16 March, 2015

Speciation pressures come in two interacting forms, spacial and cultural separation.

"But being on the way to becoming a new species isn’t the same thing as actually speciating. Actual speciation without isolation is quite rare, and even the Santa Cruz Island jays have not actually speciated, and may never even do so. But the implications for long-held evolutionary principles are intriguing. Darwin’s famous Galapagos finches certainly prove that isolation leads to speciation, but now it may be that isolation isn’t always necessary to get species to diverge."
Two things,
1) The theory of evolution never states what the parameters of "separation" are, it simply demonstrated that strict spacial separations do lead isolated populations to local adaptations and eventually speciation over time. This is a separate thing however from saying that to have speciation one must have *strict spacial separation*. This is key because....
2)There is one other way where by populations can become separated. What is it? Culturally. This would include in other animals specialization within a given strata like the various beak shapes of these birds...in this case adaptations sufficient to exploit the available food sources optimally but not sufficient to induce true speciation ...at least as measured by the *ability* for the birds to mate and create viable progeny...but with culture some times you don't want to do that with a mate that is not appealing to you.
We actually as a species are a very clear example of this at any given moment of time...human beings are a single species but in the past our ancestors via separation and isolation have evolved into divergent lines of homonids...from the ancient homo erectus populations that left Africa for the first time around 2 million years ago to the homo neanderthals that evolved from those erectus to later radiations of early homo sapiens and then homo sapiens...which over a very short period of relative time were able to populate pretty much every planetary niche and quickly begin cultural and physical adaptation to those regimes while still maintaining genetic reproductive capability.
Yet when we come together our cultural elements...our languages our physical distinctions of appearance place strong vectors of conformance to remain in group reproducing despite our very close physical /spacial proximity in our large cities. It's not at all a surprise that we do this, or why more or less we tend to mate along phenotype alignment but that's exactly what we are seeing with these birds.
Over a longer time of observation this pattern of course goes away as culture melts together and phenotypes munge together as individuals mate across the gap to create hybrid populations (which tend to be more fit in a mixed environment)...so it would seem that though physical separation is sufficient to create and maintain phenotypic isolation it is not necessary...as such isolation seems to be a natural transition period that may persist briefly before hybridization occurs OR before true physical isolation occurs..or both.
When mammals and birds and Cetaceans evolved culture it began to exert an interesting feedback on what formerly was a purely spacial separation induced pressure toward speciation....once animal brains got smart enough to *choose not to pay attention to spacial separation* all sorts of crossing events became possible and non speciation in this case of birds stands as a single snapshot in a dynamic that is at various states across flora and fauna.
So really what we have here is a refined look at how evolution proceeds, one that includes the nuance of cultural feedback induced separation with or without spacial isolation as a prerequisite state.

13 March, 2015

Google apes Wikipedia, to introduce veracity ranking to search

In a blog post from 2008, I introduced the idea of incremental truth following that is the secret sauce behind why wikipedia works as a source of reliable information for many subjects despite having a generally unrestricted editing model for new articles by any possible authors.

Over the years people have variably misunderstood the power of this mechanism and as time has gone by the relative approach to truth that has been clear to see with various types of politically or religiously focused topics is clear. For such articles wikipedia had found that "comment wars "would break out as clever but subjectively based arguments were used to change articles in subtle or gross ways producing articles that appeared to muddle down the historical or empirical facts to long paragraphs of highly conditional statements with little definite statements of veracity.

Moreover these highly active articles were continuously subject to comment bombing of various types as vandals holding opposing positions continued to random strike from anonymous accounts. Wikipedia implemented new features that restricted article editing to named users, closed some articles down to editing only to users vetted by the community as experts in given areas (still contentious) and took actions to ban users and IP's that continued to post edits that were considered vandalism.

Unfortunately the still remaining element of subjectivity that remained in determining who would be able to edit various articles poses a force toward some articles becoming controlled by small groups of colluding and over zealous posters on a given subject who may in fact not have the full description of truths of a given subject in their goal set.

