This article is about ways to shape your decisions and changes through understanding system intervention.
No one can define or measure justice, democracy, security, freedom, truth, or love. No one can define or measure any value. But if no one speaks up for them, if systems aren’t designed to produce them, if we don’t speak about them and point toward their presence or absence, they will cease to exist.”
Ever wanted to change the world and it didn’t work out?
Tried to give up smoking and it didn’t work?
Didn’t want that new freeway next to your home?
Want to stop the next nuclear war?
Annoyed that a political activist might be in prison longer than an actual criminal?
Ever heard the expression “using a sledge hammer to crack a nut”? That is what this is about. What is the thing you want to change (e.g. the nut in the shell to be made available to eat) versus the tool you use to achieve (e.g. sledge hammer or a specifically designed nut cracker). Now sure a sledge hammer will get the job done, but the nut might be pulverised in the process. It’s just about using the right tool for the right outcome.
Here is a cool list (below 1–12) to work out how effective a “change” you want to enact might work out. It can also be used to shape important decisions you need to make.
The way it works is that #12 is the least effective and #1 is the most effective. It doesn’t mean that #12 isn’t effective. It just means that #12 changes less than #6. Depending on what you want to change, then #12 might be quite fine.
This can be useful to us in life in at least three ways:
A. Expectations: We often work to change something and the outcome is better or worse than we expected. This can occur because we are applying, for example, a #6 change and expecting the outcome of #1. Of course the outcome will be disappointing. However, if we apply a #6 change and model our expectations on a #6 change, then we should be fairly happy. At other times we might have a better outcome than we expected. Well, that is probably just because you may have thought (unconsciously perhaps) that you were apply a #6 change, but in reality your efforts/idea led to it being a #4 change. Want to change the world? Well, just simply fiddling with #12 won’t get you #1. But at least #12 might be a start on the pathway and set your expectations consciously and accordingly.
B. Decisions: Ever need to make an important decision about something? Well, a decision often relates to a change. Decisions inevitably lead to initiating a change in your life about something. You can assess how difficult/effective your decision might be, by considering what the change is based on the list below. Find it on the list and then consider if that is really what you want to do, or could you aim for more? You may want to start thinking more positively. So you may decide to then apply change #8. However, to really make a change in your life, just ceasing negative thoughts might not get you the outcome you really desire, so perhaps consider #3 instead. Or, at the very least, don’t expect to do #8 and get the outcome of #3.
C. Scale and scope: Consider the scope of the change and the resources/support you will need. You can’t change the world (#2) on your own. You will need resources and support. You can change yourself in small and large ways on your own, however, #1 requires more will power, discipline and energy than say #12.
PLACES TO INTERVENE IN A SYSTEM
12. Constants, parameters, numbers (such as subsidies, taxes, standards).
11. The sizes of buffers and other stabilizing stocks, relative to their flows.
10. The structure of material stocks and flows (such as transport networks, population age structures).
9. The lengths of delays, relative to the rate of system change.
8. The strength of negative feedback loops, relative to the impacts they are trying to correct against.
7. The gain around driving positive feedback loops.
6. The structure of information flows (who does and does not have access to information).
5. The rules of the system (such as incentives, punishments, constraints).
4. The power to add, change, evolve, or self-organize system structure.
3. The goals of the system.
2. The mindset or paradigm out of which the system — its goals, structure, rules, delays, parameters — arises.
1. The power to transcend paradigms.
So, what is a system? A system is a set of things — people, cells, molecules, or whatever — interconnected in such a way that they produce their own pattern of behaviour over time.
This tool is designed to be used as a way of better understanding what the layers/levels of change are, what we want to change, viability of the change based on resources we have directly available to us and what we are currently doing. The purpose is to create transparency for us of the discrepancy/alignment between those four things:
Less stress about change will result purely from the transparency. Why? We should not get upset about what we can not change, do not want to change or have change mismatch around. This is deeply important information that can then help us get alignment. Don't want to change it? Well then why the anguish? Perhaps it is the frustration of not having the resources necessary for the change? That then becomes the focus of effort - getting the resources required.
Sometimes the change we want to see will simply not materialise if the necessary resources, effort and belief required are mismatched and misaligned.
This should provide greater personal
This article is based on the following if you would like to read more about systems intervention:
First published in medium.com on 13th April 2018.
Trees are dying at an alarming rate, for different reasons in disparate parts of the planet from NZ, Australia, Americas, Europe, Africa - everywhere.
