11 August, 2015

Bioethics of Gene editing, an analysis of some concerns as addressed by Steven Pinker



Steven Pinker provides some details regarding his view that banning gene editing technology outright is naive in this interview. I some times agree with what Pinker states on various issues and on this one a particular area of my research focus he does get the general reality correct in my view (that bans are naive at this point) however he's a philosopher and not a Scientist and thus has made a few errors that I will point out here.

First, the idea that crispr is prone to significant errors is false. The early versions of the technology produced by Doudna's team in late 2012 were but even then they were significantly less likely to induce errors than prior methods (zinc fingers and TALENS).

Since then far more advanced methods have emerged that are virtually perfect in make single gene modifications consistently, keep in mind that a large part of the accuracy is involved in ensuring the a sufficiently unique guide RNA is utilized to zero in on a given gene and induce a change...there is no reason to supposed that an arbitrarily long and unique guide RNA can't be utilized to target a change over a desired region. Technical issues exist in packing these longer guide RNA's with the complex machinery and vectoring them but those are hard to do's not impossible to do's, if we throw the will and money at the problem it will surely be able to go away...or at least go away to such a degree that people are willing to pay the necessary money to overcome any inherent risk. A paper by George Church et al described some of the issues with the then current process, some of which have since been alleviated or mitigated:


Our current pharmacy business is thriving and it operates on exactly this kind of risk profile calculus....every time you take an aspirin depending on who you are you risk dying from a stroke or having some cross effect with a drug you have been taking.

Second, with regard to "designer" babies, his description of psychological traits as being extremely difficult to modulate is very on point...such things as we saw in "GATACA" where intelligence was directly modulated in a general way are unlikely how ever it can be modulate with much more gene specific changes that effect general intelligence for example changes that may control rate of neurogenesis (which are likely to be just a few genes over thousands) or changes that control memory formation by regulating certain key neurotransmitters....sure lots of testing needs to happen on these but we have an extant body of living people already expressing a full landscape of interactions of genes.

I've described some of this in hypothetical stories on the technology going back to 2008:


Understanding what we can do will come from looking at what nature IN us is already doing with no problem and simply replicating those patterns at earlier stages of development in target individuals.

Also, there are a bunch of designer baby changes that have nothing to do with enhancement but simply eliminate dangerous traits, for example susceptibilities to all types of genetic diseases have many well known genetic factors that can be singled out and edited with little reason for concern. Again, using the corpus of expression in living people to identify extant interactions is a great guide to avoid willy nilly changes ....and so having a rapidly improving ability to perform whole genome sequencing as well as characterizing patterns in those massive data sets to identify such patterns is a very good thing to be happening now.


Third, all the difficulties many in the bioethicist camp that feel a delay on research to germ line editing should be placed ignore the fact that many phenotype associated genetic changes can be made very few to no side effects at all. These would be the types that would be included in what I've termed cosmecutical changes.



http://sent2null.blogspot.com/2015/06/cosmecuticals-trigger-to-injection-of.html In my chapter of the book "The Future of Business" I provide a break down of some of the potential opportunities that loom in pursing development of phenotype targeted gene editing. The industry has a potential to be a trillion dollar industry inside of 20 years time. Coupled with it's relative ease to implement and safety compared to other gene line modifications as well as the potential social gains it makes a very big and obvious goal to advanced humanity along several lines that is worth the small risks. http://fob.fastfuturepublishing.com/

Changes in this camp include edits to genes associated with the expression of melanin in the skin , eyes and hair...these would induce visible modulation of expression of skin types, hair color and eye color. I explain the social ramifications of such change in a few posts over the years but the advantage to society of the elimination of "race" as a fixed identifying element in the human family should be an obvious thing that we WANT to do and do as soon as we can. The age of "neopolitan people" as I've called it is important for us to mollify a great deal of the causes of xenophobia that exist in the world which are due to ignorance and fear based on differences in apparent morphology in phenotype.


Moreover, from the ethical perspective these changes are less ominous and also more potentially lucrative as targets to any researchers who are looking to take advantage of the technology...particularly in light of all the hubbub concerning modification to the germ line.

Finally such changes don't have to apply to the germ line at all, an advanced version of crispr used to precisely target and edit genes associated with skin color could confer temporary effects approximating a really long but genetically modified tan (but one where you can tan darker or lighter)...even that could be marketable and would likely have a demand space for it being done.

04 August, 2015

Altruism an emergent quality of having big brains, not directly gene driven.



