Friday, May 4, 2012

A call for more experimentation in early education.

In keeping with the need to identify and articulate challenges, the Open Operations Forum is now formally calling for participants in a nationwide process of accelerating EDUCATIONAL EXPERIMENTATION.  Early success will presumably be achieved by networks of existing home-schoolers.


We NEED hyper-mutation at the level of elementary school education, and throughout K-12 schools - and ways to regulate selection from it's output.


Why?

Because we do not have an adequate cultural-equivalent to a modern immune system.  A culture exists of immense entanglements of densely-engineered transaction chains.  Discriminating which parts of our own, randomly emerging variation harms vs helps ... is a parsing task that gets harder every day.

Not only are we slow to generate options and solicit change, we don't have adequate mechanisms to adaptively regulate & select early rudiments of emerging cultural immune processes.  Statistics alone dictate that most attempts at cultural protection will produce auto-immune stresses.  Experimentation goes nowhere without parallel improvements in the selection process.

Our present cycle is that some changes occur despite all efforts.  Some complain that the change is bad, and that change itself must be regulated.  Then we go off on a tangent about whether to change or not, and how fast or slow.  All irrelevant. We must always tune to changing context.  We need appeal to no higher authority, process or pace.

If sexual recombination generates the stem-cells (new humans) of any culture, then we can make a case that schools are analogous to the spleen or thymus. Education & training  develops the ability of kids to parse cultural-immunity (discriminating sense from non-sense) plus the ability to regulate tolerance limits - so that we actively generate adaptive cultural change, but don't shoot ourselves in the foot en mass.

Therefore, the key challenge for all evolving cultures is rate of developing methods for discriminating emerging variants [most of which are nonsense :) excuse the pun].  Parallel to system evolution, nested selection of "grading metrics" occurs apace - as value metrics & parsing catalysts.  We're always using old grading methods in attempts to select novel innovations.  How do we discover cheaper/faster/better ways to parse emerging group-variance for emerging adaptive value?  Answer, in the end, "we" can't change faster than our grading methods do.  And it starts in elementary, dear Watson.

Reacting to external change with {internal changes plus selections from internal changes} constitutes two, continuously emerging, parallel re-MAPPING tasks.  We're always remapping our selection criteria in order to remap ourselves to context, fast enough.  That involves co-optimizing two co-factor sets simultaneously in one polynomial.  


In short, we need education & training systems to turn out citizens who are increasingly prepared to quickly adapt to evolving demands - i.e., kids able to tune their traditions to context, as fast as needed, not just argue over the absolute need for change vs tradition.

Anyone who's discussed perturbation of & settling in analog computing networks is not surprised - but this core task is completely foreign to the bulk of our existing electorate, who will heatedly argue for hours based on personal allegiance to CONSERVING traditional, completely un-examined - & always partially obsolete - value maps, rating systems & grading systems!  Our net electorate is actually convinced that we mustn't change, and we're busy perfecting our ability to churn out more students of the same mindset!

Tradition can be a delicate, even taboo subject, just like national suicide.

Only in ritualized sports, orchestra, dance, theater, construction, etc do students routinely learn that, to succeed, everything has to continually change.  

Ironically, attention-seeking toddlers & adult Control Frauds both learn that the only way to personally "win" is willingness to break any & all rules [for personal, not group, benefit].  By actively selecting for the confluence of {personal success + group tradition}, we unwittingly select for increasing cultural fraud as the ONLY possible outcome.  This Catch-22 insanity starts in schools, and is most easily prevented there.

The best way to change that may to continually change the education system at a faster pace, so that "components" in our electoral analog-computing-network become increasingly more flexible, adaptive & thereby resilient.  Not too much, but enough to meet emerging demands of group context.  We need neither too little nor too much change, but we always need change tuned to both the magnitude & pace of changing context demands.


Return-on-coordination trumps all other returns, by far.  It's why evolution works, and social-species dominate.


Therefore, the goal is to continually re-map growing sets of dynamic tolerance limits to dynamic context.  To manage the exponentially growing inter-dependencies that come with cultural growth, students must be comfortable constantly & quickly trading SOME local options for SOME group options that produce net benefit.  That means being less fixated on personal success, less wary of group change, and hence better able to pursue emerging return-on-coordination.  We need to change, in order to actively select for more, not less, cultural resilience.  We ALWAYS need to change how we train our kids, so they're even more resilient than we were.  To do that, we need to explore & select from training options - faster.

Below is just ONE of endless examples why:

Roger Erickson, May 2012; mmt-discuss
Subject:  re: painful to watch - Ron Paul vs Paul Krugman video debate 
 it's like a re-enacted debate between Ptolomeic vs pre-Copernican physicists. 
Americans shouldn't let Americans settle for archaic philosophies OR operations!
   ...
Ok, I'll extend my original statement. RP doesn't understand fiat monetary systems, PK doesn't understand banking operations, and OUR ELECTORATES DON'T KNOW THE DIFFERENCE!!!

This is a sad commentary on complex, human cultures. How much complexity can be constrained by remarkably pinheaded constraints? Every system has it's bugs. We've identified one permutation. It's not the only one that emerges entirely as a cultural phenomenon, "in the cloud" so to speak. Something has to be recursively placed in our educational system to provide future generations a bit more immunity to this form of cultural auto-immune disease.