Still despite this, wikipedia articles across many areas of technical back ground has become a reasonable quality first source for access to academic references to content within those sources that is extremely useful for mature articles (those with long posting histories).

Yet the reliance on human actors and the variably long path to maturity stands as problems. Enter Google and rumors that they are going to be performing a first big update to the functionality of page rank since it's invention by Page and Brin in that paper of theirs from 1996.

To effect a major positive shift to the quality of information that people are given when a search is performed at google, the algorithm is being tweaked to also sample veracity of content sources in generating the rankings and display of content listings as well as link popularity. This would allow the selecting of not just the loudest voices speaking on a given subject from the din of linked sources but rather the loudest voice that has the most verified set of objective facts supporting it.

They are apparently doing this by leveraging a data base of facts that they have been collecting called the "knowledge vault". This is a radical change in their approach that will now bias for the truthfulness of a link reference over it's popularity, it's going to take some clever data science to minimize errors but as popularity ranking did the algorithm will get better over time.

Technology applied this way is exactly the type of potentially socially revolutionary application that could improve the state of available general human knowledge by preventing entrenchment of a pathology of ideologies that otherwise would keep reinforcing themselves despite the preponderance of evidence (facts) against the veracity of any of their planks.

I've written several posts on my view that access to information via the web and mobile device platforms is critically important to help reduce ignorance and xenophobia in the world...and to the degree that people have access to truthful sources this statement is correct but the ranking of search results up to now has biased for popularity over veracity which only cements ideology as mentioned before with this seemingly little act Google may accelerate a global conversion of people being informed more by what is true than by what they want to be true.

This is a potentially big deal, I am very curious to see how this change will effect the awareness of true things over say the next decade, it could easily be the one thing that Google does that has greatest impact ironically....more than any of the other "moon shot" initiatives they've put forward...and that would be a really good thing for humanity.




04 March, 2015

Salience driven novelty seeking, a hypothesis for why time seems to speed as you age.

In 2009 I mused in a Facebook post where a friend quipped if they were the only one who felt time was moving faster as they aged I responded.:

"the more you know, the less there is to find out, the less there is to find out the slower you learn new things, imagine a unit of learning as perceived by you being constant as time goes by life surprises you less and what does happen is spaced out in your experience over longer periods of time, thus a given number of events (significant learning ones that bring new knowledge) is perceived to be spaced out as well and there you go, time contracting with age. 

Just a theory. ;)"

I later wrote a short blog article describing the theory but didn't further explore until now.

Since then, I've gone on to perform personal research in dynamic cognition and have proposed a formal theory of generalized dynamic cognition based on an idea I was realizing at the time I called "salience modulation" , my refined answer to the question below builds on what I described so succinctly in that early post, a possibility that takes into account some computational aspects to how we actually integrate new information into existing structures of learned information.

Assuming that our cognitive model of learning is one that is salience driven as I've posited in my salience theory of dynamic cognition and consciousness ( http://sent2null.blogspot.com/2013/11/salience-theory-of-dynamic-cognition.html )  then it makes sense that any learning process that builds knowledge trees will start from the basis of abstractions that get refined to more concrete representations of concepts and experiences in each dimension of sensory experience as evolved over time (basically the exploration tree becomes more dense with time as old concepts are refined in the nuance of variation they contain as sub categories...for example when you were a child "cat" was a generalized representation of all animals that you noticed tended to have small hands, sharp claws, almond eyes, long tails and were some what smaller than "dogs".

At that time this was sufficient resolution for you to identify a cat from a dog or a pig....but as you continued to learn about more types of animals you also noticed sub structure in the concept of Cat. You were told that a Tiger which was much bigger than a dog but shared the earlier attributes of cats was also a cat. So were Lions and Jaguars and Cougars...later still you learned that there are different breeds of cats in the home...the  first one you came across to define the type. There are short hair and long hair breeds, Russian Blue's , Siamese and so fourth....your brain began filling in these concepts...so what does this have to do with time dilation??