Thus apparently altruism is a purely socially emergent phenomena and one that is not gene driven.

Why is this *not* surprising?

In some of my musings on altruism, morality (which I posit emerges from it) and later the ability for religions to form....the definition of altruism stems from one underlying reality of social organisms:

The competition for limited resources necessitates in closely living organisms of the same type a response heuristic to the resources various states of supply under demand. 

Here from 2012 I put a line under it:

"If a particular resource or resources is required for our survival and we are the only agent in the environment that can gain value from the resource we have no inherent desire to be altruistic, this may seem trivial but it is not...our altruism is not an absolute characteristic of our make up but rather an emergent quality of moral expression that ONLY becomes extant when others that also value that resource are present and subject to the same constraints."

http://sent2null.blogspot.com/2012/03/morality-mutual-cooperative-altruism.html

It's all about the math, game theory.

In social organisms two responses to this can emerge cooperation or conflict....but they appear on a spectrum both across animal societies and also within those societies as resource variation dynamically varies.

Variation of this presentation to conflict or cooperation though depends on the individuals of these group of related members ability to *remember* and to understand the time cost average advantage of hoarding. Where hoarding is understood the signal for cooperation is stronger in fact made extant....particularly when individual variation in ability is also present and noted.

Ant (and other insect societies) present a very basic display of the opposite pole. Ants have barely any memory and use chemical signalling to govern the cooperation heuristic....right signal = friend, wrong signal = enemy.

Also as their memory is basically non existent they don't engage in individual hoarding and also don't recognize variation among their own group, nor do they engage retribution for hoarding like behavior (can't if they have a short memory)....so *apparent* cooperation in their society emerges purely from the dynamics of following the chemicals which are already inherently a genetic inheritance of the society.

This is key...as it means if true, that if one tests for methods to remove altruism in ant colonies one should NOT find a loss of genes as altruism in ant society is defined in a different way from altruism in societies of animals with a) visible individual variation (skills we can see and judge for utilization) and b) memory of time cost advantage of hoarding. c) fear of retribution (linked intimately to having memory).

So how did the researchers enable the "loss of altruism" is the next question. From the article:

"Testing this "novel gene" hypothesis is difficult given that all ants are social. However, not all ants make workers. Some ants are "workerless social parasites" whose queens exploit the worker force of other species by invading and setting up shop in their colonies. The authors took advantage of the unusual biology of these ants that have lost their worker caste to determine if worker genes really exist.

The research team, led by Chris R. Smith (Earlham College) and Alexander (Sasha) Mikheyev (Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology), sequenced and compared the genomes of six ants (3 hosts and 3 workerless social parasites) and looked for evidence that genes that are typically over expressed in the worker caste would degenerate through time when workers are no longer produced. Instead of finding degeneration in "worker" genes, they found that there are no "worker" genes and the majority of the protein coding genome is maintained in species that stopped producing workers even after one million years. Their research is online early in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution."

:So there it is, essentially what we call altruism in ants really is antruism...unique to ants (and other chemical driven social animals) and only analogically similar to altruism in higher animals which have a strong resource driven drive to modulate behavior along a cooperate to conflict pole because they have deep individual memories. 

This makes sense as from an evolutionary perspective it leads to an ability for a group of related individuals to take radical survival departures that may cause internal conflict but still enable survival of at least some (the greedy and ruthless) individuals of the society on the conflict pole but with high risk to achieve (as such individuals need to watch their back all the time). On the cooperation pole it leads to increased survival on average as individual variation is leveraged to benefit over all ability to utilize available resources with low risk of attack.

Over all possible survival challenges this variation in potential response is a lot more dynamic to change than what exists in ant society where such response variation can't exist....a colony of ants will expend themselves to extinction attacking a foe or pursuing a food source. They survive as one and die as one...this seems honorable but it is foolish if what you want to do is propagate your species genes.

A major example of this success in human society include our technology...which emerge when individual variation is recognized and harnessed and then shared across groupings.

Where it not for language we'd still be disparate bands of cautious lineages.

Where it not for agriculture such lineage groupings would stay small in size.

Where it not for machinery and the harnessing of metals we'd still be living in mud huts instead of dispersed across the globe having used our technology to span continents and thus radically improve our survival ability to local conflict or environmental chaos breaking out.

