in order to survive, must be on the move? Is this tactic playing into the profit-based motion or is it a form of subversion, a way out? Would standing ground and defending a camp be a resistant tactic, and in what capacity, to what degree?”
It’s all about the type of motion that’s inspired. The intent to own a home or own a different home is what drives property valuation. Simply being on the move from camp to camp doesn’t necessarily do that. Though if we were in a fight for camps in more opportune places for survival the camps would be competing for space and thus there would be an opportunity to profit off of offering campers better places to camp. The fact is this isn’t a new problem in the world. It’s always been a competition for resources. What’s changed is that people abide by various laws and/or give into various trade offs for survival. One of those trade offs is going with the flow in society vs. subverting it. Camping in places where it’s legally not ok to camp is subversive. It is resistant and could be useful. I believe the Occupy movement made a good case for taking over spaces that people in power frequent can stir a discussion that might just lead to change.
Question 2: “How do we move from homeless camps being a method of survival to a method of offensive resistance? Are the participants looking to just find a more comfortable way to live or a new way of living?”
I don’t know if there’s any relevant response to this. The later part strikes me as nonsensical. In either case it’s a new way of living. And in the former, EVERYTHING WE DO IS A METHOD OF SURVIVAL. all of it, even resistance to existing power structures.
UPDATE: I missed SWs blog post. Brilliant!
Early versions of this approach go back nearly 50 years, to the first phase of artificial intelligence research. And incremental progress has been made—notably as tracked for the past 20 years in the annual TREC (Text Retrieval Conference) question answering competition. IBM’s Jeopardy system is very much in this tradition—though with more sophisticated systems engineering, and with special features aimed at the particular (complex) task of competing on Jeopardy.
Wolfram|Alpha is a completely different kind of thing—something much more radical, based on a quite different paradigm. The key point is that Wolfram|Alpha is not dealing with documents, or anything derived from them. Instead, it is dealing directly with raw, precise, computable knowledge. And what’s inside it is not statistical representations of text, but actual representations of knowledge.
The first blush answer would be: NO.
The linguistics are simply not there yet.
However, if Jeopardy questions were more “computational” vs. linguistic and fact retrivial the answer might be: YES.
Wolfram|Alpha has the raw power to do it, but it lacks the data and linguistic system to do it.
IBM was clever to combine the history of Jeopardy questions with tons of documents. It’s similar, but not the same as, common sense engine from Cyc. It’s not fully computational knowledge. It’s semantic. It’s cleverness comes from the depth of the question training set and the document training set.
It would breakdown quickly if it were seeing questions about facts that had never been printed in a document before. An example would be “How far away will the moon be tomorrow?”
Wolfram|Alpha can answer that! Now, what’s challenging is that there is a much bigger universe of questions that have never been asked than those that have! So Wolfram|Alpha already has far more knowledge. However, its linguistics are not strong enough to clearly demonstrate that AND it will probably never catch up! Because Wolfram|Alpha can answer questions that have never been asked so people will always ask it questions that will trip it up… they will always push the linguistics.
In the end, a combination of Watson, Wolfram|Alpha and Cyc could be very fun indeed!
Perhaps we should hack that up?
The 5th in a 5-Part Series…
To start, the goal is not to be an ‘elite’ athlete…
(5) Your actions are the consequences of – and an impetus for – action
When a golfer golfs, there is an intention that is enacted by the hitter when the club makes contact with the ball. To the frustration of all levels of golfers, it is not directly related to the trajectory of the ball. Such is it for a lot of business as well. Intention only ‘seems’ related to action… but that is an illusion. Cognitive gymnastics are NOT related to the physics involved in action. Intention is inferred, and the physics of the ball, in this case, is tangibly real. A history of training practice, trial and error, and mirror neurons interacting with consequences has guided the body to perform. As an elite athlete has said over and over,
It’s not the racquet. It’s not the shoes. It’s not the ball, the court or the noise. It’s the mechanics and muscle memory – that’s means ‘me’.”
The golfer is left with any delta between their inferences and their behavior to rationalize his or her actions. Good or bad results (both relative terms) contribute to adjustments that confirm or frustrate the golfer’s next set of actions. Don’t make adjustment, don’t whine about the shots you take. Same for business, isn’t it!
When you want something in business life or in sport, recognize that successive approximations is the mode… the adaptation, the mobility, that exists to allow you to get closer to your goals or escape from a not-so-good conditions. It is NEVER EVER about some binary event. IT IS about hundreds of thousands of intricate, small tacitly known events leading up to some specific execution of an action. Business success is NEVER EVER about making ‘THE deal.’ IT IS about the millions of tacitly known events that put one in position to execute some specific actions you are focused on.
Isn’t competition great!
To start, the goal is not to be an ‘elite’ athlete…
Fourth in a 5-Part Series for http://www.SocialMode.com
(1) Sports, like businesses or social movements have goals and costs.
(2) The best way to advance is through the “Do”.
(3) Focus on long-term benefits as well as short-term gains
(4) It is not ‘automaticity’ per se that leads to high proficiency.
“Automaticity” is the perception that someone is in the ‘flow”; they make what they are involved in look automatic.
Competitors train to do stuff right; winners train so they can’t do it wrong.
In business and in sport the level of skill at which automaticity is attained is constantly changing. When the rate of that change slows too much, in sport and in business, things start to get dicey.
Most people never develop beyond their hobby levels of expertise because that is the level at which they are able to do things ‘automatically’. We’ve all seen those people in business. We’ve also seen them in different sports. Their comfort level is large and ever present.
For club golfers, swimmers or competitive tennis players, their levels of expertise for ‘doing stuff right’ in their sport are sub-par, as it were. To truly excel, there is always some part [life, sport, relationships] that is not automatic yet that needs attention.
When you raise the bar in each component area, you’ll move from an automatic state (large comfort zone) to a non-automatic state (‘zero’ comfort zone). Some can’t hack the loss of comfort. Others find it’s OK to have small comfort zones because you are betting they are only temporary.
It becomes a balancing act between that automaticity important in the “now” is the elite level to be reached you were working toward. One elite athlete I know said to me,
“The day I take the elevator rather than walk up ten floors is the day I’ll have decided to give up being World Champion.”
So most of us settle short of an elite status (business /sport); for club performance, for less, for sub-par. Thus, we rationalize not reaching our highest potentials in one area when we come to value our current level, or “other” events or circumstances. That too is OK because you know what you are doing. That is life.
When we settle in business, others may identify it as ‘lost opportunity costs” and that may not be OK. But know that the number of mountains to climb – literally and figuratively – are enormous and, clearly, some are more fun to climb than others.
You get to decide.