Well the process of breaking down generalized abstractions into lower level categories requires energy, building those sub trees takes up cognitive cycles as the concepts are being consumed and categorized relative to existing concepts. Novelty is the process of discovering that some incoming experience is a new one and making way to encode that into what ever dimensional tree it is found to be associated....I posit there must be some cognitive cost for this and that cost is NOT paid once similar to experienced concepts again enter ...our moments of most attentiveness to what is happening focus around these punctuated inputs of novelty...for novelty seeking is how we explore the experiential landscape efficiently in order to satisfy our salience requirements....without out it long gaps of temporal elapse can pass before we again experience novelty and as such....our temporal experience of the passing of time also lengthens. 

The psychological clock ticks not to a beat of some arbitrary time clock...like the counter in a computer system that sets the metronome of computations through registers and across buses but rather to a salience driven novelty clock that only cares to focus when things coming in seem new and that is determined by weather or not some previously stored experiences can be related to them....the more work required to build in the experience the more apparent time exists (as constructing is actively engaging the cognitive process to tie salience to the encoded bit of novel experience) the less work required to build the experience the less apparent elapsed time there exists as novelty is rarely being found. 

Sure outside your head we have persisted in creating arbitrary and regular ways to beat off time but Einstein showed quite clearly that these are all relative measures...and so it goes that our mind by seeking novelty models this relativity of the passage of time to a degree.

A related idea that I've written about just last month is the meaning of "play", we can all probably recall how much of our day was spent just playing when we were children...why have we lost the fire for play as adults? I posit that play is a key tool for enabling growing minds to knit together as many trees of relationships between experiences under salience driven action as possible. This refines our ability to dynamically identify , select and apply subsequent experiences and thus boost our survival odds in a varied environment. 


This is a very important lesson as many of us attempting to create dynamic cognition on non biological substrates must be aware that the rate of experiencing novelty between ourselves and our creations should in some way be aligned so that they do not experience our time as a boring hell especially if their cognitive process succeeds in becoming conscious as I assert it can should a salience driven cycle be employed in building the agent. 

27 February, 2015

The telepresent future: real estate re-imagined. Offices becoming Homes

8 years ago I wrote an email to a group of friends on the coming telepresent workforce, at the time 2006 there were no smart phones. The mobile internet was a dream still being built and mostly based on the old web 1.0 technologies rather than the emerging mobile web that would debut once the Iphone was released later that year.

My focus in that email was to explain why it was so important to harness the idea of a telepresent workforce, a workforce of agents working from where ever they felt most comfortable the chief reason being that when the mobile internet was fully built and the necessary secure communication infrastructure for business transactions to happen over it using distributed working agents the costs for maintaining human labor pools in offices would appear disproportionately large compared to the potential gains had by letting these workers work from their preferred locations.

Later I explained how once freed from location the next barrier would be to eliminate the temporal hegemony that existing knowledge workers , even those who are able to work from home must still be confined by. The 9 - 5 clock or what ever fixed interval of time that people are expected to be productive over....I saw this as absurd going back to 2003 when I started building the Action Oriented Workflow paradigm and in this 2006 email after having implemented the explicit workflow routing algorithm of AOW I was letting out a little bit of what the future I was building was going to make possible for the world.

An excerpt from the blog post in 2008 that compiled this email:

"All these factors when fully employed in the business world will mean a much lower need for physical office locations and workers AT those locations, which means cut costs on maintaining such properties, paying rent, paying utilities and hiring repair and maintenance folks. 

This means vast reductions in commuting workers and reduced electrical demand at least over small regions (you'll still increase it over the larger metropolitan area but larger areas tend to be serviced by multiple power grids, reducing the likelyhood of peak collapse for the collection.) 10 years ago the birth of the purely internet driven business inspired the concept of businesses mostly run online, this allowed the early players to rapidly become revenue competitive with their brick and mortar counter parts. 

However traditional brick and mortar businesses had not begun to move in the opposite direction (toward the internet model) the continued rise of the distributed internet business in the form of web services/SOA/ssl VPN driven initiatives will make the need for big office towers significantly reduced. Even as businesses grow in employees the need to provide physical locations for those employees will dwindle and I predict essentially disappear."
At the time, the focus was on the fact that the need for these physical locations for people to do work would disappear but what happens to all of these properties? What happens to hundreds of thousands of square feet of office space in large cities across the globe?