So it turns out altruism arises not as a specific gene driven innovation but as an emergent one that arises as our individual ability to have long memories that can *chose to* hoard limited resources  while navigating the consequences from others exists. Some could quibble here and say it is still genetic but by accident of those features in the animals in question, that is a way of seeing it but I think it over looks the critical importance of memory as a key enabler...thus exists in us but appears only as a simulation (which we thus anthropomorphize in ants and other insects).

Note the connection between altruism and morality described in that earlier article, where altruism is the ability to chose to cooperate by memory baring agents. Morality is the fabric of possible ways of cooperating given a given extant situation of need of resources....they are intimately related. As indicated in the earlier articles thought experiment where there are no others to deal with morality has no meaning , no means of application thus it is bound at the hip to altruism being possible in the first place.



25 July, 2015

The share economy: The Disintermediation trap



Yet another darling of the so called share economy has called it quits, home services startup homejoy has announced they will be shutting down operations.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/ellenhuet/2015/07/23/what-really-killed-homejoy-it-couldnt-hold-onto-its-customers/

This gets to a truth about the marketplace disinter-mediation that is all the rage these days a concept that is core to the very reason I started working on the AgilEntity framework back in 2001. I realized then that technology enabling the removal of various types of middle men coupled with the elimination of mobility requirements for getting work done would lead to a much more flexible workforce.

After I'd built the framework I teased these ideas in an email from 2006 which I later transcribed into a blog post on the coming "telepresent workforce".

http://sent2null.blogspot.com/2008/03/increasingly-telepresent-workforce.html

In this post I predicted a future of offices as flexible work locations (what we see has emerged in the form of co-working office startups) but more change will come as companies become fully distributed in nature, allowing their existing employees to work more flexibly...particularly as knowledge work continues to eat up the majority of jobs in the workforce.

Earlier this year I followed up on that posting and predict a future of interesting upheaval of the real estate market in large cities where telepresent workers free from having to commute to offices leave companies without reason to keep tall buildings on their books. This will lead to a drop in real estate prices that will allow conversion of many of these buildings to living apartments and condominiums.

http://sent2null.blogspot.com/2015/02/the-telepresent-future-real-estate-re.html

This change will be precipitated by businesses that are leveraging fully action oriented workflow based foundations that allow leveraging fully emancipated workers who almost never need to come to any physical "office" to do their work.

Still for the companies that have emerged to use technology to disintermediate exchange between a provider and a potential customer in the physical or virtual world a danger remains, the disintermediation trap is this danger and homejoy has fallen right into it.

"Homejoy cofounder and CEO Adora Cheung told Re/code that the “deciding factor” was the four lawsuits it faced from cleaners who claimed they were misclassified as independent contractors. That’s likely true — the liabilities and legal costs associated with the suits were no joke. But there’s more to Homejoy’s demise: its customer acquisition model simply didn’t pencil out, former employees and industry sources said.

Former employees tell FORBES that Cheung and the startup pushed relentlessly for high growth numbers instead of fixing its poor retention rates, which persisted both because Homejoy relied too heavily on deal sites like Groupon for new customers and failed to improve its core service because it couldn’t train its independent contractor cleaners."



 The problem with retention rates for any business in the space of marketplace disintermediation will be quite present since as a thin layer middle man the digital service is no longer needed once it has connected customers with working agents who they find are good for recurrent business.



This is why taskrabbit is having a hard time.

This is why elance, 99designs and many other such companies are going to have a tougher time than they expect.

Services that parsel out sub tasks are likely to do better as the creation of a rapport doesn't return a benefit to the client in the same way it does for services that require humans to be mobile ...for example, amazon's mechanical turk.



Uber interestingly is mostly isolated from this effect since Uber drivers do not become married by service to their customers as there is a high level of randomness involved in how customers use the service and place is a dynamic dimension that is static for the other types of services (the customer and the taskrabbits/elance have fixed locations they live from and once they establish a rapport what need for taskrabbit?)

This is why at WorkNetz (​ in stealth) the focus has been on harnessing a companies *existing* employee base first to emancipate them in critical ways that can radically improve business performance. (Contracting reach out from this basis is enabled easily)

Emancipating an existing workforce has several key advantages:

1) Company technical and process dna stays locked up, existing workflows aren't automatically leaked into a random contractor soup. Preventing the regression to the mean with other companies providing similar services that also use disintermediation technology.

2) Cultural dna stays locked up...a big part of where people work is working with others that feel the same about things that they do, that exists already in many companies and switching over to all contractors as employees loses a great deal of that character giving no contractor any feeling of place or loyalty.

