Technomotive – a new word for a digital age

Tech – no – mo – tive (adjective)

  1. A response in a person to hype over quantities, subjective quality, parameters and perceived possibilites.
  2. Discarding or overriding other important factors in a debate or decision, due to [1]
  3. Examples:
    • Being an audiophile she bought the $5000 cable, blinded by her technomotive weakness.
    • Like any car salesman, they used technomotive language, reading out the 0-100kmph acceleration time, and power output of the engine.
    • The politician knew the 100mbps figure would be technomotive to journalists and tax-payers alike.
    • Technomotive descriptions held the audience’s attention
    • The entire domain of technomotive persuasion is largely unexplored
  4. Related forms:
    Technomotively (adverb)
    Technomotiveness, Technomotivity (noun)

The need for a new word

Pathos, Ethos and Logos were recognised in ancient Greek times. Back then there were no computers or technology as we perceive it, but there were quantities. It would have been useful, but not as important as the information age. Other traditional motivators of Pathos, Ethos and Logos contribute. The desire to brag to friends and family are obvious, but not a necessary underlying motivator. The key difference in these times, is the pace of change introduces a tangible factor of

The key difference in these times, is the pace of change introduces a tangible factor of obsolescence, and the environment of expectations and culture that arise. A person who considers technomotive factors, is not necessarily technomotively pursuaded, if they balance other considerations well. Although obsolescence is objectively real, this rarely justifies getting the best and paying a premium. (Although there are logical exceptions, such as Military and Space Science)

Technomotive persuasion been a common technique for over 100 years, but never had a name. It is a word which helps analyze persuasive writing, and arguments wherever quantities or qualities are expressed or experienced, but typically in a technology context. This new word provides a handle for analysis, and is the beggining of deeper research of the domain.

A work in progress

I identified the need for this word about 6 years ago, with several attempts to articulate and refine. I hope others will find it useful and contribute more ideas and research in this domain. I’ll continue to write more below, but hopefully the writing above is a sufficient and stable definition to move forward with.

Futher examples

Lots of examples can be found in marketing material and article headlines, here are some examples of Technomotive language (in quotes):

  •  “Experience mind-blowing, heart pumping, knee shaking PhysX and …” – Technomotive language, appeals to the desire to have the best possible gaming experience.
  • “Today is so yesterday” – Technomotive language, appealing to desire to have the latest technology
  • “Planning to overclock your shiny new Core i5 system? Kingston reckons it has the RAM you need.” – Technomotive language, appeals to the desire to have the latest and most powerful technology.
  • The skyscraper was made up of 4,000T of steel and concrete
  • The new dam holds 4000GL of water, enough to…

More on Ignoring Economics

A good example is building one’s own PC. People with the money will often splurge on the best of everything, followed by benchmarking, to feed their technomotive desire for performance. When economics is considered, this isn’t the best choice. Last years technology performs 20% less, but will cost 50-80% less. Economics is less of a consideration when someone is driven by technomotive desire.
In decisionmaking, in the case of building a PC, it might be for gaming. One might justify the additional cost for the better quality of gameplay (another technomotivation). Rather than considering that economics are unfavorable in a judgemental tone, one should rather reflect that technomotive desires have the biggest influence.

Ideas

Which may be used to update the core definition or the section [need for a new word]

  • “Accentuate quantities”
  • Informal word: “drooling”
  • Decouple from obsolescence – while not in the definition, it is in the detail. Obsolescence is related, but I suspect should be kept separate to clarify the definition of technomotive. The more existing terms are explored and used, the better Technomotive can be refined.
    • Technomotive – quanitities.
    • Obsolescence –
    • Nostalgia – One doesn’t think of an old computer in terms of Technomotive, we consider it obsolete, but it can have appeal by way of nostalgia.

Keywords

  • Persuasion
  • Horsepower
  • Kilowatt
  • Speed
  • Power

The Fraying of Communication and a proposed solution: Bind

In medicine the misinterpretation of a doctors notes could be deadly. I propose that the ambiguity, of even broader discourse, has a serious and undiscovered impact. This problem needs to be researched, and will be expounded further but I would like to explore a solution, which I hope will further open your understanding of the problem.