As companies radically reduce the property costs they maintain in order to keep people working in offices the building owners will have to find ways to continue to gain revenue from those properties. They will increasingly be forced to either raise prices on those companies that continue to lease from their buildings in order to stay afloat...which will only drive those companies faster into a telepresent mode by embracing AOW technology OR they can take all that space and re-design it so that people can actually live in these properties.

One only need look at down town areas of any large city to notice what happens to them after standard work hours, they become  ghost towns as people evacuate to their homes often in non urban centers further out....but an amazing gift of the telepresent transition to emancipated workers is the real estate owners will have to be adept at noticing the transition as companies break leases or cut lease duration contracts. This critical time of global down shifting in the commercial real estate market as a result of work force emancipation enabled by action oriented workflow technologies is inevitable.

It is already happening virtually as many companies that otherwise would shifted to buying offices once a certain number of employees have been reached are now remaining as disembodied corporate entities but still making large gains in revenue in their core businesses by harnessing their employees using telepresent technologies of the current paradigm....the non holistic variety that still remain orders of magnitude less efficient than action oriented workflow based systems to come.

So when is the time line for this real estate chaos period? I predict the transition will occur when AOW driven services continue to knock down verticals by reinventing them using the new paradigm as the underlying base. As the inventor of the technology I have some ideas on how this will proceed but other players are working on slivers of the problem and are enabling disruption in various industries at the moment though all those are still physically labor intensive for employees and as such less likely to gain major efficieny until those human labor elements are completely replaced by fully autonomous robotic ones...a period I don't see happening in those industries for 20 years.

As for the other industries, solutions to transform them from the current hegemony of time paradigm to a paradigm that allows people to maximize their value landscape while providing their capability on their own schedule rather than that of a given employer are planned in my road map to deploying services on top of the AgilEntity framework which is the first to implement an AOW implementation.

So ultimately the rate of transition will be coupled to the verticals that are identified for greatest potential growth should they be switched to an AOW driven base. I expect that much of this will take as well 20 years to play out at the least and so I don't think the real estate chaos will seem like chaos at first....as companies become more lean and require less physical space, commercial real estate will have to change the use of their spaces to accomodate human habitation and recover value from those properties.

In the long term this may recover for them far greater revenue in fact than the current paradigm as many office buildings going silent at night prevents them from being potential revenue draws for other sources of revenue for the building owner. Office buildings can be vertically integrated with amenities for living such as day care centers, dry cleaners, restaurants and shops within the former office towers....these could be paid for by fees levied to the new tenants. Also the space requirements for tenants and families would allow multiple points of extraction by providing services to tenants not unlike the cleaning services of hotels.

The smart real estate owners should be thinking about these ideas now as with the acceleration of the global economy from one where human physical labor requires presence to one where robot labor replaces human physical labor and human mental labor requires no presence re-purposing the vertical gold that even today remains mostly unused for half the day would be a huge advantage.

19 February, 2015

AOW and emancipated workforces: Knowledge workers have the edge in the coming economy.

A recent article highlights the fear and doubt surrounding  the emergence of technology facilitated market place services that directly connect working agents with worker seekers. Companies like Uber, Taskrabbit, Elance and for tasks..services like Amazon's mechanical Turk. It got me to finally sit down and explain why this fear is normal but also to describe why it doesn't mean that the "gig economy" as some have called it is not the end of fair compensation for human forms of labor.

So now in stark light the ideas of direct exchange market places facilitated with a thin layer of technology is being examined in the public eye...but this is not new to any of you if you've been reading my writings on the subject going back to my white paper on the action oriented workflow paradigm that generalizes a solution for routing work between direct agents authoring and executing it.


The gig economy,  falls into a tiny sliver of the jobs that such systems can be used in to make more efficient and because they involve the utilization of physical labor they stand out as particularly potentially exploitative of their workers ...but the reality is this so called exploitation comes at the gain of many freedoms.