3)  the service doesn't have to deal with the legal problems of contractors attrition since by default all your workers are already de facto employees, you are just leveraging the services provided by worknetz to maximize the value landscape you can derive from them while also "emancipating" them of the restriction of hegemony of time** and place that plague traditional employees forced to commute to specific places at specific times to be magically productive.

It is clear why the AgilEntity framework  which implements the action oriented workflow paradigm developed by 2005,  is the perfect middle ground for market place disintermediate based businesses....it also explains why it was important to create a generalized solution for workflow management that worked on any type of vertical...not a purpose built disintermediating tool as all the above were designed to be....that focus enabled them to build services relatively quickly but left them horribly vulnerable to the dynamism of the customer base indicated above under a new contractor heavy business model.

The 34 slides give the 10,000 foot view in a few minutes:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9N6z_bRVUMmOVV2V1NiSlMycWM


Marketplace disintermediation official symbol

My rendition of a logo to symbolize generalized systems for market place disinter -mediating the execution of actions between agents engaged as buyer and seller in that marketplace.

On the left ingress and egress action requests and commitment signals by agents requesting they be performed. Those who need. (Say the person hailing a ride via Uber)

On the right ingress and egress action requests and commitment signals by those that can satisfy the request of the agents. Those who are the providers. (Say the drivers cruising around looking for fairs).

The center symbolically indicates the logic that is leveraged to enable matching of agents on either side (blue half circle meets red half circle) in order to enable a transaction.

The AgilEntity framework is a system that does this for any type of marketplace exchange that is modeled into the system leveraging the Action Oriented Workflow paradigm's statistical learning algorithms to perform efficient real time routing from and to the "best available" agents, however "best" is defined in the model of the type being exchanged making it the ONLY general solution available by design when I started work on the framework in 2001...an "Uber for everything".

Uber does this for cab rides only, Taskrabbit does this for chores and errands, Elance does this for small consulting jobs for development...etc.

Any marketplace engages the same heuristic. I've been meaning to create a graphic to encapsulate the concept for general use so here it is....if you want to represent the concept of market place disintermediation (or the "share economy") feel free to use this image.

I added a few .png versions of the image at various sizes to a google drive folder here, feel free to grab, use in slides and presentations and share the folder images. Marketplace Disinter-mediation symbol cache on google drive:


