“[A]n unrecorded decision may well be, indeed should be, considered as a sure sign that something fundamental has gone wrong with the decision-making process, that one should look for the presence of schemers who can impose projects on those who should know better; that one should also look for powerful external pressures reverberating through the decision-making process — pressures that cannot be resisted and lead to decisions for which there is no real acceptance of responsibility (and are therefore unrecorded). All of this serves to underline a point that is not stressed enough in the political science literature: decision-making is fundamentally a process for assuming responsibility for a proposed action.” Allison, Graham., Zelikow, Philip. (1999) Essence of Decision. 2nd Edition.[…]

A major source of suffering is caused by the chasm between what is and what is preferred. There are at least three ways of alleviating this suffering: In this post, I’ll expand on the concept of what is preferred, attempt to differentiate bullshit from Futurescapes, and argue that Futurescapes are a powerful reframing tool. What is preferred I’ll focus on the suffering that exists because of preferences about the future that are unrealized today. The future is malleable. Liubertė and Dimov [1] wrote a gem of a paper in 2021. They were curious about how Elizabeth Holmes used language to create a portrait of the future. Rindova and Martins (2022) [2] made a valuable contribution about how these portraits, Futurescapes,[…]

“We reject kings, presidents and voting. We believe in rough consensus and running code” –David D Clarke I thank Sunny Aggarwal for putting quote above on his presentation at Cosmoverse on September 27, 2022. This post is about that quote and a few primitive thoughts linking learning, organization design, and perspective coordination. Kings, presidents and voting Kings, presidents, and voting can be placed on an axis. A king is centralized authority with relatively little consent. A president is centralized authority with consent. Voting is distributed authority with consent. In each step, the relative power of the hierarchy to impose arbitrary decisions upon a network is checked by some reactive network mechanism. It is still common in some parts of the[…]

Benedict Evans writes fantastic writing prompts. He’ll make references to different first principles, and he’ll go onto build arguments out of them later. Sometimes I agree with them. Sometimes I don’t. He does provoke thought. One theme is the nature of people. On October 9, 2020, Benedict Evans wrote: We connected everybody, and that meant we connected all the bad people and the idiots, and our own worst instincts, and all society’s problems get expressed in software. Sometimes the Internet amplifies and channels that, but maybe sometimes the Internet is people. On April 23, 2021, Benedict Evans wrote: Old: if you make something idiot-proof, God creates a better idiot.  New: if you create an Internet service that’s proof against assholes,[…]

Somewhere along the way, I came to believe that the word causal came from the word because. Because there’s a cause contained in the word because. The word is almost like a commandment. Be the cause. I don’t think that’s really true. It’s just a silly association. The word because seems to be an element of a persuasive argument. How about a little thought experiment? Consider the assessment: “Peaches are gross.” Okay, you may have one or many positions on this controversial subject: You agree because your experience matches that statement, you disagree because your experience does not match that statement, you may not agree nor disagree because it’s possible that some peaches are gross and some other peaches are[…]