The only reason that jobs that involve (currently) human physical labor that are shifted to these types of systems are seen as exploitative is because you are not a photon.

What do I mean by that?

Well in modern physics the statistical behavior of particles based on their fundamental attributes was explored by Einstein, Fermi, Dirac, Bose, Planck and others. As the field of particle physics emerged from the elaboration of quantum theory in the 20's these attributes came to class particles into two types, those that had mass (fermions)  and those that didn't (baryons). An electron has mass and thus obeys a type of statistics called Fermi-Dirac statistics....collections of them under standard temperature and pressure regimes obey what is called Pauli exclusion.


The idea that two different particles (with different defined by the fact that they do not have the same fundamental attributes) can not inhabit the same place at the same time...however, particles exist that do NOT obey Pauli exclusion....you're using them right now to read this article. Photons are under no restriction when it comes to how many you can pack in a space...in fact, in fiber technology we rely on this trait to allow multiple signals to be packed down a single fiber line using a technology called DWDM...but I digress...what does this have to do with human labor forces and the gig economy?

Well humans can only give their physical labor to one employer at a time, humans can only be in one place at a time...just like electrons (well pedantically this isn't exactly the case at the quantum level but bare with me here physicist friends) and so when tasked two different jobs they must prioritize or select between them.

Even within the gig economy there is variance in this, consider that the maid service mentioned in this article can only have a maid in one place or another, making it difficult for the maid as she needs to bare various transportation costs for her physical person to be present in the place of work.

Yet another gig economy company also being given lots of press , Uber has a different efficiency profile for the workers....an Uber driver simply drives for Uber on their own time and because they are already in their own car it becomes efficient for them to move from place to place completing pickups addressed to them via the services technology but there is nothing stopping them from doing the exact same thing at the same time for Lyft or any other ride service that promises to bring them a market of people looking to get a pick up.

So Uber for drivers provides a greater level of efficiency for the worker than the maid service does for maids. However it is only in comparison to the old paradigm (where these choices did not at all exist for taxi drivers or maids) that we see that the expansion of the choice of options for workers is a very good thing.

Those maids who find they can deal with the transportation costs of getting to and from work locations dispatched to them by the service will opt into it....others will continue to work for private services. Ditto with Uber and cabs....some people will continue to work for municipal limosine commissions, others will find great freedom in being able to work on their own time and for as many dispatchers as they wish.

How action routing or work routing technologies benefit the transaction will vary depending on how physical the type of labor being transacted happens to be. 

I described this years ago in my AOW related articles but repeat what I realized then here, as technology in the form of machine learning and robotics continues to eat away all remaining physical labor jobs....humans MUST become knowledge workers and in the knowledge work economy to come the efficiency of the gig economy goes through the roof for two reasons.

1) The costs of transporting self to work ...disappear, companies can then cut the fat of infrastructure they formerly had to maintain people as temporary cows in terms of buildings, offices, light bills, taxes...etc.

2) The ability to meter and measure who is providing optimal work for given needs will lead to learning systems that build up a knowledge of preferred workers and route that work to them directly. This is precisely what the ADA (action delta assessment) algorithm does in AOW.

So in the current paradigm of temporal hegemony over pools of physical laborers I felt most important, people need to retool themselves for knowledge work. I wrote about this privately in an email to friends in 2006 (after I'd already built the solution that would be used by a world of emancipated knowledge workers) and transcribed that letter in an introductory post to my blog in 2008.


The next step for existing businesses though is to leverage AOW systems to emancipate their EXISTING work force by illuminating their action flows and using ADA to efficiently route through increasingly knowledge based workers no longer needing an office to work.

This allows those employers to dramatically cut infrastructure costs while still paying salaries to existing workers, while also finding the optimal workers. For those who are laid off (and that is inevitable) the ability to redeploy oneself virtually to new employees is trivial...and so the appearance of exploitation here is far diminished relative to physical labor markets made more efficient using similar technologies.

This is why in my current efforts to build a startup on the framework that implements AOW I am focusing on knowledge work verticals first over physical labor verticals and existing companies with their existing employee pools rather than contractor heavy industries.

