19 April, 2015

The end of the Hegemony of time, how the AOW paradigm allows us to unlock and present our creative potential.

This article makes the case that brainstorming is an ineffective means of inspiring creativity or innovation. It is yet more evidence to support the dominant reasons behind my inventing the Action Oriented Workflow (AOW) paradigm. A quote from the article above confirms what drove my intuition:

Claims about the success of brainstorming rest on easily tested assumptions. One assumption is that groups produce more ideas than individuals. Researchers in Minnesota tested this with scientists and advertising executives from the 3M Company. Half the subjects worked in groups of four. The other half worked alone, and then their results were randomly combined as if they had worked in a group, with duplicate ideas counted only once. In every case, four people working individually generated between 30 to 40 percent more ideas than four people working in a group. Their results were of a higher quality, too: independent judges assessed the work and found that the individuals produced better ideas than the groups.

One of the guiding hypothesis for my invention of the action oriented workflow paradigm was the insight that ultimately people are not their most creative when they are saddled with any kind of pressure to perform, it is true that many seem to be less troubled by various stresses under the need to perform but that is not the same as saying that they are unbothered...just better able to deal with them than others.

The ideal performance environment for the generation of creativity or performance of a type desired is actually thus one of ultimate peace.

In business, pressure looms like a giant across multiple levels. Employers are under pressure to perform their daily or monthly acts to achieve some (usually arbitrary) company , department or division goal. Managers are double pressured by possible dissension in the ranks of those they manage or pressure from  upper management. The ability for people to optimally create or perform is compromised by default.

The common practice of using gatherings of people to discover solutions to existing problems mixes together the sources of social pressure and coupled with cost and time constraints leads to short cuts to completion that otherwise would not be taken and by being taken only lead to the slow build up of increasingly inefficient processes that ultimately fail as addressing a companies given market while leading to workers who are over taxed, over stressed and incapable of giving their best work.

I saw in 2003 when I started building the code for AOW that leveraging the potential ability for people to be most creative when they were at peace would lead to a potential revolution in how companies recruit work from their employee base...more over I saw it as a tool that could potentially help them recruit work from any potential provider of that work...so long as a degree of confidence in their competence could be determined...but how to do this automatically?

Realizing that decoupling work or action execution from executing agent was the key, coupled with a large volume of potential performers ...the tyranny of large numbers would actually be inverted ...the more potential agents the more likely that any given action can be done by some one both willing and competent at performing it.

By 2005 this "explicit" workflow version of AOW was completed...it wasn't until 2011 that I would extend it to allow an "implicit" workflow...which would gather historical data of action performance from agents and use that to predictively route future actions to agents discovered in real time. This is done using a statistical learning approach that I codified into the term action delta assessment or ADA.

Together AOW and ADA present a brand new way of thinking about harnessing the work potential of people by enabling them to be emancipated of most of the traditional pressures of performance indicated above. The hegemony of time now broken an "emancipated workforce" could not provide continuous quality in their performance as requested from a global pool of potential but not necessarily "on call" workers.

In the years since I've been talking about this technology more openly...others have voiced similar views on the future of work. I recently read of the work of a British creator of a system that tries to approach AOW but doesn't quite hit the mark as it lacks the critical work routing elements, as the deployment of technology continues to benefit the rentiers and upper classes already flush with cash the need for a way to leverage the power of knowledge in free labor pools will continue to rise and AOW enabled systems will become the dominant ones. The simultaneous realization of these ideas by other technologists is a  comfort to the value that is inherent in the approach.

People want to work across their value landscapes, to maximize their inherent values ability to derive compensation...and on their own schedules...yesterday I did art, today I write code...tomorrow I build a pc...the optimal system would be one that can find my desire to work when I am most willing to commit some action from my set of skills....it is by dynamically harnessing this truth over all available workers...that we simultaneously improve the efficiency of companies and the people they employ. AOW as implemented in AgilEntity​ is that system. I'm still evangelizing my solution but find solace in the direction of the future with more and more people stumbling into what I saw as clear as day a dozen years ago and started building the future I wanted to live in, that future is now.


14 April, 2015

Commercial Drone future, why the skies will not fall.