29 June, 2015

Technology as cure for a world on a Demographic precipice



This is a deeply informative set of projections on the current trends in population but as is often the case it seems to leave out the development of technological solutions applied to the social space that could radically modify the projections.
For example, the rising dependency ratio in the America’s and Europe and Asia over the next 50 years assumes that the current requirements of economic support for human survival will be the same in 50 years. However, with the development of extremely efficient means of production comes the ability to vastly improve the production levels of necessary resources (including fresh water which can be made on demand using solar powered desalination technology) while radically reducing the cost of producing and delivering those resources to where they are needed.
50 years, with the development of advanced green technologies for harnessing energy (from the sun and wind primarily) will come a collapse of the traditional fossil fuel industries. This collapse will negatively affect economies that are dependent on fossil fuel production and export IF they are still relying on them to drive their economies but in 50 years that is very likely given that radical reduction of costs for green technology to points that beat fossil fuels of all kinds are already projected for 10 to 15 years away let alone 50. Nations that are not trying to diversify away from such fossil driven economies are asking for a fiscal nightmare today.
That said, production of efficient energy coupled with the pending rapid advances in the distribution of things produced as well as services rendered due to the shift from a fossil driven transportation infrastructure to an electric driven one that is autonomous will again crush costs dramatically.
So even as these population centers in Africa balloon, the ability to actually fuel and feed the growing masses will be radically improved from what we have in place today.
So Energy production and distribution and transportation will effect major reductions in price that will forstall much of the economic gloom that would other wise occur under a growing population scenario in these centers what else can slow down this trend?
The major reason for the massive growth in non western or Asian populations comes from the entrenched cultural and religious mores that see it as a gift of God to have many children, unfortunately it is a potential curse to the planet in actual fact and is something that we need to strongly retard.
The continued distribution of information via the information conduits of the internet and the mobile web stands as a potentially powerful mollifying force against these backward views that to have more children is an inherently good thing. Education enabled by a distributed system of teaching tools and virtual universities, coupled with the development of increasingly intelligent systems for educating people could significantly slow the rate of growth by inoculating these new populations against the ignorance that has their growth rates projected at what they are.
Efforts by major corporations to expand access to information like Google’sproject Loon provide more than just a moon shot view into means of allowing them to get their services into other hard to reach parts of the world where wired infrastructure does not exist….it stands as a powerful means of enabling the access to knowledge that rapidly erodes the ignorance that would keep populations growing at unsustainable rates.
Another pending innovation not factored into the equation is enabled by increasing access to information coupled with rapidly developing artificial intelligence. Technology designed for workforce emancipation and global autonomous work routing , like the Action Oriented Workflow paradigmwill allow an increasingly knowledge based workforce to maximize value landscapes enabling people to work across multiple areas of their interest for multiple employees even as the availability of manual labor jobs dwindles away. Such technology is a critical piece in slowing the rate of economic discord in the developed nations and also of enabling a faster transition to a knowledge economy in the developing ones.
In the meantime we can expect a lot of discord to happen if African nations are not quick to recognize these problems and effect solutions today which given the strength of belief in religion and other forms of superstition seems like a daunting task.
On the other side of the growth equation the European and Asian nations may not have population deflation to the levels shown in these charts. The rapid introduction of gene editing technology applied to the problem of aging will give rise to revigoration technology and an age of oscillating senescence that will artificially sustain many populations without the requirement of new births. When death rate itself starts going down, population growth will still happen…so the next 50 years will see a shift in growth rates as the current apparent plateau in many nations begins to rise after such technologies are widely available, in my past analysis of the effects of this technology I’ve estimated this to be the case by the mid 2030's.
So there is a lot of work to do, technological pieces need to be put into place in Africa to reduce ignorance and religiosity, expand access to contraception and reduce population growth rates while making access to information and resources more efficient. In the first world or developing first world, work needs to continue reducing ignorance (as every where else) building the first energy efficient networks for lowered costs of production and delivery and for those nations with negative population growth, revigoration technology will emerge to allow population rates to continue rising or even be made to stay constant.
I’ve written in my posts on the need for building a self healing infrastructure (SHI) utilizing technological tools that I’ve felt some what less optimistic at our making it out of this century without major discord, I still feel discord is likely as though much technology will be available it will not be distributed evenly which is a major problem that must be solved …especially if we are to avoid having pockets of economic instability or religious regression or both throw entire regions into turmoil (see Isis).


Originally posted in medium.

18 June, 2015

Neopolitan people and Rachel Dolezal



So the idea that Rachel Dolezal is in some way a fraud by taking the risks that she has to embrace a black identity to me are absurd for several reasons.

I've seen all the analysis from various people of color on this, trying to paint Rachel as some kind of fraud by "appropriating" black culture...but this makes sense only when you realize that the perpetrator is actually is NOT giving up their primary identity.

Elvis was appropriating African American culture ...he didn't identify with it beyond his use of the music...he didn't want to BE black.

Yet here comes Rachel, a woman who has actually embraced the identity of being black by going so far as to accept the label of being black when it is levied *against her* based on others perceptions of her appearance.



This is the critical piece, when she decided to identify as black is completely irrelevant....the fact is she really feels that she is black (in terms of experience) and is willing to suffer the thorns that come with *being black* by definition of that association.





Nothing else matters from that point, she was able to "pass" as black and by doing that, she immediately suffered everything of what it means to be black (as perceived by every one who saw her who was NOT black but assumed that SHE was black...such is the power of white entitlement)  She tanned herself, she curled her hair...people (some non zero percentage) saw HER as black and thus TREATED her that way.

She's been confronted and is not giving up her appropriation....rather, like Jesus she's choosing to wear the crown of thorns. Either she is suffering a deep psychosis OR she really feels a strong affinity to black experience to such a degree that she chooses to experience the pains of being black even though she does not have to.

That perception of treatment is enough....so now the question is how much of an experience of being black must a person have to be "black".

Is Beyonce "black "enough?

Is Vanessa Williams "black" enough?

Is Haile Berry "black" enough?

Is Jennifer Lopez "black" enough?