As with all effective communication, I’m going to name this problem: Fraying. For a mnemonic, consider the ends of a frayed string being one of the many misinterpretations.

His lie was exposed, covered in mud, he had to get away from his unresponsive betraying friend: the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.

That’s my quick attempt of an example where context can be lost. What did the writer mean? What can a reader or machine algorithm misinterpret it to mean? Even with the preceding context, the final sentence can actually still be interpreted many ways. It’s frayed in a moderate way with minor impact.

In this example, it would be possible for the author to simply expound further on that final sentence, but that could ruin the rhythm for the reader (of that story). Another method, is to add such text in parenthesis. Either way, it’s a lot of additional effort by multiple parties. And particularly in business, we strive to distill our messages to be short, sharp and to the point.

My answer of course is a software solution, but one where plain text is still handled and human readable. It’s a simple extensible scheme, and again I name it: Bind (going with a string theme).

The quick [fast speed] brown fox [animal] jumped [causing lift] over [above] the lazy dog [animal]

With this form, any software can present the data. One with understanding of the scheme, can remove the square brackets if there is no facility for an optimized viewing experience. For example:

The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog

(Try putting your mouse over the lighter coloured words)

Since the invention of the computer and keyboard, such feats have been possible, but not simply, and certainly not mainstream.

So it would be important to proliferate a Binding text editor which is capable of capturing the intent of the writer.

The benefits of Binding go beyond solving Fray. They add more context for disability accessibility (I would argue Bind is classed as an accessibility feature – for normative people), and depending on how many words are Bound, even assist with language translation.

Imagine Google Translate with a Binding text editor, the translations would be much more accurate. Imagine Google search, where you type “Leave” and hover over the word and select [Paid or unpaid time off work], leaving you less encumbered with irrelevant results.

Such input for search and translation need not wait for people to manually bind historical writing. Natural Language Processing can bear most of the burden and when reviewing results, a human can review the meaning the computer imputed, and edit as needed.

We just need to be able to properly capture our thoughts, and I’m sure we’ll get the hang of it.

Hey, by the way, please add your own narrative ideas for “the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog”, what other stories can that sentence tell?

Appendix – Further Draft Specification of Bind:

Trailer MetaData Option:

  • Benefit: the metadata is decoupled visually from the plain text. This makes viewing on systems without support for the Bind metadata still tolerable for users.
  • Format: [PlainText][8x Tabs][JSON Data]
  • Json Schema: { BindVersion: 1, Bindings: […], (IdentifierType: “Snomed”) }
  • Binding Schema: { WordNumber: X, Name: “Z”, Identifier: “Y”, Length: 1}
  • Word Number: Word index, when words are delimited by whitespace and punctuation is trimmed.

Mixed MetaData Option:

  • When multiple preceding words are covered by the Binding, a number of dash indicates how many more words are covered. Bind Text: “John Smith [-Name]” indicates the two words “John Smith” are a Name.
  • The identifiers specified in ontological databases such as Snomed, may be represented with a final dash and then the identifier. Bind Text: “John Smith [-Name-415]” indicates a word definition identifier of 415, which may have a description of “A person’s name”.
  • When a square bracket is intended by the author, output a double square bracket. Bind Text: “John Smith [-Name] [[#123456]]” renders plainly to “John Smith [#123456]”

Music needs Intelligence and hard work

In all things, I believe a persons’ overall intelligence is the first factor which determines their performance. Some of the best sporting athletes find themselves running successful business ventures. The same goes for the best comedians. Of course hard work and training are necessary for any craft that an intelligent person applies themselves to, but good outcomes seldom happen by accident.