So the other day a few Luddites opined in one of my Facebook threads that they felt that the upcoming drone revolution would not be practical in cities. This short video shows exactly why they are wrong:


As a technologist who has built complex distributed system I had to chuckle at the doubts being described. People who don't work in technology have no clue of the large reduction of complexity and errors that attends having a good design. Consider the internet we are using...designed to ensure that our communications find their way to the desired destination...even with constant breaks in the communication channel across the internet...magic ? No, good design, expected packet loss and routing via  tcp/ip , udp at the low level through routers and switches and what seems like a hopeless problem is routinely done trillions of time per second across the whole globe.

The video above demonstrates in a few seconds why those Luddites are wrong, consider first that planes today are mostly human driven still...and thus prone to the machinations of humans as well as their errors. Then consider the incredible density of flights...over a short 7 hour span with zero failures.

Now make them all robots and you can get even more dense while not increasing the failure rate at all since unless a systemic problem asserts (a nightmare scenario Luddites like to mention with no real reason to assert it other than playing "what if") they'll just continue to fly getting from place to place...just like the packets being routed variably around the internet to convey this message to you. Now the analogy is not exact since the internet in fact does factor in "dropped" packets and a real route system can't exactly do that since material costs are finite unlike information being transmitted electronically which can be regenerated if it doesn't reach it's destination but good design will virtually eliminate the equivalent of "dropped" packets in dense areas.


I've explained variably in my responses to these Luddites but here's the meat of it.

1) Once Commercial Drones are given multiple ways to sense their environments (Intel is releasing a chip set that allows cheap 3D sensing of environments) they'll be easy to build so that they can fly autonomously and engage natural collision avoidance heuristics.

2) Once enabled with communication radios they can provide predictive data to nearby drones allowing yet another reduction in the possibility of collisions by adjusting courses from further off to avoid them...even while navigating in close proximity to near by drones.

3) Drones should be designed with redundant rotors...taking out a rotor on a drone should not make it catastrophically fail (fall from the sky). Good design will assume a rotor can die at any time and the drone can then initiate an emergency redirect to ground, ideally at known land zones for drones that experience such failures.

4) Drone rotor power in my design would be independent, if using a battery the battery system would take 4 independent cells, each feeding independent circuits to the rotors and thus preventing a catastrophic failure of any one battery from bringing down the entire drone.

5) Delivery logistics to final destinations in apartment buildings will be handled by simply having packages delivered to the roof of such buildings or designated delivery platforms placed out side windows or common areas for buildings. Surveillance cameras will continue to be widely deployed and will be far smarter than today, so fears of theft are again more fear than fact.

:All of these are base constraints that the lucky engineers working on building commercial drone delivery at Amazon and other companies would be wise to put into practice if they are to avoid the Luddite fears of drones falling from the sky mentioned above.

Looking at this chart of humans driving air planes over a 7 hour period and considering the difference in susceptibility to errors that automated systems are compared to humans..makes it pretty clear to me that these folks are wrong.

I made a wager that 10 years from now we'll see a large US city with some level of commercial drone deliveries happening. I stand by that statement.

07 April, 2015


Prologue 2:13 am:
{A dimly lit room in a dusty and crowded apartment complex, the hum of several computers and the buzz of a couple of desktop sequencers the only noise in the room besides the click and clack of typing...}

Amir peers at the screen, his eyes strained from several hours of coding. Just a few hours earlier he had an epiphany regarding the right way to encode a genetic sequence that would allow the proper replication behavior to be triggered. He'd been working on this code for about a week and was hoping with the help of Allah that he could figure out the riddle.

Turns out the problem was not as difficult as he first surmised, as builders of code often encounter when attacking a touch challenge. As a 21 year old he'd encountered quite a few challenges but he was still some what unsure of his abilities despite the fact that those around him believed with the help of God that he could succeed.

He was working on this project for them, for his mother who at 47 still worked her hands to nubs grinding grain to sell in the market, for his little sister Amara who helps their mother sell grain in the market,  for his Mullah who during Mosque was so eloquent in describing the importance of the work to Allah and the critical nature of timing. Amir, like many Yemeni in this part of San'a was born in quite steep poverty. The discord that has attended the country since the early 2000's continued on a simmer boil for the last 30 years...all he's known are the bombings and assassinations. Actions that in his mind and by all accounts of all those who he cares about are a direct result of the United States intervention in the region during the Iraqi conflict of 2003 - 2012. He holds an especial anger toward American's and the west in general for the way it appeared that all their actions were focused on carving up the middle east like a turkey in order to get at it's oil resources.