I remain convinced that the vision of a globally emancipated workforce that I had in 2003 and built into existence in the form of the AgilEntity framework that implements the AOW paradigm will be the dominant means of human system interaction within  the next 25 years. Yes, the first efforts ...deployed to physical labor verticals are not as efficient as they rely on human physical labor but the robots are coming and those will go...and hopping to knowledge work, though terrifying for many actually harbors the greater chance of freedom from the hegemony of time that physical labor and routing has over most of our lives.

I prepared a 30 slide deck for easy digesting of all of these concepts and how the AOW/ADA paradigm leads to an emancipated future, given the density of the concepts and the misunderstandings expressed in articles like this one on the types of efficiency that are possible when marketplaces are made more efficient it is an eye opener for those who are curious about the larger picture.


I've also compiled for those with a weekend to read them all, a list of the AOW and workforce emancipation related posts at my blog. This gives the 10,000 foot to 2 inch view of my inspiration to discover the action landscape and my desire to ensure all human beings navigate it in the future.


18 February, 2015

Action Oriented Workflows, meritocracy built bottom up.

A recent article by Will Gossin had this very prescient quote:

In the knowledge-economy, reliable performance evaluations became insanely difficult. Among tech companies, Google’s People Ops team has been working very hard on this. And I know there will be HR consultants who say they can do it. But I challenge them to show how much variance in performance they can explain. More specifically: How certain are they that any of the hundreds of candidates who were passed over could not have outperformed the candidate they did hire? Imagine the kind of data we would need to claim that. Right now, it’s impossible. And without it, a true meritocracy will elude us.
So if organizations can’t use objective evaluation, how do they make hiring decisions? I believe that all job applications and interviews can best be described as an act of storytelling.
I think that focusing the question of diversity and objective evaluations of employee or worker capability on storytelling is a key insight. In my work of the last dozen years discovering and building the Action Oriented Workflow (AOW) paradigm and of the last couple of years identifying a key vertical industry to redesign using the paradigm in the form of a change to recruiting. Storytelling or rather identifying the story that a given employer is looking for has been the key.
Currently, organizations employ teams of usually over taxed HR workers to engage a candidate soup of people who present their availability for employment in several ways. The standard fair find out of a companies job availability from job posting boards and cold calls from direct hire recruiters, more crafty job seekers go directly to company pages and take time to upload their resumes and fire off opening letters and others find ways to identify key people in the organization and directly contact them. All these approaches are means of getting through the barrier of communication that blocks a candidate from a potential hiring manager before even the relaying of a story of interest can be described.
It is in this latter task though that the challenge multiplies. Hiring managers are usually too busy to evaluate deeply the true ability of a given candidate, they are also prone to use subjective evaluations to rule out or in people based on apparent personality schisms that may exist between them but that may not exist should the employee be hired and set as part of a team of fellow employees. This is where the problem with most hiring lies I posit.
Currently I am building a startup called WorkNetz that leverages the previously mentioned AOW technology to solve this problem by uniquely capturing the technical and cultural fit requirements of the organization by sampling the storytelling patterns of not just the hiring manager but of all the employees of a company. This would then be used as a template to enable efficient query of any candidate without the time consuming and often sequential process of existing HR hiring processes. I call this new direct form of hiring crowd vetting.
Moreover it enables an automated refinement of the evaluation criteria for any given candidate that is distilled from a holistic analysis of as many of the organizations candidates as possible. The statement by Will :