Today I stumbled across a YouType clip – Haywyre – Smooth Criminal and concluded that this was one smart guy, and at such a young age! This assumption was further supported by some brief research through other news articles about him. He has done most of the mastering of his albums and wouldn’t be surprised if he produced the YouTube video clip and website on his own too! When such intelligence collides with a focused hard work ethic this is what you get. Of the music articles so far written, I don’t think any of the writers have realized yet that they are writing about a genius just getting started.

His style definitely resonates with me, with his Jazz and Classical roots, but most importantly for me is the percussive expression that drives his compositions. Too many people will be captivated by the improvisation in the melody, but that’s only one layer of his complex compositions. If he’s still working solo, he will need to find good people to collaborate with into the future to reach his full potential. I hope Martin applies himself to other genres of music and other pursuits.

I happen to work in the software development industry, and found that it doesn’t matter how much schooling or experience someone has had, anyone can have their potential capped by their overall intelligence. One’s brain capacity is somewhat determined by genes, diet and early development. Once you have fully matured, there’s little or no ability to increase your brain power. That would be confronting for a lot of people who find themselves eclipsed by giants of thought.

So it’s no wonder why intelligence is seldom a measure of a person these days. Musicians are often praised as being talented for their good music, but that excludes all others: they must have some magical talent to succeed. As with creativity, the truth is less interesting, but very important. We should be pushing young children to develop intelligence, and value intelligence, not Hollywood “talent”. I suspect that valuing intelligence publicly, risks implying lack of intelligence for ineffective musicians (the same applying to other crafts).

Don’t let political politeness take over.

Digital Things

The “Internet of Things” is now well and truly established as a mainstream buzzword. The reason for its success could be explored at length, however this term is becoming overused, just like “Cloud”. The term has come to mean many different things to different people in different situations. “Things” works well to describe technology reaching smaller items, but “Internet” is only a component of a broader field that we can call Digital Things.

This Digital Things revolution is largely driven by the recent accessibility of tools, such as Arduino, Raspberry Bi and more. Miniaturization of computing that stretches even the definition of embedded computing. Millions of people are holding such tools in their hands wondering what to do with them. They all experience unique problems, and we see some amazing ideas emerge from these masses.

In health, the quantified self may eventually see information flow over the internet, but that’s not what all the fuss is about. Rather, it’s about Information from Things. Measuring as much as we can, with new sensors being the enablers of new waves of information. We want to collect this information and analyse it. Connecting these devices to the internet is certainly useful to collect and analyse this information.

Then there are many applications for the Control of Things. Driverless cars are generally not internet connected, neither are vacuum robots, burger building machines, a novel 100k colour pen or many many more things. It would seem the of the term Internet of Things as inspiration limits the possibilities.

In the end, Digital Things is the most suitable term to describe what we are seeing happen today. We are taking things in our lives which normally require manual work, and using embedded electronics to solve problems, whether it be for information or control, the internet is not always necessary.

Lets build some more Digital Things.

We will never meet a space-exploring or pillaging Alien

The thought of Aliens capture the imagination, countless worlds beyond our own with advanced civilizations. But I have strong suspicions that we will never meet an Alien. I’ve always had my doubts, and then I read an article recently which uses very sound reasoning to preclude their existence (I don’t have the reference for the specific one).

DON’T EXIST

It basically goes:

  1. The Universe is roughly 13 billion years old – plenty of time for Aliens to develop technology
  2. The Universe is gigantic – plenty of places for various Aliens to develop technology
  3. We would want to find other Aliens – Other Aliens would want to also look for other life
  4. Why haven’t they found us? Why haven’t we found them?
  5. Because they don’t exist
When we first started surveying space and searching for Aliens we would have found them, they, as we do, would have been transmitting signals indicating intelligence.
NEVER MEET
But there is also another, less compelling, reason. The Universe appears to be expanding, and accelerating that expansion. Unless worm-hole traversal is found to be practically feasible, the whole meeting part will never happen.
OTHER REASONS
Here’s some more links to other blogs and articles I found, which also add some more information and other reasons which logically prove that Aliens don’t exist:
I guess, that one or even several logical reasons cannot prove absolutely that Aliens do not exist, we can only be 99.9% or more confident for example. Unless we search all the cosmos and conclude that none exist, can it be an absolute fact. We could have an Alien turn up tomorrow, and explain they have searched the Universe and only just recently found us, and that it’s only them and us and that their home world is hidden behind another galaxy or nebula or something. So logic alone is not definitive, but it is certainly a good guide if the logic itself is not disproven.
Take Fermat’s Last Theorem for example, it was proven, “358 years after it was conjectured”. There were an infinite amount of solutions to the problem, and so an exhaustive evaluation was not practical, a mathematical verification was required. Many believed it to be true of course, but Mathematics being a science, required proof.
So unless we can prove that Aliens don’t exist with scientific observation, and not just with probability, one cannot say with authority that Aliens don’t exist, but at the same time, one definately cannot believe that Aliens do exist without significant proof.

Civilisation Manual

Lakshadweep, comprising tiny low-lying islands...
Image via Wikipedia

What would happen if an asteroid struck our planet and left a handful of people to restart civilisation? Or if you and few people washed up on an uninhabited island with nothing but the shirt on your back? Many would picture building huts, scavenging for food, starting some basic crops if possible. But that would be it, the limit. You wouldn’t comprehend completely rebuilding civilisation and luxuries available as they are today. But I do, I’m curious, what would it take? If all you could take with you was a book, what would be written in that book, what does the Civilisation Manual say?

Whenever there is talk of civilisation it seems that all you hear is philosophy, but seldom the practicality of achieving it. I assert that the creation of such a Civilisation Manual would be a useful undertaking, not so much for its hypothetical uses, but rather for the ability to teach how modern economies work. I believe that such a book should be able to contain all, if not more, information taught to children in a school. Such a book might be very large.

There would also be additional questions to be said of the hypothetical end of the world scenario. How long would it take

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 21: The sign for t...
Image by Getty Images via @daylife

to rebuild a civilisation to current day technology? What tools would most quickly speed up the process? Is there a minimum amount of people required for this to work? What level of intelligence is required to execute? Just one genius? How long until the female primeval desire for shopping is satisfied? And the perfect shoe manufactured?

Encyclopaedia Beliana 1
Image via Wikipedia

I would love to see a community website started to collect such information. We already have Wikipedia, but you are not told the intimate detail of how to find iron ore, how to cast iron, how to produce flour from wheat or how to build a crude resistor or capacitor to help you make more refined components. It is this knowledge which is hard to find, perhaps we are forgetting how we build a digital civilisation.

Also, given the opportunity to build a civilisation from scratch, there may be some interesting ideas which could be included, never encountered in history before. For example, the book could focus on automation, relieving the humans from hard and repetitive tasks. This could go even further than what is achieved today. In 10 years, perhaps robots will be washing and ironing clothes, cooking meals, etc..

What a Civilisation Manual should NOT contain:

  • Advertising
  • References to Gilligan’s Island
  • Everything – put in the most useful and if you have time add more.

What a Civilisation Manual should contain:

  • Very brief justifications of suggestions – it’s not a history book, it’s a survival book. It’s good to reassure the reader of the thought which goes into each of the suggestions in the book. Such as, if X happens to a person, cut their leg off. Briefly describing blood poisoning might be more reassuring.
  • Tried and tested procedures and instructions – can a 10-year-old kid work it out, or does it require an academic professor? and do you replace the palm frond roof monthly or yearly?
  • Many appendices:
    • A roadmap to digital civilisation – showing a tree of pre-requisite steps and sections on achieving each of the steps.
    • Recipes – Particularly useful when all you’ve got is coconuts and fish. How do you clean a fish?
    • Inter-language Dictionary – who knows who you’ll be with.
    • Plant Encyclopaedia – Identification of and uses for plants.
    • Animal  Encyclopaedia – Do I cuddle the bear?
    • Health Encyclopaedia – How do I deliver the baby?