Yet the middle east had been more or less left out of the great transition that happened in many parts of the west since then, the rapid advance of solar technologies led to grid parity solar blanketing most western countries by the mid 2030's. The advances also of machine learning and artificial intelligence led to the explosion of the autonomous robot revolution by end of the 2020's which enabled many cities to rapidly convert to autonomous road ways and dramatically reduce delivery costs for many goods.  Over night the value of petroleum based fuel dropped precipitously, retaining potential for a time in the production of various types of polymers but these markets were obliterated by the other big technological advance of the last 50 years.

The genetic revolution, initiated by the Century beginning achievement of sequencing of the human genome...now in 2036 was the first step in a rapid set of advances....advances that paralleled but eclipsed the formation of the home computer industry 25 years prior....sequencing of the genome revealed the reality that genetics was going to be a bit more complex to figure out than previously thought...the "central dogma" held by most geneticists up to that time was shown to be wrong, one gene did not code for one protein....the reality is a complex dance of genetic expression, coupled with RNA modulation factors and cytoplasmic modulation was responsible for the dynamics of converting some genotype into some dynamic expressions of phenotype.

It at first seemed rather depressing as the work to unravel how gene networks interacted to create various proteins, enzymes and then under some then unknown timing process guided the construction of entire organs or the evolution of particular developmental processes was unknown.

This is all academic history to Amir, a poor boy from a dangerous section of a city still steeped in the discord of 30 years earlier...it's people left with no one to blame but the western countries that seemed bent on causing trouble in their part of the world.

Why had Allah seemingly forsaken them?

The advance of biotechnology coupled with the advance of advanced solar provided a particularly nasty one two punch to the economic and political and religious dynamics of the region. The first punch was the decimation of the petroleum market, which led to plummeting valuation in the currencies of many of the Arabian and South Asian countries that heavily relied on it's production and export. Even Saudi Arabia suffered greatly, to the point that the great northern country that had gleemed for decades ...was now itself embroiled in civil war emerging from the collapse of the economy after the petroleum industry was broken.

The second punch was the rise of the aforementioned genetics and biotechnology industry. The timeline read like an approach to a horror show for middle eastern economies based on petroleum.  The supplemental production of plastics and other polymer based products for a time allowed the slow destabilization in the petroleum markets. This was induced by the emergence of global parity solar production, but when synthetic biological methods rapidly came into the for the need to use petroleum products was lost as the expense relative to either bio conversion directly from plant matter or simply biosynthesis using custom bacteria, fungus and viral agents obsoleted what was an already decimated market throwing any such economies into the abyss.

Amir ran all his technology using a few graphene based panels that he hung outside of his window like sheets to dry, these were connected to a portal battery collector unit ...also utilizing advanced nanotechnology to store extraordinary amounts of charge density ....even given the some what shadowed light he received on this portion of the street that his apartment complex faced. He had more than enough energy for his work, you see Amir had been playing with biotechnology and genetic since he was a child....he was fascinated by the underlying Science and had read and seen the ways that its application had changed people and animals of affluence for the last few years.

Affluent people had been "revigorating" themselves for nearly two decades, leaving those without the money to purchase such treatments to age and die. This year was an interesting one as the west saw rapid reductions in the costs of revigoration and more of the middle class in many western countries engaged the process. The middle east for economic reasons mentioned...wasn't so lucky...save for the few remaining rich who didn't themselves move into the west...but the biotechnology itself...like the access to computing resources 65 years earlier continued to fall in price and become ubiquitous. This ubiquity led to many conflicts ...the Russian - China incident of 2028 stands out in global memory as a particularly terrifying example of what could happen with intentionally crafted biotech.

This is what most intrigued Amir and guided by the support of his Mullah put him on the path to his current work. See Amir has been working on crafting a viral agent with particularly unique properties, building using the tools that have now been available for several decades, fast sequencing, molecular genetic construction, comparative genomic analysis utilizing induced pluripotent stem cells and the follow on techniques to the 2013 innovation of the CrispR-Cas9 process.

