Monday, January 21, 2013

Inter-Nation and inter-group competition as a FEEDBACK-DISCOURSE CONTEST

John Boyd wrote his DESTRUCTION AND CREATION essay after wondering why some people invented novel things like snowmobiles out of spare parts from other devices, while others - notably the typical Pentagon & MICC bureaucrat - remained resistant or hostile to creative thinking.

Boyd's prior background was an early BS degree in economics, a stint as a USAF fighter pilot, a masters degree in Industrial Engineering, then continued USAF fighter-plane design.

After writing the essay about his frustration, he supposedly abandoned all interest in fighter planes, and focused on battling Pentagon bureaucracy from within the Pentagon. He apparently refused association with any non military corporations or think tanks. Boyd also never took steps to organize platforms to further disseminate his own, strong beliefs - e.g., starting any consulting firms, think tanks or foundations.

His essay shows remarkable insight into superficial aspects of systems thinking, yet also mentions nothing about neurophysiology, psychology, sociology or mass education. Hence, it - very curiously - stops short of obvious suggestions for how to initiate and leverage leaner/faster/better tools and practices for optimally maneuvering a large system constantly destabilized by it's own ratio of destruction/creation, and then constantly nudging it even further along adaptive versus mal-adaptive re-organization paths.


It's a valid question. So where DO we go from here? Here are some observations and suggestions.

We're dealing now with destruction/creation of group, national and cultural patterns of behavior - i.e., cultural competition.

Cultural discourse is where group-patterns of creation and destruction are embodied. It seems rather obvious that if we don't practice "group practice" itself, then our national ratio of destruction/creation can rapidly slow to a crawl. Any group not actively and continuously re-shaping it's own cultural discourse to optimize group outcomes will, by definition, increase it's probability of dissolution, and increase it's likelihood of failure.

Do we have metrics for adequately conceptualizing, tracking and managing our net, national level of group-discourse? NO.

Do we have ADEQUATE diverse and actively fluctuating platforms for eliciting and intermediating existing public discourse? NO.

Do we have existing models for tracking and managing the number of catalyst platforms necessary for eliciting and accelerating adaptive rates of creation and destruction in our group-discourse patterns? NO!!

John Boyd summarized fighter-plane combat as an energy-maneuverability contest, and he reduced real-time plane performance models first to those component features affecting energy-maneuverability, and secondly to the FastTransients that affected the time required to initiate re-deployment of component features in different combinations and sequences - i.e. the agility of planes and pilots. He apparently stopped after analyzing only the 1st two catalyst levels affecting system outcomes - having already revolutionized a moribund field. Examples of FastTransients for fighter pilots would be low latency servo-motors for wing-flap controls, instead of sluggish and tiring hydraulic controls, as well as the physical agility and decision-making latency of trained 

Not surprisingly, these general concepts have long been discussed in other fields, in terms of system, species or cultural resiliency, agility, AdaptiveRate, etc, etc, etc. Nevertheless, much of that fragmented discourse is at present walled off in specialized literature, and expressed in jargon not portable across disciplines, nor to the bulk of our electorate - and therefore NOT adequately conceptualized as a whole!

Hence, it might be worthwhile to borrow John Boyd's terminology and describe the outcome-managment for any group contest, from local team tactical-agility to national policy-agility, in simplistic terms similar to those he pioneered while revitalizing air combat modeling and plane design.

International and inter-group competition as a FEEDBACK-DISCOURSE CONTEST.

Group agility determined by constantly mutating and emerging FastTransientPlatforms able to initiate, alter and re-deploy further variants of all existing group-discourse patterns (the secret to OBT&E).

Group "jerk" - the derivative of group agility - is determined by Social Liquidity, allowing steadily increasing diversity of tools and practices from which FastTransientPlatforms may initiate agile selection and re-deployment, in any combination necessary.

Most specialists in various fields may recognize some - but not all - of these highlighted features as crude metaphors for already familiar cultural features, such as markets, market-research services, regulatory agencies, political bodies, sensory systems, integrative systems, motor systems, etc, etc - yet all will find it easy to agree that we lack consensus models allowing agile application of ALL these concepts from all, narrow fields to our general, group agility 
needs. Without consensus models, large group agility is difficult to manage and slow to adjust.

The continuous process of tuning both the patterns and latency of nationwide feedback/response cycles constitutes our net Cultural OODA LOOP. Keeping our COODA LOOP inside that of other nations is our goal, so that our survival chances remain in our own hands. If, for “Decide,” we slip in some other letters, to represent, say, "Upscaling, Largescale Decisionmaking," then we have an even more easily recognizable useful, nationwide, COOULDA LOOP. At any instant, our national Output Gap is obviously a function of our COOULDA LOOP, further helping us zero in on lagging Cultural Agility as a direct consequence of lagging CulturalFastTransients and finally lagging Social Liquidity, itself a function of hoarding fiat to excess instead of putting fiat to work. 

