Thursday, January 25, 2007

David Brin's vision for 3rd millenium problem solving...

David Brin frequently uses the medium of science fiction to describe the future. His webcast at Google is deep and heavy, but the good news about such a complex topic presented in webcast form is the ability to stop and start to let our minds wrap around the subject, even while allowing us to go elsewhere to gain better understanding and background on the subject. Brin talks at length about this ability of society to be both "anticipatory" and "resilient." Katrina is an example of the "professional protective cast" calling a stop to what Brin calls "citizen robustness, a resiliency to deal with the crisis."

The result of engaging the professional protective cast, in this case the Department of Homeland Security, FEMA, and a myriad of conflicting Federal and state bureaucracies? More chaos, more harm, and extended suffering. Brin points out that the attention economy isn't new. Our pre-civilization ancestors practiced the principles of the attention economy in furthering human evolution. Synchronous, face-to-face skills honed discourse and solved challenges. And just as we do today in the "new" attention economy, our ancestors practiced selective focus by:
Adjusting distance,
Turning to and away from others,
Heeding reputation,
Favoring what's interesting,
Remembering what's important,
Constructing rules of courtesy,
Keeping a train of thought,
And, staying alert for surprise!
His thesis of 21st century problem solving ultimately boils down to the components of :
and Discourse
We shouldn't lose site of these things as we create educational policies that, unintentionally or otherwise, separate us from citizen robustness and resiliency to deal with the challenges of the 21st century.

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