Imagine the kind of data we would need to claim that. Right now, it’s impossible. And without it, a true meritocracy will elude us.
:is answered by this technique. The gathering of the detailed information of a companies culture as assessed by its employees directly enables vetting of candidates and eliminates the waste and efficiency of traditional processes…more over the storytelling is implicit in the filtering process that candidates engage when they vet themselves into an organization rather than be shoe horned into an organization via the careful shaping that would otherwise be done either by third party recruiters purportedly working on their behalf or if they are lucky to get an audience with a hiring manager or key player, their own gumption.
The proper sampling of a companies DNA in this way allows a much more accurate assessment of fitness between candidates and the organization while reducing dramatically the work load of hiring departments *even as the company scales*, in fact with such a system…scaling is good for more efficient hiring as more of the company wide culture is sampled into the evaluation process.
Further, having access to the vetting data allows a new way of stream lining the physical interviews that eventually result once the crowd vetting process is complete. The particular individuals involved in providing cultural and technical test criteria can be called into the process based on determination of their availability via other means. As well the team or departmental levels can provide constraints on the individuals roped into the interview process. Not only would the system first signal to the outside world the need for a candidate by advertising new roles but it will also critically sub sample the pool of employees on the vetting side of the equation who would be more likely to properly evaluate the need of a given candidate once initial vetting criteria have been achieved, thus turning face to face interviews into little more than sanity checking exercises followed by the deliver of an offer.
On the organizations side, The novel AOW algorithm enables this process of cultural and technical DNA sampling to engage in a distributed and collaborative fashion that distributes the work load otherwise required on the part of HR alone while also providing incentives for participation to those employees who participate. The birth of a better meritocracy during the hiring process, one that his shaped to the fitness needs of the organization necessarily naturally emerges from this process on both sides of the transaction. The candidates vetting themselves into the organization are maximally randomized across gender, ethnicity, national origin and fitness in technical and cultural needs and the existing employees engaging in the crowd question process are also sorted based on their engagement of the process achieving a hiring nirvana not yet seen.
The recruiting service is still under construction but an idea of the much bigger problem that the Action Oriented Paradigm was invented to solve of :
Holistically, Surfacing, Metering,
Routing and Committing all your
business actions.
can be understood by viewing this online presentation.
The focus on recruiting is only the low hanging fruit on the tree of possibility that WorkNetz is set to harvest. The addition of autonomous work routing capabilities allows a new type of business process discovery, sampling and refinement to happen with minimal human input in the construction of the workflows. WorkNetz will thus serve as a critical stop gap to the haphazard application of automation to the needs of industry absent an embrace of the potential of the rising sea of knowledge workers looking to efficiently dispense their skills and maximize their inherent value. Meritocracy metered and delivered being the end goal for all vertical industries, Uber for everything.

02 February, 2015

Dynamic Cognition, on the meaning of play.

Since the rise of the social network in the last 10 years an interesting concentration and variety of human interactions have been enabled on the fluid and instant media of the social sphere. This media have allowed people to build and cross pollinate their existing social graphs with other people located in disparate regions of the world but also located in disparate cultural and social spaces. The access to all forms of information and the sharing of content related to that information is allowing us to present to each other novel truths that otherwise would not be within our radar and thus would not be available to expand the perspective we have of not just our friends but also of the ideas and truths being presented in the content they share.

Thus in a very real way we stand to be subject to a greater ability to learn about things in the world outside our local bubbles and that I posit is a net good. In several articles in the past I've talked about the powerful glue that social networks potentially harbor for closing the gap of "the other" on a global basis and how that tendency may very well be the perfect inoculation to our otherwise stubborn tendency to demonize that which we don't understand or are not aware of, to build empathy between us.

In other postings I've written about the necessity of mastering multiple mountains and mastering the meta in order to attune ourselves intimately to the reasons others have for presenting information as well as to align ourselves with the cognitive atoms of abstraction that they utilize in order to conceive and relay information to others.

Content presented through the social systems we now have has opened our eyes to analysis of the interactions of other humans in the ways mentioned previously but also, by showing us the interaction of non human animals has also allowed us to see another side of life...or rather, to more clearly see the humanity that exists in other forms of life entirely. This is so because now more than ever via the presentation of video clips on youtube, vine and Facebook and Google+ we dramatically increase our visibility into the actions being performed by our non speaking planet mates and some of  us are learning brand new things about animal interactions with one another, in particular we are seeing how play is intimately tying us in a bond of familiarity with non human mammals, avians and even some reptiles. Eyes are being opened to the complex mind states of our feathered and furry friends by having these examples of their interactions injected into the view of people who otherwise would probably not be privy to the existence of the behaviors.