These were the paint brush, paint and easel that Amir would use to design a virus that could be deployed to the west via infected drinking water and then perform a most insidious act, the virus would silently replicate in the host once ingested by vectoring to tissues in the small intestines lining, they would then silently replicate in the host for 5 days...during this time they'd mask their presence to the host and thus not give up the standard warnings of pain or inflammation that would indicate that an infection had taken place...once the virus had fully replicate to a point that a given density had been reached...the viral agents would trigger stage two of their attack....this would involve the genetic modification of the lining of the intestine such that the standard process of carbohydrate and enzyme amino acid absorption would break down...this would lead thus to an inability for the host to derive sustenance from ingested food....it would all pass out of their system.

What would look at first like a gift to the host would soon reveal itself to be a nightmare...as without any absorption of carbohydrates the host would quickly develop extreme fatigue, with lack of absorption of amino acids from protein sources the host would rapidly start shedding muscle weight, the virus also resisted water osmosis through the small intenstine walls and thus forced dehydration...most would be dead within 3 days of noticing the "symptoms" which would to them appear only as a little bit of unexplained weight loss.

Amir was in Love with the technical elegance of his particular approach, independent of the fact that it would indeed kill tens of thousands if not millions before it was discovered as the culprit and means to combat it devised.

For him this was a holy mission, his reason d'etre to punish the west for the destruction and abandonment they engaged on his part of the world. Of those whom he loved only the Mullah and several other members of the mosque who provided some of the resources knew what he was working on but the world would soon know that he was God's instrument in righting the wrongs of the West against Islam.

Epilogue Monday July 24th 6:35 pm:

Amir was excited to meet and deliver his work to the courier from Turkey who would ensure that it would get to London where another brother of God would take it to a European costal desalination and bottling plant. Since energy was virtually free, desalination facilities could run using energy captured via solar panels and could do so 24 hours a day, the irony being that such technology had not been deployed in a manner of its need. Yemen for example only had one such plant and it was used primarily to supply the more affluent areas of the country and via bribes to also supply affluent peoples in the region in other neighboring countries with much trade coming across the Red Sea in Eritrea...all that didn't matter, Emir knew it was the best place to interject his new creation.

 He'd also met with a contact from North America days earlier and had delivered a collection of the agent to him as well to use in eastern and western coast water extraction plants. He knew the fastest way to spread his creation was using this means. It also had a significance to him to use water as in his mind as a culmination of the technology that destroyed his part of the world it made sense that Allah's wrath would come in the form of water, that God in essence would provide a sustenance of tears to the enemies of Islam...and so on the tiny bottles of the agent that he careful dispensed a single white label presented with the phrase:

(Gods Tears)

02 April, 2015

Slash that...Google wallet wasn't the problem.

Update (Friday April 3, 2015) !!

It turns out I wrote this article on the wrong information. Google it turns out is not to blame for the delay the authorizing bank is the source. For what ever reason they flagged the transaction for review (likely the fact that the investor was in Europe when she initiated the request) and that is why the fund transfer to her Google Wallet account and to mine has been delayed. I thus retract the bulk of the comments made below with the mistaken belief that the hold was an internal matter on Google's part. Still the fact that their customer service were unable to clearly specify the source of the block is a big issue that they should address the integrity of their system for review is not relevant as it was not their system that was the cause of this issue. I keep this article up only  as public record of the affair.

So the month starts anew and with it I receive a transfer from my investor at least I am supposed to via Google wallet as initiated by her action…usually this process happens instantly but not this time.

The transaction remained in a permanent state of “pending” for most of the morning and then not wanting to play the role of a nag I asked my investor if she could call Google and check to see what the issue was. This is *after* I called them and confirmed that the issue was not due to a block placed on my account.
She called Google and was told that the reason it was blocked was due to a *random* flag for review that their automated security service engages.

This makes sense and is normal for many banks to provide but what stuck out was the use of the world “random” which my investor confirmed was stated by the rep. It should be clear to any one that having a random review process would make no sense…as it provides a non zero probability that one flags for review a transaction that is completely 100% on board, the optimal process for flagging should apply some type of filter to the criteria of transactions in order to trigger a flag….for example it turns out that my investor is in Europe at the moment and though she has transferred funds from outside of the nation before, that *may* be a consideration in a security flagging heuristic (many banks employ them to ensure fraud is not happening).

However the transaction was not flagged due to any consideration other than a random one which is a failure of the business process, it simply should not work this way…it’s bad design.
Things get more convoluted, apparently the items flagged for review on this random schedule hijack the funds for up to 9 days of review.

