Jared Diamond: Societal Collapse

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If you listen carefully to what Jared Diamond is saying in the TED video above, he is describing not a five part, but a six part power curve into a systemic singularity. This has been one of the core themes of discussion of this blog.  We all seem to be too close to our problems to see the commonality.  The interrogatives come into play here:

  1. Goals
  2. People
  3. Functions
  4. Forms
  5. Times
  6. Distances

Times and Distances being the basis on which the higher orders are built.

When we look at the recent economic “crisis” we see 300 trillion in currency circulating and roughly 1 trillion to 2 trillion shifting suddenly and unexpectedly.  We witnessed a systemic collapse, a singularity, a tipping point, a power curve, an exponential change, a phase transition or whatever label you want to call it.  These have been happening everywhere since Time and Distance began in different contexts and orders both in human and non-human systems.

What Jared Diamond and other alarmists are implying is that human society is now a system approaching its final singularity in this century on this planet.  We are implying that today we are experiencing a less than one percent crisis on a power curve into a singularity.  How many more iterations will the global system withstand?  Will humanity make the step into space successfully before we experience a global dark age?  How will the six or more factors in the power curve play out?

The truth to me appears to be that power curves whether they play out or not result in either a systemic climax or anti-climax followed by a systemic collapse.  Would it not be better if we experienced a systemic climax that led to us expanding into the solar system?

Systemic collapse seems to be the fashion of this generation.  Every generation looks with fascination at its own youth, maturition, reproduction and acceleration into mortality.  Some die early, some die late, but all die.  It is an irrevocable law of nature.  It is not about self-interest.  It is about what self-interest is defined as.

Related Posts:

Beyond the Singularity

Servitas and Libertas

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Six Hats, Six Coats and Knowledge Management

I was passed this link to a free Knowledge Management Course by a friend today.

I gave the entire course a read (it is not that long) and concluded that there was only one thing that the course covered that is not covered by the Six Hats, Six Coats as it has been explained so far. The issue is valuation, how do we know the cost/benefit of any fact. Otherwise, the authors wave the term “knowledge” around with little restraint to the point of its being meaningless. If they had it their way, everything would be knowledge. (I’ve been known to rant that everything is objects.)

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To perform valuation of the Six Hats, Six Coats Framework, facts are each of the Six Coats columns: Motive, Locale, Object, Method, Person and Moment. Each of these can be reduced to their atomic granularity at the Blue Hat perspective row. One additional row can be added to the bottom, which is the benefit per manipulation. Each of the Six Hats is a row and can be accumulated in a seventh column, which is the cost per perspective. Each cell of the Six Hats, Six Coats Framework has a cost when it is created, but the benefit accumulates with each manipulation of its column at the Blue Hat level and is rolled up to the appropriate cell.

The rest of the Knowledge Management concepts are covered by the Six Hats, Six Coats Framework.

The Six Hats, Six Coats Framework provides not only knowledge. The Six Hats provide:

  1. Green Hat: Wisdom. Conceptualization. Creativity.
  2. Yellow Hat: Knowledge. Contextualization. Relativity.
  3. White Hat: Information. Logicalization. Optimicity.
  4. Black Hat: Data. Physicalization. Pessimicity.
  5. Red Hat: Regulation. Humanization. Anthropicity.
  6. Blue Hat: Conduction. Detectors and Effectors. Synchronicity.

The Six Hats, Six Coats Framework gives a clear definition of knowledge. Meta-Knowledge is the modeled relationships between the each of the entities within a system. This is the entity relationship diagrams for the facts. Knowledge is the actual references between each of the instances within a system. This is the actual database containing the facts. A rule relationship model, a node relationship model, a data relationship model, a function relationship model, a person relationship model and an event relationship model are meta-knowledge. Rule instance references, node instance references, data instance references, function instance references, person instance references and event instance references are knowledge.

“Mentifacts” and “Sociofacts” are obtuse terms. Person associations are extragroup, intergroup, intragroup, extrapersonal, interpersonal and intrapersonal. They are different perspectives a human takes to interaction and the adoption of facts from another system. Motive, locale, object, method, person and moment are all artifacts, better termed entities.

The definitions the course offers: “Know-what”, “Know-why”, “Know-how”, “Know-who” is incomplete and ill defined.

  1. Yellow Hat, Green Coat is Know-why. Contextual Motive.
  2. Yellow Hat, Yellow Coat is Know-where. Contextual Locale.
  3. Yellow Hat, White Coat is Know-what. Contextual Object.
  4. Yellow Hat, Black Coat is Know-how. Contextual Method.
  5. Yellow Hat, Red Coat is Know-who. Contextual Person.
  6. Yellow Hat, Blue Coat is Know-when. Contextual Moment.

Knowledge management is not simply Informal and Formal. Knowledge Management can be Implicit, Explicit, Tacit and Sonit. Implicit knowledge management handles knowledge that is documented and unchanging in the organization. Explicit knowledge management handles knowledge that is documented and changing. Tacit knowledge management handles knowledge that is undocumented and unchanging. Sonit knowledge management handles knowledge that is undocumented and changing.

The Six Hats, Six Coats Framework does not use the metaphor of a factory for knowledge processing. Instead the framework uses a system lifecycle of induction and deduction. The system repeats, refines, records, reports, relates and revises input; and revises, relates, reports, records, refines and repeats output. Only during the relate phase is input or output knowledge.

