So, back in the UK for a brief sojourn and I am crossing the atlantic again, this time to Phoenix to speak at and participate in a Highlands Forum session. Accommodation and event courtesy of the Office of the Secretary of Defense with the subject of complexity with a design theme. Several heavy weights at the session including JSB who I haven't seen for a bit and various academics and others from Santa Fe and elsewhere. The Cynefin framework is front and centre which is gratifying, but its also going to be a pleasure to be in a small group albeit challenging.
I made it in the end after a delayed connection in Dallas and got there in time for the Sunday evening session. A general introduction to the two days and a chance for those of us who are presenting to introduce controversial ideas for people to sleep on (in my case as soon as I could get away, a seven hour time difference and twenty fours of travel were taking their toll). Mind you Hertz very kindly gave me an open top car, and I have four days of holiday here in Arizona and New Mexico, so that was a bonus. Travel blogs to follow from Wednesday.
My takeaway was simple: Just as a previous generation confused correlation with causation we are now confusing simulation with prediction. We need to realise that the obsession with purely technology driven solutions to wicked (or as I prefer intractable) problems is dangerous and we need to see technology as augmenting human cognition, triggering extended human sensor networks into states of anticipatory awareness; rather than trying to anticipate the inherently unpredictable.
I'll blog again tomorrow, within the normal rules of disclosure at these sort of events. I am however anticipating some conflict with modelers and those who place their trust in algorithms to understand language.
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