We can then end with the not surprising observation that successful cultural innovation rates track the quality of distributed liquidity provisioning.

Once stated, it's clear that we as a nation can easily do this - far better than we've done at any time during the last 67 years. We need only the vision, will and practice to succeed faster. Alternatively, we can simply continue to dissociate further, and let the USA fail at some point, all for want of continuously increasing our group discourse, group direction and group practice.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


Since we're a remarkably recombinant system, the supposedly unemployed are always employed. We're just not paying them!

And even when we do, we never distribute pay according to what we're actually worth to ourselves!

Otherwise, we'd have no Output Gap! And, HP would always know what HP knows, and be able to act on it with agility!

I'll leave it to astute readers to connect this essay to currency operations. Use your imagination. :)

While swapping some puns about Brits burgering the bovines and politicians - and other puns crossing linguistic as well as semantic borders - we closed with the following question, entirely by happenstance.

"Has our imagination outpun our utility polls?"

While it's total nonsense in one, restricted coordinate system, it's actually crucial to note how and why that last phrase reminded me of something fascinating from my neurophysiology days.

There had been periodic attempts to better discriminate how well inmates fit in insane institutions, using implanted reporters (more on that later) that are, by definition, out of place.

One jarring fact was that all such attempts I'd read about quickly failed.

Invariably, even if sane people tried to act insane, the truly insane people would immediately notice and say "you don't belong here, you're not one of us." I still wonder what that really implies.

We could go many directions from this point, so please entertain this particular direction for as long as it takes. The speed readers who've already left are excused.

What clues were so noticeable in people >2 std deviations apart on diverse sane/insane behavioral distributions? Whatever the defined "distance," and whatever it means, do "insane" people always recognize the "sane," and see paths back to joining them, but just don't find it attractive? Is it only "sane" people that don't get practice recognizing the signposts to infinite flexibility - aka, imagination - and therefore struggle to go back and forth? That brings up the questions of who needs whom, and how much? What's that say about imagination and the art of the possible, versus Luddites and their dull, plodding reality? What's it say about courage versus fear? Does our definition of insanity largely overlap with no fear in exploring imagination, aka boredom and impatience?

And, why have so many sane people - throughout history - made such efforts to be periodically insane? Are all "mind-bending" efforts - whether voluntary or induced - simply a way to accelerate hyper-sampling of pattern-space? Isn't pattern-space, or options-space always our real BattleZone? And isn't controlled, hyper-imagination no different from controlled hyper-mutation?

If so, then adaptive rate of our control systems is rate limiting for our adaptive capabilities. Specifically, adapting our control-initiating steps defines the moment of adaptive jerk - the next derivative of Adaptive Rate. Adaptive outcomes really depend most upon what we still discuss last, the subtle, Fast Transients, catalysts or co-factors, buried n-layers deep in every example of institutional or process momentum. Philosophers noted this hundreds of years ago, and coined the phrase "to know the truth, ask 'why' 5 times."

Why don't our schools train students to look at the source of group momentum, rather than letting them flounder in tactics dictated by previous group momentum? Is it only fear of uncontrolled insanity itself that we have to insanely fear?

To have arrived at current reality proves controlled selection of many prior leaps into what were then fearful unknowns. Yet to go further still is for many still too fearful a leap into the unknown? What have we done wrong? Have we shielded our own students from too much of the history defining their own, social momentum? You'd think that it would be obvious that we can't win by arbitrarily lying to ouselves! Our selections should at least be more adaptive! We absolutely must select vigilance and the selective effort of thinking.  Otherwise, obsolete habits can always be resurrected faster than adaptive habits can be selected. Have we heard that before? Misery loves company?

Why do we both "have" reality and explore it's unpredictability too? If we're going to see further every generation, don't we absolutely need our own, giant, Luddite behavioral patterns, whose lumbering shoulders we stand upon? Don't stop doing #N! Yet do add behavioral component N+1?

That question actually highlights an informally well known paradox in neurophysiology. Humans reason by analogy, or by recognizing the "fit" between patterns in different data sets. Our seemingly innate "logic" = the "wiring" and feedback methods we use for comparing current input patterns to previously stored patterns. Once described that way, it's clear that the same process occurs in all organized systems, whether neuronal or cultural. Deep logic, gut feelings and even cultural responses must, by default, equate to summing nested pattern matches and triggering established network reflexes ... PLUS occasionally accommodating exception handling to parse the next, unpredictable step. How do you construct a pattern-recognition network that is:

1) infinitely scalable, AND
2) fully preserves return-paths (to escape dead ends), AND
3) features exception-handling upon demand, AND
4) always maintains coherence across all nested layers?