The concept of knowledge claims, I found intriguing, but confused between what is meta-knowledge and what is knowledge. I could only conclude that a knowledge claim is really a meta-knowledge claim. Validation of references, knowledge, is protected by referential integrity. A meta-knowledge claim would be validated by a corroboration of exceptions.

The quality of meta-knowledge is a question of how well the relationships for the dimensions handle input and output. If the probability of no exceptions is high the quality of the meta-knowledge is high. A change in context is a change in interacting systems and will affect the quality of an entire system’s performance not just one of its dimensions or of only its knowledge.

Validation of a system is not only knowledge validation. Validation of Conduction, Regulation, Data, Information, Knowledge and Wisdom are all necessary excercises. Because no system is completely Implicit, Explicit, Tacit or Sonit there will always be room for normal and exceptional input and output that has not been accounted for.

Knowledge has intrapolative predictive capabilities. Wisdom has extrapolative predictive capabilities. From this course Knowledge Management appears to know little about systems at all.

The course also attempts to use the three layer ANSI model of World, Knowledge, Meta-Knowledge to describe itself. I have no problem with that. However, because of the poor definition of knowledge in the first place the author begins fantasizing about endless additional layers. I have only found there needs to be three layers in every case I’ve tested. There is the world, the referential and the relational layers.

The sixth lesson of the course talks about innovation as the goal of Knowledge Management. I beg to differ. Innovation is a completely different perspective in the Six Hats, Six Coats Framework. Innovation is the Green Hat, conceptualization perspective. Knowledge assists conceptualization, however conceptualization is concerned with the entities of each of the fact dimensions, not the relationships. Relationships are interpolative, they can only exist between entities that exist. Entities are extrapolative, they can come into existence out of nothing and do not depend upon relationships to exist.

As far as the seventh section, Metrics, goes there is ultimately a cost/benefit ratio. All other metrics are irrelevant if the cost/benefit is done correctly. Cost is the expenditure required to build each cell, each model, of the system framework down to the atomic level. Benefit is the profit gained from each manipulation of the system at the atomic level.

“Knowledge Transfer” is the ability of your system to induct another system and then deduct with a profitable outcome.

You don’t need a Knowledge Management Team. You need a System Modeling Team and the Six Hats, Six Coats Framework. “Everything is a system” holds up to scrutiny better than any knowledge management claim.

Six Hats, Six Coats and Sun Tzu

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From Sun Tzu on the The Art of War

I. LAYING PLANS

1. Sun Tzu said: The art of war is of vital importance to the State.

2. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected.

3. The art of war, then, is governed by five constant factors, to be taken into account in one’s deliberations, when seeking to determine the conditions obtaining in the field.

4. These are: (1) The Moral Law; (2) Heaven; (3) Earth; (4) The Commander; (5) Method and discipline.

5,6. The Moral Law causes the people to be in complete accord with their ruler, so that they will follow him regardless of their lives, undismayed by any danger.

7. Heaven signifies night and day, cold and heat, times and seasons.

8. Earth comprises distances, great and small; danger and security; open ground and narrow passes; the chances of life and death.

9. The Commander stands for the virtues of wisdom, sincerely, benevolence, courage and strictness.

10. By method and discipline are to be understood the marshaling of the army in its proper subdivisions, the graduations of rank among the officers, the maintenance of roads by which supplies may reach the army, and the control of military expenditure.

11. These five heads should be familiar to every general: he who knows them will be victorious; he who knows them
not will fail.

12. Therefore, in your deliberations, when seeking to determine the military conditions, let them be made the basis of a comparison, in this wise:–

13. (1) Which of the two sovereigns is imbued with the Moral law?
(2) Which of the two generals has most ability?
(3) With whom lie the advantages derived from Heaven and Earth?
(4) On which side is discipline most rigorously enforced?
(5) Which army is stronger?
(6) On which side are officers and men more highly trained?
(7) In which army is there the greater constancy both in reward and punishment?

14. By means of these seven considerations I can forecast victory or defeat.

15. The general that hearkens to my counsel and acts upon it, will conquer: let such a one be retained in command! The general that hearkens not to my counsel nor acts upon it, will suffer defeat:–let such a one be dismissed!

16. While heading the profit of my counsel, avail yourself also of any helpful circumstances over and beyond the ordinary rules.

17. According as circumstances are favorable, one should modify one’s plans.

18. All warfare is based on deception.

19. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.

20. Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him.

21. If he is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him.

22. If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant.

23. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them.

24. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.

25. These military devices, leading to victory, must not be divulged beforehand.

26. Now the general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple ere the battle is fought. The general who loses a battle makes but few calculations beforehand. Thus do many calculations lead to victory, and few calculations to defeat: how much more no calculation at all! It is by attention to this point that I can foresee who is likely to win or lose.

Sun Tzu truly was one of the greatest minds in human history. He knew that a war was a collision between two systems. He had a firm grasp of the military as a system and had reduced it to its fundamental components.

  1. MOTIVE: Moral Law. Vision and Mission.
  2. LOCALE: Earth. Terrain.
  3. OBJECT: Discipline. Integrity.
  4. METHOD: Method. Training.
  5. PERSON: Commander. Organization.
  6. MOMENT: Heaven. Climate.

The correlation between the Six Coats and the Five Fundamental Factors is complete. Let’s take a look at Sun Tzu using the Six Hats, Six Coats Framework:

suntzuperspectives02.jpg

A nice fit.

Six Hats, Six Coats and Sun Tzu