Here is a summary of recent reports of tree deaths and disease - many being unstoppable. Trees in NZ which are hundreds if not thousands of years old are dying and may well be extinct within years.
Understanding the reasons and treatments is proving much more challenging than many expected - particularly governments and populations which want simple quick remediation. They seem less likely to be interested in the range of potential causes: colonisation, climate change, decades of ecological mismanagement, deadly pollutants, urbanisation and many more human induced reasons.
Worse is the fact that many of these species extinctions can no longer be treated, prevented or mitigated.
We simply have gone past the many layers and stages of ecological imbalance that cannot be repaired.
What do you know? If you know of, or locate excellent articles on the state of our trees and what this means, then let us know.
To be continued...
There has been a brief trend across Facebook with people sharing two images of themselves - a current image, and an image from 10 years ago.
Some people got wise to this one fairly quickly and highlighted the risk that you might just be helping train facial recognition software.
Imagine that you wanted to train a facial recognition algorithm on age-related characteristics and, more specifically, on age progression (e.g., how people are likely to look as they get older). Ideally, you'd want a broad and rigorous dataset with lots of people's pictures. It would help if you knew they were taken a fixed number of years apart—say, 10 years.
Well, here is the good news. You've already been training artificial intelligence (AI) for up to ten years. One of the earliest instances was the "captcha" process which was designed (in part), to hamper technical attacks by bots, hackers and other bad actors. Over the years, a variety of these captcha processes and variants developed, albeit for increasingly different purposes.
CAPTCHA = Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart
Some examples over the past ten years:
Around 2009, Google got involved and started using the captcha process. Users encountering the captcha process were unsuspectingly training computers to recognise unclear text scanned in from newspapers and books. A computers ability to read your handwritten text also has you to thank for the training you've provided.
While used mostly for security reasons, CAPTCHAs also serve as a benchmark task for artificial intelligence technologies. According to an article by Ahn, Blum and Langford, any program that passes the tests generated by a CAPTCHA can be used to solve a hard unsolved AI problem.
More recent captcha deployments have been used to train driver-less car. You may have been shown images of cars, traffic lights, shops and street signs to differentiate and select from. Some of these images might be a single image divided into 9 - 16 panels, or 9 separate images. And while the security rationale still exists somewhat, the main purpose is to get you to spend around 10 seconds to train a computer - one that will likely take your job before the next 10 years.
Your selections are then compiled, compared with other responses that enable computer training. AI software programs can be tested for accuracy, consistency and learning ability against the human response set.
The process is continuously advancing and now you are being unwittingly invited through these meme games to invest even more time training the AI computers. The ten year challenge meme invites users to post a photo of themselves 10 years apart. This helps provide a clear point of reference for the technology to analyse and re-calibrate facial detection. Even if you don't participate, or if you post bogus pictures, does not matter. Providing enough people participate randomly (~around 3,000+), the data set gathered will be sufficient to use for computer analysis and testing purposes.
In fact, your bogus pictures are incredibly useful as well. Computers need to learn irrelevant data sets as much as they need correct results.
Here is a summary of what to expect next in the world of AI training (some of which is already happening):
Every month, AI systems are improving rapidly. They now perform millions of tasks that humans are either ineffective at performing or are too slow. Ultimately, AI systems will run your life for you, and eventually (if they have not already) will make your job redundant.
Thanks for your help to train computers!
More reads and references:
There are probably few figures in the world today as contentious as the current President of the United States – Donald Trump.
Apparently, what is more contentious is how/why Donald Trump became President.
In the months following the initial shock, I personally read as much as I could about how this seeming travesty of natural justice could occur. As the months went by, more stories filtered through.
Did the Democrats themselves sabotage fielding of the best candidate?
Was it Russian interference and/or illegal use of fake Facebook profiles?
Did “fake news” prevail?
Is the US electoral system fundamentally flawed?
Were voters always just closet right wing extremists anyway?!
Is Trump is a product of the failures and arrogance of the Left? Or did bad actors sabotaged/self-sabotaged the Left which emboldened the Right rhetoric and blame?
Is Trump is a product of the failures and arrogance of the Left?
First, if you are in the “Trump is bad” camp, why does it matter if Trump is President? Hopefully the concern for who holds the Office of the President of the United States is because we care “to preserve and promote the dignity and fundamental rights of the individual, to achieve social justice, foster the economic and social development of the community, strengthen the cohesion of society and enhance national tranquillity, as well as to create a climate that is favourable for international peace”(1). And perhaps not just a good climate for international peace, but perhaps a good climate for ensuring stability of our environment, ecology and breathable air – least we fast track extinction of life forms on this planet.