Quantal Quip Tunnels, Batman! If you knew the answer, you sure as hell wouldn't bore yourself tinkering with Intelligent Design! Surely you'd just move on?

No wonder all cultures have sought hallucingenic states, from personal to Carnival. They're basically skunkwork imagination zones, where you clear your template matching circuits of any prior restrictions, and briefly widen your exception handling nets. The methods used, of course, may be very crude or very elegant, and vary in both productivity and continuity.

Nevertheless, given that we, individually and culturally, have zero predictive power, what's the ongoing good of all accumulated "method" sets? Granted, they got us here, but they project no further, by definition, or we'd be there - also by definition. Who or what keeps moving our cheese? We just can't tell.  Until we recognize THAT ooda loop, our next step always requires trial and error exploration of exceptions to past rules.

There's a simple rubric to follow. All of our "rules" mattered up to yesterday, but may not get us any further in the next evolutionary step. So which of our thumbs do we choose, as a rule, to be under? "The Credentials are Dead. Long live the Credentials?" Adaptive, real-time, tracking of the unpredictably changing utililty of credentials requires simultaneous delicacy, honesty, humility, courage and patience. At any one time, few seem to possess just the right features needed, which is why we need so many of us, to throw up a reasonable, group approximation within a survivable time window.

Adapting, vs relying on obsolete credentials, requires us to actually think. Accidentally let just a few letters recombine, and "rule of thumb" becomes "rule of dumb." From there it's a short squat to "rule of dumbass." My point in dwelling on this is that rules are absolutely to be used at "home", but NOT necessarily in the "field." In the field, our primary duty is to be on the lookout for the next adaptive exception, and to be ready to quickly find some way to accommodate and use it well! Of course, the changing boundaries of home & field depend on context, including past and future.

If you follow that premise to it's logical conclusion - for now, don't ask why - you get the astounding premise that it may not matter what quantum physics may or may not reveal about reality. In fact, if we can conceive of, or even trigger, the next Big Bang, why would we bother restricting ourselves to just one? Why not just see through whatever allows Big Probability Waves to occur, and move on to yet more topologies? If there's one, then why not an infinite number? Gives one the chills!

If, alternately, you follow you're chillingly illogical imaginations - why not? - then any answer is possible, and available sooner. The suggested answers just may not necessarily come with a pre-defined path from here to a guaranteed adaptive outcome, or they may not come with a guaranteed adaptive outcome attached to interestingly altered methods. That, would, after all, spoil all the fun. It's up to us to have fun, selecting from our insane imaginations. Anything may be possible, if we don't constrain ourselves to any of our previous permutations. Alternatively, we can briefly be someone among the obsolete Luddites, putting 2+2 together and staying put.

It seems clear that exploring combinations in other dimensions can jump-start mapping of unpredictable paths. Are other dimensions simply the emerging interdependencies of existing dimensions? Can realities, therefore always generate as many dimensions as they need, until one, initially subtle, emerging interdependency alters a previous probability constraint, and triggers a cascading phase change in an entire economic system, if not the entire universe?  If so, were those dimensions always always there as sub-threshold interdependencies.  Just as with fiat currency, did it just take us this long to recognize the obvious? That makes both us and the Universe out as Transistors, waiting for perfect timing of the appropriate, weak signal gating wholesale phase changes in systems.  Here's a tipping point: BE THE AGILE WEAK FORCE! :) Just look for the right time and place to casually act.

If recombination is everywhere, does evolution task us with exploring all permutations of our logic base PLUS our imaginative exceptions? The weakest one now can still have a blast?Does that mean that the trick is to accelerate, and even degenerately interleave, exit & re-entry between arbitrarily defined sanity and insanity? LOL! It's not just the meek that will inherit, they'll always be left with an equal population of the uninhibited! :) If not, the meek will - by hypermutation - quickly generate the adequate proportions of insane people that they need, and maintain that dynamic by subsequent culling if necessary. Blessed are the recombinant, for they shall inherit the meek, or whatever's left! Like the proverbial honey badger, the recombinant don't care.

Further, it seems that systems with the highest Adaptive Rate are always degenerately - i.e., simultaneously - sane and insane, the more interleaved the better. We all should recognize that particular Catch-22, and laugh at it! It's actually healthy to have our imaginations, and laugh with them too?  Who knew, except everyone, before the last time we started taking ourselves too seriously again!  Forget the Business Cycle as form over function. It's our scalable cultural-self-awareness cycle that causes far more waste, and slows our Adaptive Rate.