As a Latino (yes, Hatians are Latino) I am very well aware of the weird middle zone that one is fitted into as a result of the binary tendencies of African Americans (twisted by the pathology of their unique experience, granted) ...in a very similar way people of Haitian descent have been put into a limbo of ethnic experience....distinct from English speaking Caribbeans by virtue of language and culture, distinct from Spanish speaking Caribbeans by distinction of language...yet with no ability to "appropriate" either group as an identity because of phenotype association that exists for most Haitians. (They tend to "look" clearly, "black")

Ultimately Dolezal (mental illness or not) has a genuine perception of herself as "black" and the question is not weather or not she's being authentic...but rather, why is it that we can't accept that how she defines HERSELF is how we should accept her??? She is it appears a Neopolitan person.....she has chose to embrace the rainbow, sure it is the case that blacks lack that choice...but that is irrelevant to the fact that once she chooses to be black, once others see her as black....then the full weight of what that means falls on her in a very similar if not identical way to those "born" black.


The hypocrisy that stands out here from those who have attached Rachel for claims of "appropiation" is that if they feel Rachel can't choose to be who she claims to be....then neither can any one else, I can't embrace being "latino" because others think I don't "look" latin enough, a person who claims being born female in a males body can't either (yes, there is an intersection here....the math is clear). Another person who is half Asian and half Jewish and attends ceder can't either...it goes on and on.


And thus now we can look at what this all boils down to....when we consider what technology is doing  at the moment.

In my chapter in the book The future of business, I cover the cosmecutical industry that I predict will be a billion dollar industry in the next 10 years. The ability to utilize gene editing technology to precisely modify genotype and phenotype will open up an entire new vista of possibilities particularly with regard to the pesky intersection of identity and race that the Dolezal event marks.

Within the next 10 years, Rachel will actually BE able to change her hair and skin color to phenotypes that are part of "black" dominant perception. Assuming she does this.....what level of experience does it take for her experience to be authentic? If a blonde Nordic person lives as a black person for 2 decades and suffers the various types of discrimination that entails fully aware of its existence why should we not recognize the embrace of that identity?

How would that be measured??

Anyone in my view who is willing to jump into the fire is some one whose view should be respected (even if it inspires confusion).

Links:

http://sent2null.blogspot.com/2014/02/cosmecuticals-are-closer.html

http://sent2null.blogspot.com/2014/07/tyras-cloudy-fashion-crystal-ball.html

http://sent2null.blogspot.com/2015/06/cosmecuticals-trigger-to-injection-of.html

http://sent2null.blogspot.com/2011/11/love-post-super-mortality.html

10 June, 2015

Cosmecuticals: The trigger to an injection of innovation in fashion to come?



A recent post posits that the time for Men in the Western world to give up the embrace of the beard is nigh. The author of that article probably hasn't noticed something interesting about the last 20 years of fashions evolution.

It is safe to say that starting around the turn of the century we haven't created any fundamentally novel innovations in fashion. Everything is some type of remix of what came before...I see this clearly when I walk down a street in Brooklyn or Manhattan or the Bronx.

Different people freely wearing what ever style era clothing they feel comfortable with, there is no clear distinction to clothing of 2015 as distinct from clothing of 2010 as distinct from clothing going back I'd say to about 2005. 10 years of relentless remixing of what came before rather than anything really new.

thick tie or skinny tie, fitted shirts or loose shirts, skinny jeans or bell bottoms...just walk through Williamsburg to see what the hipsters are wearing.

Everything. From every Era.

Over here some guy wearing plad!

Over there some girl in a hoop skirt.

Over here some guy in baggy 90's like grunge jeans.

Over there some girl in super colorful tights.

Same with hair and makeup...tons of mixing. thick eye brow on one girl, pencil brow on another sitting next to her on the train. Big 80's hair on one girl , next to short pixie crop from 90's (or mid 60's if you paid attention) on another girl. Now I am sure that depending on where you are population density varies the variety of fashion forms that can be found (a small town is likely to have very homogeneous fashion trends) but it is clear that the trend in large cities has moved toward any style as the norm, a rainbow mix of fashion from eras going back to Victorian times in some cases.

It's all rather fascinating ...I wonder if this is just a intermediate period before some sudden break into something completely unique and different emerges....possibly enabled by radical injection of technology into our fashion?

As I've written in the cosmecuticals chapter in the Future of Business book, the ability to change our hair texture and color will be a huge industry that there is a ton of demand to embrace, interesting novelty will be possible that is currently not possible once we can modify those genes in various non natural ways...and those will shape what designers come up with to compliment the new combinations of humanity that we'll be providing them as inspiration.

So that's my bet....that we are just at a point before a state transition occurs as enabled by this technology to come. Links: http://sent2null.blogspot.com/2014/02/cosmecuticals-are-closer.html http://sent2null.blogspot.com/2014/07/tyras-cloudy-fashion-crystal-ball.html