And an example of chapters:

  • Atomic coffee maker designed by Giordano Robbiati
    Image via Wikipedia

    Something like “Don’t panic, breathe… you took the right book, in 5 years you’ll have a coffee machine again”

  • Chapter 1: Basic Needs – You’ll find out about these first, food, water, shelter.
  • Chapter 2: Politics and Planning – Several solutions for governing the group should be provided to choose from, a bit like a glossy political catalogue. It won’t contain things like Dictatorship, Monarchy. More like Set Leader, Rotating Leader or The Civilisation Manual is our leader. Planning will mostly be pre-worked in the appendix, where technology succession is described with expected timelines for each item.
  • Chapter 3: Power  – No not electricity, power. This section explains its importance and how to harness power, from wind/water for milling to animals for plowing. Of course the progression of civilisation would eventually lead to electricity.
The book should also contain several pencils, many blank pages and maybe we could sneak it a razor blade. This doesn’t break the rules of only being allowed to have a book. Publishers are always including CD’s and bookmarks…
I think it would be interesting anyway…
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Creativity. Just Pulleys and Levers.

Growing up as a kid, I was captivated by magic tricks and wanted to know how they were done. Pulling a rabbit out of a hat, the slight of hand, the magnets, the hidden cavity. They would have you believe that they were achieving something beyond the physical laws, that they had a supernatural power. TV shows and literature thrive in unveiling the surprising simple process of even the most elaborate illusions.

Creativity is the last remaining magic trick.

Western culture goes to great lengths to idolize and mystify it. “It’s a gift”, “It’s a talent”, “They must use the right side of their brain”. Paintings and artworks are highly prized, some running into the millions of dollars. The creative process in the mind seems elusive and magic. Society seems to think that creativity is only for a select few. The fanfare and mystique of creativity, adds to the performance.

They’re wrong.

Creativity is a simple process of random noise and judgement, two very tangible logical concepts. It’s a process. Like a magician’s rabbit in a hat. This doesn’t take away from the impact of the product of creativity, but it does dispell the super human status of the skill.

Small Things

Creativity doesn’t just happen once in an artwork, it happens multiple times at different levels, in small amounts, but always with the same components of random noise and judgment.

A painter may start with a blank canvas and no idea of what they will paint. They then recall memories, images and emotions which all feed as both random noise and experience for judgement. They then choose a scene, the first round of creativity has occurred.

The painter will not recall perfectly all the details of the scene, but will have to choose how the scene would be composed. In their mind they imagine the horizon, the trees, perhaps a rock, or a stream, each time picturing in their minds different locations and shapes and judging aesthetic suitability. Another round of creativity has occurred, with many more elements of creation. Once painting with a brush in their hand, a painter may think ahead of the texture of the rock, the direction of the stream, the type of tree, the angle and amount of branches, the amount of leaves, and the colours.

Editing

They may stand back and look at what they have painted and decided to change an element. In this case, their single painting is one possibility of randomization and they have judged it to be substandard. They then picture other random forms and corrections and judge the most appropriate course of action.

That whole process is the sum of smaller decisions, with good judgement and a flow of random ideas.

Small things everywhere

This is transferable to music composing. Instead of visualising, like the painter, they play different melodies in their mind. Many musicians fluke a new melody. They make a mistake on their instrument or purposefully allow themselves to play random notes. With judgement, they select appropriate phrases.

It also works for the lyrics for a song. Lyricists, have a sea of words and language moving through their mind, and often randomise. How many words go through your head when you’re trying to find a word that rhymes? With good judgement and some planning the final set of lyrics, can inspire. But there are plenty of draft pieces of paper in the bin.

The end products from creativity can be very impressive, but an artist won’t discount their work as being merely time and small things. There is one exception though. Vincent Van Gogh famously said, “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together”.

Design vs Performance

At this point, it’s very important to comprehend two components of art. Design and Performance. Once a painting has been designed it’s easy to reproduce – or perform. Now, the painter may have refined their design through performance, however they are left with a blueprint at the end for reproduction. Music is constructed in the same way, and is easily reproduced by many musicians. Lyrics can be recited or sung to music by a performer.