Behold, a snow surfing crow:

For reasons previously described I think this is a hugely important event and one which will only strengthen our bond with other living things, an outcome I posit must be enabled if we are to avoid some sort of human induced catastrophe on the part of humans who are not as attuned to the humanity in our fellow animals as we are as a result of our seeing the content of animal interactions that social networks make possible.

Play fuels the mind

One of my heroes Albert Einstein often spoke on the power of play in cognitive pursuits to allow the triggering of new insights and expand understanding. He wrote:

"Play is the highest form of research."

: A quote which stands out for a few reasons to me, first he describes it as research , an investigation of possibilities in a given sector of experiences. This doesn't isolate only cognitive pursuits however...research is conducted by a dancer exploring movements on the dance floor, a football player catching balls in the field and a bird testing the lift capability of it's feathered wings. So play is indeed in the same category as research but what then distinguishes play from research if they are not in fact the same exact thing? I assert that distinguishing factor is salience. How do we feel about our results as we engage in this cognitive or physical research called play.

Thus I assert that Play = Salience + Research

Where salience is the combined set of emotional and autonomic success cues that our bodies and brains reward us with when our research has achieved a desired goal during the course of play. For example, let's consider how while practicing on a piano, the initial frustrations derive from attempting and failing to achieve certain movements with the correct precision and timing...as our brains map the correct physical actions to the desired outcome our bodies and brains tie salience rewards to those movements. In our bodies the distributed network that is our physical embodiment of intelligence strengthen networks of response across our fingers, hands and upper arms...allowing us to cascade trigger the "trained" responses necessary to emerge the over all correct sequence while playing a given piece of music.

The efficiency of this process enabled by abstractions across these networks that allow them to be triggered at amazing speed. Ultimately playing back a piece we've been practicing is not an act of just doing it is an act of remembering and coupled with the positive factors that our bodies produced to keep us on task , to tell us "this is how it should be" we re-experience the joy of success we originally had while playing.

Play drives the mind and builds the self

In the brain these positive factors are the neurotransmitters that flow our brains and our released precisely to indicate when things are either going right or wrong. The hypothesis of the salience theory is that these low level chemical flows define the basis of orthogonal drive factors and from these drive factors emerge the importance measures that tell us when some action should or should not be taken as judged by comparison of an incoming sensation (be it visual or auditory or gustatory etc) as evaluated against some stored memory in the same sensation dimension that is judged to have a similar pattern. It is through millions of these comparison events that we retune our neural networks across all our sensory dimensions and this process requires great deals of training.....that training is what we call play.

The beauty of this process is that not only does it enable us under the guidance of these low level simple import factors emerge the ability to learn, to research by doing or thinking ...where "doing" is tasting, smelling, seeing, touching, hearing and what ever other senses we may possess but it inherently ties those activities to experiencing which itself are the rewards or punishments that the salience sub system labels our "play" outcomes as continuously.

Second to this but likely more important is that the cognitive cycle is moved by this process, I assert that every thought you have is driven in this way and the sequence of evaluations of these mini moments of play in every dimensional context of our experience is what makes us conscious. Thus consciousness is an indirect result of what happens when low level chemical signals are given out as rewards or punishments as we "research" comparisons between incoming sensation and previously stored memory across all the areas in which we are able to sample the world. This cycle being one performed as meaningfully by rats as by cats, as intently by a new born fawn as by a wolf or bird or any other animal.

So here we are on the social web privy to all forms of content recording the play states of not just other people in remote cultures but also of other animals, more able to see the experiences of other animals play out, to witness the evolution of their cognitive processes and the similarity of those processes at the deepest level to our own, in this recognition building empathy to the life experiences of these fellow thinkers that hopefully will bring us closer to a recognition of our obligation to their experiences in our personal relationships with our pets and other animals but in the distal relationship we all share on this planet as shared life citizens, to me this stands as a most beautiful truth enabled by social media, one that we need more and more people to harness as we are the stewards of this planet of life at play.