Just had a fabulous weekend in Dublin, one of the highlights of which was seeing jazz saxophonist Soweto Kinch in action. The man is proof that some good things do come from Birmingham.
John Kay has a great piece in the FT’s Weekend Magazine about why you should never choose the easiest route in complex systems. He gives quite a few examples of companies that have gone for profits as their goal and failed in comparison to companies that have had a bigger vision. We argued a similar point in The Long Game in relation to how regulators should try to go about their jobs and Paul Skidmore (who I worked with on The Long Game) made a similar point in this interview on Radio 4 last Thursday (Realplayer required and scroll through to 15 mins).
Anyway, John’s now given the idea a name — obliquity.
A term that comes up quite a lot in the study of complex systems is ‘robustness’ — basically the propensity of a system not to fail. For example the north eastern American electricity grid showed it wasn’t very robust when it failed in the summer of 2003. The Santa Fe Institute have got a programme up and running on what robustness means for social systems.
Vint Cerf who many people call the father of the internet, a label he’s unhappy with, is interviewed by Mark Ward for BBC News Online. The piece finishes with a nice quote:
“The internet is a reflection of our society and that mirror is going to be reflecting what we see. If we do not like what we see in that mirror the problem is not to fix the mirror, we have to fix society.”
Read the full article here