Considering that many of these transfers involve fulfillment of contract payments between vendors and customers this is *unacceptable* for any running business to tolerate. Yes, Google indicates that this is possible up front in their terms of service but it is STILL unacceptable as it undermines the very action that many people are using the service for that it was PRIMARILY designed to engage.

Their TOS is akin to having a car manufacturer telling you in the purchase contract that the car they just sold you is likely to lose wheels in mid transit down the road and that the car company is absolved of responsibility …this is absurd and any law that enables such madness is a flawed one (looking at you USG). That said from a business perspective having your funds delayed up to 9 days is just the start of the issues….the funds are in a limbo where neither the SENDER or the RECEIVER has access to them.
How do I know Google isn't making money off of that money in the churn gap (they likely are but aren't paying either of us jack squat for it).

This stinks to high heaven….it is beyond EVIL which Google has expressed is their charter, “don’t be evil” …well Google you have fucking failed on an epic level with this rule.

So what can Google do to aleviate themselves of this evil practice they are currently engaging in??
Well the delay for review is almost certainly due to the fact that what ever automated system they have performing the “random” flags is populating some common queue of transactions and those are then fed to live human agents who then are tasked with making sure that the transaction is valid and not fraudulent…this takes time…however it is very easy for google to set the rate at which such flags are performed (since they are as they say “random”) so as events fill the queue the review team knows the rate at which they are clearing the incidents and for what ever reason set a 9 day max limit on time to review from first entry to system…as I mentioned earlier this is *unacceptable* as users rely on the transactions happening as soon as possible….1 day would be potentially troublesome , 9 days is absolutely absurd.

A single days delay could mean the difference between an on time payment and a late fee assessed for being one day beyond. A single days delay could mean that an account goes into collections….Google has every responsibility to get this done inside a 24 hour cycle…so they can:

If they hire more reviewers then they can shorten the maximum wait time from delays they can arbitrarily hire the numbers required to get the review time down below a day…and solve this problem.
If they reduce the rate at which the random selection is happening they can solve the problem as well.

 As mentioned earlier there is NO reason why the flagging is “random” in the first place that is a flaw that needs to be removed from the system…but beyond that reducing the selection rate would reduce the review rate for customers and that can get it below 24 hours wait.
If they stop random selection entirely and only trigger reviews for transactions that have unique signatures (like a request that comes from a foreign country when a previous history of request were not) they reduce the load of flagged items in the queue and again reduce the time to review.

All of these things can be done by Google NOW to alleviate themselves of these *unacceptable* delays incurred on their users for a service that promises the opposite of what they are delivering when they hold funds hostage for more than one day.

I am hoping some one at Google gets this and puts plans into motion to fix this major flaw in their service. I otherwise enjoy Google Wallet it has replaced a good deal of my banking and I’d love to provide additional advice on how it can be even better but the first is to actually make the service work as people are expecting any banking service to work….anything else is:
The other side of the coin…
So the customer service side of things was some what reasonable…save for the fact that they could not expedite the solution to the problem.
If it is the case that items from a given day need to be cleared by a given day in the future (up to 9 days in current flawed system) then it means that unless a user calls up to COMPLAIN when they get their money can fall any where in that 9 days…
If I am a pissed off customer and I need that transaction to go through ASAP and I take time out of my busy day to call your customer service to express the fact that I need that review expedited then it should be done …
without delay
without excuse
it should be done.
After all the queue of items for a given day is already KNOWN (if it is not known then there is another FLAW in the system design that needs fixing) and it is on this basis that the 9 day guarantee can even be made (think about it) so to then tell me that you can’t reorder my transaction for execution before others who are oblivious and accepting of the delay is basically absolute bullshit.
So when my investor called Google Wallet and told them she needed the transfer to go over they gave her some nonsense about it being still considered for early review….which is again unacceptable. This should not be a decision that any one is reviewing….at this point the users money is in limbo some quantum mechanical state of alive and dead that neither the SENDER of the money nor the RECIEVER can access…how this entire situation is even legal is beyond me….but it is definitely Evil , it is definitely non Google and it definitely needs to be fixed NOW.
If Google needs technical help figuring it out I am a software engineer, I’ve build very complex systems and I can help guide the process give me a ring…or email…or text. I just want my money.
Let me know when you stop being evil in this regard Google and I’ll update this article with new information.

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.