Tuesday, May 27, 2003
Neurotechnology Before Genetic Engineering
Zack Lynch lays out a concise and clear arguement for why the impact of neurotechnology will preceed genetic engineering:
...Just as the wheel, steam engine and electricity shaped the course of civilization -- the emerging tools of neurotechnology will create new industries, new forms of political organization and new modes of artistic expression.
Neurotechnology's ability to temporarily influence an individual's mental health will have more profound implications for humanity, in a much nearer time frame, than genetic engineering for several reasons:
- Neurotechnology is temporary: Human genetic engineering won't become widely adopted until people can experiment with less permanent tools
- Social acceptance is proven: Humans are already using first generation neurotechnologies on a vast scale. For example, 17% of the US white-collar work force is currently using anti-depressants
- Regulation and distribution systems are in place: The FDA and pharmaceutical development and distribution systems are already globally trusted processes...
8:48:34 PM -- Others on this topic: Genetics | Neurotechnology | Zack Lynch
KM is a Social Phenomenon
Jim McGee follows up his aggregator bricolage on weblogs and knowledge management with a part 2.
He includes Rick Klau on Gartner's hype cycle, Dina Mehta's perspective on the challenges of introducing weblogs into corporate environments, Jon Udell on using weblogs to improve project communications and other great posts. Specifically notes that ease of set up, as well as use, are qunitessential.
Jim picks up a gem by Gary Murphy at TeledyN and adds the pointed comment that KM is a social phenomenon:
Both searches were initially pointless because, for very good reasons, both the sought after data items did not exist in the superficially logical locations. This is probably the number one flaw with most dead-robot KM systems: They fail to accommodate how Reality is inherently messy!
The only possible method to locate either the ribs or the cards was to do what humans have done since the dawn of archives, ask someone who knows. In both instances, we needed someone who knew where the target was, and who could refer us to someone who knew how to extract it.
Murphy provides the critical link here between weblogs and organizational need. It is the realization that KM in organizational settings is primarily a social phenomenon and not a technology one. Most prior efforts to apply technology to KM problems in organizations have been solutions in search of a problem. They have been driven by a technology vendor's need to sell product, not an organization's need to solve problems.
Weblogs are interesting in organizational KM settings because weblogs are technologically simple and socially complex, which makes them a much better match to the KM problems that matter. One thing that we need to do next is to work backwards from the answer - weblogs - to the problem - what do organizations need to do effective knowledge management. We need to avoid the mistakes of other KM software vendors and not assume that the connection is self-evident. [McGee's Musings]
Blogs on Meetup
Great case of Social Networking Models converging, a Physical Network providing Conversational Network features:
Meetup gets Blog-i-fied. Meetup, which helps groups arrange real-world meetings, has launched a paid user service for Meetup users that inlcudes a Notebook function:
Are Meetup Notebooks similar to weblogs?
This integrates three of my favorite social software themes: the use of virtual tools to arrange or augment real life interaction; the further extension of weblogs as a platform; and the possiblility of users paying for communal value, thus keeping advertising at bay. (The fee, interestingly, is around $3 a month, like the social networking service ItsNotWhatYouKNow.com.) [Corante: Social Software]
Meetup Notebooks are like a new sub-species of weblogs. Notebooks are similar to weblogs, except:
- Notebooks have the specific purpose of helping people become familiar with other Meetup attendees.
- Notebooks are generally about a specific Meetup topic.
- Notebooks prompt the user to comment on the community-generated Agenda Items each month. (This gives people something to write about and lets their opinion count as a part of community-wide polling.)
- Notebooks are integrated and linked throughout Meetup, giving users the potential for a wide audience within the topical community that they care about.
9:19:17 AM -- Others on this topic: Augmented Social Networks | MeetUp | Social Software
Homogenization and Balkanization
There is a tremendous market failure that is homogenizing public policy while balkanizing civil society.
Stanford Professor Diane Ravitch’s new book The Language Police reveals self-censorship in education. For example, even high-school history and English texts cannot mention: divorce, drugs, homosexuality, or dinosaurs (evolution) on one hand; religion, women as homemakers, slavery, inequality, and so on, on the other. In other words, anything real or interesting or historically accurate. Oligopoly Watch chalks this up to oligopsony (a market controlled by a few buyers), in this case three state textbook evaluation committees. Because there is some measure of accountability and a great deal of lobbying influence, the committees are balancing political correctness from the extreme left-wing and right wing.
Meanwhile, our kids get extreme exposure to these issues through the mass media, itself an oligopoly. When a media oligopoly can diversify its properties through digital cable, the law of the niche drives appeal to extremes. Given the choice, kids will naturally gravitate towards learning about contentious issues in media that is largely absent of context. Further fostering extremism.
Meanwhile, the Boy Scouts ban atheists and gays. With the supreme court granting the right to private civil society organizaitons to be exclusive, extreme interests are balkanizing. Again, this is a market with few sellers.
Parents are left with little choice.
8:21:52 AM -- Others on this topic: civil society | Education | Media | Technology and Society
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6/2/2003; 2:27:50 PM.
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