So what part of art is actually creative? Often the performance is almost a robotic function. Jazz is combines performance and design at the same time. It’s the design, the improvisation that supplies the creative credential. Design is the crucial creative element. A painter creating the correct strokes on a canvas is simply a well practiced performance.

Random is inspiration

Randomisation can be, and is most often external. Anything we can receive at a low level through our five senses and at a higher level through those senses, such as emotion. An executive is often presented with several options, and uses judgement to select the most appropriate. They are not producing a painting or song, however their process is still creativity – to society a rather boring form of creativity. Software development is considered a very logical process, however the end product is legally considered copyrighted literature. How could something so logical be attributed a magic like status? This always conflicted in my mind before, however understanding creativity as noise and judgement in design and performance cycles, helped to rationalise creativity back to the mortal domain, and consequently allow myself to understand why software design is art.

Conclusion

I expect any artist who reads this article, to be beside themselves – “software isn’t art!”. But it’s the same as uncovering the secret of a magicians trick. Artists are rightly protecting their trade secret, which doesn’t bother me. I like the occasional magic show.

PS.

An expanded creativity formula:

R = Randomisation
J = Judgement
C = Creativity

C = J(R) – “Creativity is a function of Judgement of Randomisation”, as described above.

A break down of the formula’s components – and further insight of my perceptions of the lower level concepts – (more for myself to map it out)

E = Experience
A = Article to be judged – Perceptions though senses and feelings

J = F(A,E,K) – Judgement is a function of Knowledge, Experience against an Article to be judged

M = Memory
SFJ = Senses and Feelings and Past Judgement

E = M(SFJ) – Experience is a class of Memory, that of senses, feelings and past judgement

 

Moores Law – Technology or Economy?

This law has always been puzzling me. You seem to see it everywhere, everywhere someone wants to make themselves look more intelligent – it’s sort of cliche. But then it occurred to me, maybe this law isn’t really much of a law or prediction, but more of a self fulfilling statement.

What I intend to demonstrate, is that this law is something which marketing people are pedaling. I’m not saying the law is fundamentally flawed by any degree, I’m simply pointing out its’ true meaning and other factors operating behind the law and as a result of the law, and its’ misuse in the context of technology.

First of all, Moore’s law states “in which the number of transistors that can be placed inexpensively on an integrated circuit has doubled approximately every two years”. Now the market is quite happy with that, and in fact they have found ways to bend this statement, like by saying that speed doubles every two years.

Now consider the CPU product cycles. They are quite short – around two years. And the market – they like to keep upgrading.  But now consider that Moore’s law implies dependence on two things, transistor count and cost. I’ve seen plenty of articles over the years of new technologies which could obliterate the two year cycle and more than double the transister count. But that’s not the problem isn’t it.

My thoughts are that, CPU manufacturers could build inexpensive CPUs which obliterate the law’s boundaries, but such technology is best saved for when they need it to keep up with the law and specifically a market which is ready to consume it.

Pretend Intel today, released 16 core CPUs, the market would love to fork out the usual premium at the start of the product life cycle, which would then be left to the higher volume lower cost market at the end of the product cycle. But then what would Intel do? Now all of a sudden the consumers don’t need to upgrade for longer, meaning Intel’s next jump won’t be so successful. The “market” from the vendors perspective needs steady increments.

So in summary, CPU manufacturers hide behind Moores law, to make customers buy up regularly. Journalists love to commentate on the latest technology and point out that it’s following Moore’s law. It’s because Moore stated the law that the CPU manufacturers didn’t feel obliged to commercialize all of the IP all at once. And it’s because of Moore’s law that customers don’t expect anything more, they just continue to fork out the money every 5-7 years for their new you-beaut server of the day. So I believe the law is less about technology and more about describing an approximation of a an industries financial capacity for a product cycle.

I guess it’s not so much a conspiracy – the system does work after all. But more of an insight of MHO – words can be powerful.