I was recently watching Eleanor Saitta’s talk called “Your Infrastructure Will Kill You“. Part of her talk outlined how optimization equals fragility (more or less). That to the degree that something is cleaner, more elegant, or more efficient, it is fragile, and a break in the system can be potentially catastrophic.
In thinking about her comments I thought of a few examples where I have observed optimization creating a state of fragility, here are a few of my thoughts:
Ok, so there are lots of places where optimization leads to failure, but what are some ways in which optimization leads to resilience? What are some solutions to these problems?
Redundancy is a great solution, but it is bulky.
Infants move from a strictly dyadic sort of attentional phenomena to a triadic behavioral attention at around 9-12 months of age. This opens the world for infants to allow them to consider other people as intentional agents with whom it is possible to interact. This provides a platform for the infants to begin engaging in a relational way as a precursor to conversation including new ways of referencing the world around them and new ways of coordinating attention of the outside intentional agents. Without this development into the capacity for accessing a triadic perspective children would be unable to operate in a joint attention frame, would be unable to read intention, and would not maximize cultural learning – all of which depend on recognizing the other-than-self as self-motivated.
I added this picture because it represents Joint Attention…now, substitute the three adults for an adult and an infant – this represents the ability to focus in a joint attention frame so as to develop a sense of common ground. Stay tuned…more to come.
I invited Nicholas Carson Miller to guest post on the shape of a particular internet culture…I hope you enjoy his work -SportLinguist
I. The New Prehistory
We can’t go ask ancient peoples what was going on when they decided to get together and start building cities. Frustratingly, none of the folks involved in the development of prehistoric communities are still around to ask and weren’t kind enough to leave detailed ethnographic and historical accounts of their experiences. Shame on them. We can, however, connect to the internet and observe the development of a new kind of community.
Early humans, tiring of wandering and hunting alone, began living around one another, trying their hands at farming, trading necessities and surpluses, and finding increasingly productive and complex ways to protect and govern the communities that developed. Early internet users logged on alone, visiting web pages and sending limited communications—but then a need for specialized communal activities lead to email lists, chat rooms, social networks, and, most interestingly, forums.
These internet communities, especially certain infamous and influential forums such as 4chan, Gaia Online, and Something Awful, are beginning to exhibit fascinating cultural trends that are to me reminiscent of early city-states. The development of the culture of these communities should be taken as a possible reflection of the development of real-world communities and is conveniently occurring right before our eyes at a highly accelerated rate. Continue reading →
When you hear the words “Digital City” what comes to mind? Is it a virtual city created from ad hoc groups of people converging in an electronic marketplace? Is it an actual physical city boasting all the amenities of technology? Or is it a combination of the two? For me, when I hear “Digital City” I usually find myself thinking about the third option, an actual place that sustains a physical population but who are networked to conduct virtual lives that interface with physical lives on a perpetual basis. Continue reading →
“Sociological social psychology is a micro approach of sociology that relates macro level social phenomena on the individual level. This discipline of sociology pulls strongly from symbolic interactionism. Special topics in sociologically oriented social psychology are social inequality, group behavior, social change, socialization, self and identity.” [socialpsych.org]
I hope you check it out!
As a specialist you have a level of contextual understanding for realms of knowledge contained in words for which non-specialists also have normal everyday uses.
Consider words like: “context”, “ungrammatical”, “attention”, and “construe”…these words mean entirely different things to a non-linguist than they do to a linguist (let alone the differences between a cognitive linguist and a generative linguist).
Using these types of words with non-linguists as if they understood the linguistic sense of the word will not work; you will have failed communication. Continue reading →
I just started reading an ethnomusicology book and I was struck by this definition of ethnocentrism. Being an anthropologist I am conscious of the dangers of ethnocentrism in my practice and I can look at members in their context and not force my own values onto those members in my evaluation. But still the clarity of this quote haunted me a little.
When the commonsense perspective dominates the attitude of anyone confronting new and strange experiences, it becomes ethnocentrism. Ethnocentrism is the common tendency to view all human behavior from the value system of one’s own society, often including the tendency to consider other practices inferior and misguided. The scholar must therefore avoid the commonsense perspective of his or her own society, and seek to understand other people’s practices from their point of view. Every society has its own commonsense perspective, and part of the task of understanding music in other societies is to understand the commonsense perspective commonly held in those societies.
[2-3, Kaemmer, 1993]
When I read this passage it reminded me of my own fears of ethnocentrism in my life. My fear is that one day I will have a child who values a different type of creativity than I value. Actually, it is not necessarily a different type of creativity as much as it is a preference for a different aesthetic in my child’s progression into self-expression. I am embarrassed to even admit that fear. Continue reading →