Posts tagged scale

Ecological awareness just means being aware that things happen on a bewildering variety of scales all at once, and that what…

timothy morton, ecology, ecological awareness, hyperobjects, scale, art, 2018

“Ecological awareness just means being aware that things happen on a bewildering variety of scales all at once, and that what that looks like on one scale is very different on another scale. What looks like a boiling kettle to my human eyes looks very different from an electron’s point of view: suddenly finding that you’ve teleported to a higher orbit isn’t the same as the smooth, chattery-sounding phenomenon we call boiling. And once you become aware of the idea that there are all these extra scales, you begin to notice that some scales are so big or so small (that also includes “long lasting” or “fleeting” too) that all we can mostly do is report and observe—or, if you like, undergo or endure.”

Timothy Morton,Will All Artists Please Come to a White Courtesy Telephone

Massive Change — 10 Provocations for the Next 10 years of Social Innovation.

Medium, social innovation, scale, challenges, Indy Johar, 2017

The last ten years have been an important, formative period for the revival of social innovation, we have seen a new generation of actors contribute to the renewal of our societal goods. The work of the Young Foundation, Nesta, McConnell foundation, MaRS, Big Society Capital, SIX, TACSI, Impact Hubs and too many others to mention have been critical in seeding this question and driving its renewal globally.

Much of the work, has been focused on prototyping, understanding where the opportunity for change is and testing out micro additions or addressing edge failures in the welfare model — be it public, private or civic. Modest beginnings, and rightly so. Thereby, the work to date has largely been limited to relatively small scale interventions — tinkering & fixing at the very edges – the so called market or public service delivery failings ( social innovation projects to date have been driven largely by black swan procurement). Simultaneously and slowly over that period the sector has become stuck in the hope that “a theory of scale and impact” borrowed from the VC world and the Silicon Valley start-up landscape would be its structured salvation to societal impact.

This is not to decry an age of testing and discovery but it is also important to collectively recognise we have not gone after and meaningfully challenged mainstream social institutional infrastructure and its associated outcomes — which absorbs not just 100,000s of pounds through, but in the orders of Billions. As a community we have also failed to move any significant chunk of resource that the government allocates to military, technology or business innovation, into social innovation and the everyday services and social structures we most rely on.


The people trying to save democracy from itself

democracy, ideas, scale, politics, DIP, G1000, G20, charisma, leadership

These are difficult days for democracy. European nations struggle to elect governments on low turnouts. Populists wielding half-truths go from strength to strength. Facts are a devalued currency, personalities never more important. People use ballot boxes to bloody the noses of the political elite. Young people are particularly jaded. Late adopters such as Russia and Turkey are turning their backs. In its original sense, rule by the people, democracy seems to be in retreat. Perhaps because of this, or in spite of it, experiments in new manifestations of democracy are proliferating. And some may offer a more tangible experience for ordinary people than the remote, mundane exercise of voting for a stranger once every four or five years.


The dark side of digital finance: On financial machines, financial robots & financial AI

Suitpossum, finance, automation, digitisation, scale, efficiency, exploitation, labour, Capitalism

But, ‘human interfaces’ are actually quite costly to maintain. People are alive, and thus need food, sick leave, maternity leave and education. They also have a troublesome awareness of exploitation and an unpredictable ability to disobey, defraud, make mistakes or go rogue. Thus, over the years corporate managers have tried to push the power balance in this hybrid model towards the machine side. In their ideal world, bank executives would get rid of as many manual human elements as possible and replace them with software systems moving binary code around on hard drives, a process they refer to as 'digitisation’. Corporate management is fond of digitisation – and other forms of automation – because it is a force for scale, standardisation and efficiency – and in turn lowers costs, leading to enhanced profits.


Big programming, small programming

programming, PLT, glow, scale, computing

Programming is complicated. Different programs have different abstraction levels, domains, platforms, longevity, team sizes, etc ad infinitum. There is something fundamentally different between the detailed instructions that goes into, say, computing a checksum and the abstractions when defining the flow of data in any medium-sized system. I think that the divide between coding the details and describing the flow of a program is so large that a programming language could benefit immensely from keeping them conceptually separate. This belief has led me to design a new programming language - Glow - that has this separation at its core.

Does it Scale?

Adrian Hon, scale, occupy, 2011, politics, business, media

We’ve treated ’scale’ like an unalloyed good for so long that it seems peculiar to question it. There are plenty of reasons for wanting to scale businesses and services up to make more things for more people in more areas; perhaps the strongest is that things usually get cheaper and quicker to provide. The problem is that scale has a cost, and that’s being unable to respond to the wants and needs of unique individuals. Theoretically, that’s not a problem in a free market, but of course, we don’t have a free market, and we certainly don’t have a free market when it comes to politics and media.

Algorithmic book writing

algorothms, books, publishing, online, long tail, compiling, scale, book machine

Philip M. Parker, Professor of Marketing at INSEAD Business School, has had a side project for over 10 years. He’s created a computer system that can write books about specific subjects in about 20 minutes. The patented algorithm has so far generated hundreds of thousands of books. In fact, Amazon lists over 100,000 books attributed to Parker, and over 700,000 works listed for his company, ICON Group International, Inc. This doesn’t include the private works, such as internal reports, created for companies or licensing of the system itself through a separate entity called EdgeMaven Media.