Posts Tagged ‘scaling’

Doyle teaches courses in the history and rhetoric of emerging technosciences — sustainability, space colonization, biotechnology, nanotechnology, psychedelic science, information technologies, biometrics — and the cultural and literary contexts from which they sprout. Doyle has published two books: “On Beyond Living: Rhetorical Transformations of the Life Sciences” (Stanford, 1997) and “Wetwares: Experiments in PostVital Living” (Minnesota, 2003) — in a trilogy about emerging transhuman knowledges. These knowledges and practices, linked to molecular biology, artificial life, nanotechnology, psychedelic, and information technologies render the experiential distinctions between living systems and machines frequently dubious and often indiscernible. This excited and confused rhetorical membrane between humans and an informational universe nonetheless broadcasts a clear message: Humans, in co-evolution with the technical matrices transforming the planet, find themselves in an evolutionary ecology that is as urgent as it is experimental.

Continuing his collaborative work on the “transhuman imperative,” Doyle (aka mobius) has now completed the trilogy with a scholarly book about archaic and contemporary psychedelic media technologies and the evolution of mind: “The Ecodelic Hypothesis: Plants, Rhetoric and the Evolution of The Noösphere,” currently in press with University of Washington. Other current projects include a book, “Admixtures: Dialogues After Genomics” with anthropologist Mark Shriver. The Admixtures Project has grown The Penn State Center for Altered Consciousness, currently investigating the genetics and phenomenology of legally-altered consciousness with the help of a flotation tank.

h\t to Transcurve

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This is an extremely interesting video talk by Geoffrey West, a physicist former president of SantaFe Institute. It is by all means a must watch piece on the frontiers of the science of complexity.

Regretfully EDGE.org will not allow to embed their videos so here is the link: http://edge.org/conversation/geoffrey-west

An excerpt from the conversation:

The great thing about cities, the thing that is amazing about cities is as they grow, so to speak, their dimensionality increases. That is, the space of opportunity, the space of functions, the space of jobs just continually increases. And the data shows that. If you look at job categories, it continually increases. I’ll use the word “dimensionality.”  It opens up. And in fact, one of the great things about cities is that it supports crazy people. You walk down Fifth Avenue, you see crazy people. There are always crazy people. Well, that’s good. Cities are tolerant of extraordinary diversity. …

This is in complete contrast to companies. The Google boys in the back garage so to speak with ideas of the search engine, were no doubt promoting all kinds of crazy ideas and maybe having even crazy people around them.

Well, Google is a bit of an exception, because it still tolerates some of that. But most companies start out probably with some of that buzz. But the data indicates that at about 50 employees to a hundred that buzz starts to stop. A company that was more multi dimensional, more evolved, becomes uni dimensional. It closes down.

Indeed, if you go to General Motors or you go to American Airlines or you go to Goldman Sachs, you don’t see crazy people. Crazy people are fired. Well, to speak of crazy people, is taking the extreme. But maverick people are often fired.

It’s not surprising to learn that when manufacturing companies are on a down turn, they decrease research and development, and in fact in some cases, do actually get rid of it, thinking this is “oh, we can get that back in two years we’ll be back on track.”

Well, this kind of thinking kills them. This is part of the killing, and this is part of the change from superlinear to sublinear, namely companies allow themselves to be dominated by bureaucracy and administration over creativity and innovation, and unfortunately, it’s necessary. You cannot run a company without administrative. Someone has got to take care of the taxes and the bills and the cleaning the floors and the maintenance of the building and all the rest of that stuff. You need it. And the question is, “can you do it without it dominating the company?” The data suggests that you can’t.