Second, the election of Donald Trump has had and will continue to have major impacts on the political dynamics of other democracies. So, I believe we should sincerely care a lot about the impacts to voting patterns in other countries. The lean towards the “right” is not simply a phenomenon in the United States – just look at what has been occurring across Europe, Brazil, Australia and many other democracies.
My real intent is to consider how we can work towards an aligned and peaceful world overcoming such divisive politics. Calling a mid-West US Trump voter "dumb" is not going create peace on earth - it is more likely to exasperate the situation and will eventually lead to armed conflict.
Shouldn’t those on the “left” of politics seek to understand and engage with the right leaning voters to understand what their concerns are? To simply denounce right leaning voters as stupid, ignorant, or at worst evil is not going to make the world a better place – unless you want a war (noting the fact that all three major world conflicts between 1914 and 1975 were entered into by Democrat US Presidents). Whatever happened to engagement, negotiation and pragmatism? Many of my "left friends" seem just as extreme as the very people they target/believe are "the problem".
Before blaming the “other” side, perhaps we should consider if and how bad actors infiltrated the Left resulting in an environment planned and designed to provide the fuel for other bad actors to promote a shift to the Right. There were already millions of voters who felt disenfranchised and bad actors have deliberately manipulated these voters.
Here is a summary of reads that illustrate many other writers have also considered this issue and theory.
From my perspective, we need to weed out bad actors on both sides of politics, and in the meantime, demonising manipulated Right-wing voters will not solve the problem. We need fight against bad actors (whichever side of politics they sit), restore truth in politics and unite against threats to sustainable human existance.
How social activists got hoodwinked by Capitalism
The Great Sun Exposure Scam - 13th January 2019
Over the past six months there have been several articles highlighting gross and dangerous misunderstandings about sun exposure, skin cancer risks and Vitamin D supplements. Many of these (obviosuly) are linked to following the money trail and who has been benefiting from Vitamin D supplements, testing, melanoma testing/surgery, sunscreens and that is just the direct impacts! There are even more scandalous fortunes being made from creating other medical conditions through engineering childhood behaviours that will lead with certainty to disease outcomes later in life.
It seems that when it comes to "health", there is alot of money to be made from diease and even perceived disease. At an estimated USD$8 trillion being spent on healthcare globally, who wouldn't want to get a slice of the pie and even get a bigger helping.
Links, references and readings...
The game is up. That thing you just bought for $10 has a "true cost" of $100. But the $90 you didn't pay is an accumulated debt you don't see...yet.
A new (interim) report by a group of scientists appointed by the UN Secretary General recognises that world economy cannot continue in the face of the unprecedented catastrophic ecological disaster we now face on earth.
It works like this...
The majority of the worlds "advanced" economies have effectively been creating an extraordinary environmental "debt". Almost everything you buy is subsidised by the deferral of the environmental cost of everything. Almost everything you buy is at least one tenth of the real/true cost. The thing that costs you $1, really costs $10. The $9 is the cost to fix the environment as a consequence of the $1 item. However, the $9 is deferred. Otherwise you wouldn't buy it. So the cost for fixing the environment is deferred as a future debt.
However, the problem is now evident that the accumulating debt cannot be paid back under the present economic system.
Have you heard about the Yellow vest protests in France? Well, that is the consequence of trying to start to reflect the true cost of petroleum.
Since World War 2, the earth's population has been creating a debt that is now so large that no one can afford the cost to repair the earth's ecology (or at least they won't pay, or can't agree who should pay).
If we had to start paying the real cost of everything, the global economy would crash almost instantly. The ensuing mayhem would leave civil society in tatters.
So, there are going to be only three main options: (1) allow the environment to continue to exponentially decline towards a state that can no longer support human life; (2) the debt has to be paid back, and very quickly; OR (3) restructure and manage the global economy centrally.
The forthcoming global economic recession will enable a major reset of the world economy which might be able to prevent us spiralling into extinction. The UN is therefore preparing its Global Sustainable Development Report for release this year. This will outline the options the world has and provide a blueprint for realignment of the global economy towards "true cost" economics. This pathway will be painful, however, the reality is this: start paying the true cost or humans face extinction quicker than we could have ever imagined.
Summary links/references/further reading:
The Story of Stuff: https://youtu.be/9GorqroigqM
It's our fault! https://twitter.com/bbcone/status/1141075861791096832