Conclusion?  We'd enjoy amazing success if we stimply started training our students, earlier on, to practice simultaneously co-expanding our recombinant base, our system's sanity, and our system's insanity, by keeping all three processes within unfolding co-tolerance limits. Talk about an awesome tuning puzzle! We can do this, and happily spend the rest of our degenerate lives simultaneously engrossed in it and laughing at it! Capitalism as currently defined will someday be remembered as just a very limited, dead-end diversion.  Instead, just return to enjoying outcomes-based training and education.  There's no mystery is accelerating methods for keeping America abreast of what distributed American's know.  Forget restrictive CopyRight, and enjoy the far higher returns available from distributed AdaptiveRight.

If survival of our grandchildren depends upon the nested pattern-recognition PLUS exception handling that we manage to pass on, then we need methods to scale coherence in a self-adapting, highly degenerate cultural network.  That cultural network already features not only fully interleaved re-combination, but continuously degenerate cultural-embryology to boot! We're simply not allowing it enough time and liquidity to practice teamwork! Can we correct that failing?  CONTINUOUS PIECE OF CONTINUOUSLY EATEN CAKE! :) Is there a Cultural Obstreperatrician in this noisy world, standing by to catch all the recombinant events popping out? :) That's where we'll really need robots, to help us store, hold & parse all our exploding cultural options fast enough, so we can keep surfing our Output Wave. It's either that or wipeout.

Social species and human cultures are just the latest to accelerate this never ending task. Our evolving solutions seem to depend upon constantly redefining the smallest distributed feedback set that simultaneously delivers the most affinity PLUS distributed agility FOR A GIVEN CONTEXT. When discussing the quality of distributed-decision making, the "quality" that we refer to has meaning only relative to some completely dynamic reference. In it's most enduring form, "quality" involves optimally accelerating Adaptive Rate, which implies NOT all the time - only when and as needed. Comically that that depends upon Adaptive Jerks. :)

Our reservoir of insane, adaptive jerks provides us with what we really need, but never want - since it's undefined until it's over - resiliency of distributed-decision making. It all boils down to our skill at knowing when to be more insane. Anyone can act insane, but to trigger, mobilize and align group-insanity to sample more potential solutions to the right problems, at the right time, depends upon sane application of the triggering methods, our forgotten but critical Fast Transients.

So the pain in reign falls mostly on those not insane? Imagine that! If your imagination is agile enough! If not, come back to it after some more practice.

So, our job to have our insanity and select from it too? Then we should be much more agile in selecting whom we lock up and whom we elect as leaders. If we feared our imagination less, we'd swap more prisoners and politicians!

Who knew that managing Distributed Imagination requires the ultimate in tuning distributed tolerance limits? All paths to tomorrow's sanity go through today's insanities? So how do we continuously increase our agility at re-labelling yesterday's insanity as tomorrow's sanity in new dimensions? Only by trial and error exploration of exception handling, and a talent for re-expressing indirection as direction. That always involves inventing newly adaptive coordinate systems for reorganizing existing data sets using constraints imposed by previously weak or unrecognized interdependencies, aka, our new dimensions.

To surivive,we really must return to teaching Situational Awareness and Group Maneuver Context Management in elementary school, by giving students practice learning that EVERY new context demands full attention to full process. Parse the context first, then get data, and only then adjust any altered compartmentalization of as few rules as possible. 

If our electorate learned to approach every situation as a new scavenger hunt, we wouldn't be so easily fooled by changing semantics, changing data, or emerging inter-dependencies. To better train our electorate, we'd need a whole host of parables to deliver recognizable, context-specific meaning to people at all stages of development, in all directions of exploration.

Why not use all the unemployed to help us better co-manage our outdated sanity and insane demand for coordinating our emerging imagination?

Show me a robot who can do that job! The Singularity may turn out to require infinitely flexible distribution of sanity/insanity ratios - which means it will never arrive with a bang, just continue to evolve along with a whimper. If you simply redefine humans as the robots trying to tune ecologies, then the Singularity occurred at least a million years ago, and no one noticed for quite a while! :) Fitting!

As usual, we have a more than adequate distribution of people in insane institutions, collectively voting that it will or won't be different this time. It always is, and such people will always, by definition, constitute a comedic singularity distribution which we can sample and select portals through - at will. Face it, there's ALWAYS been an infinite Singularity. We just keep hopping half way to infinity.
Surf's up Dude!