Note — Sep 09, 2018

Resisting Reduction: A Manifesto

The MIT Media Lab director, Joichi Ito, proposing an interesting vision for the future. Contrasting the “religion” of the Singularity with a more nature inspired view of the many interlocking systems of our world and how we can approach the new technologies and systems we bring into the mix. To be reflected on for the “extended intelligence” framing, as well as the idea of currencies in biology, the current currencies of our society, and replacing them with more “nourishing” ones. He also ends with the idea that these principles and currencies could spread like music, through culture.

Values and complexity are focused more and more on prioritizing exponential financial growth, led by for-profit corporate entities that have gained autonomy, rights, power, and nearly unregulated societal influence. […]

In order to effectively respond to the significant scientific challenges of our times, I believe we must view the world as many interconnected, complex, self-adaptive systems across scales and dimensions that are unknowable and largely inseparable from the observer and the designer. In other words, we are participants in multiple evolutionary systems with different fitness landscapes at different scales, from our microbes to our individual identities to society and our species. Individuals themselves are systems composed of systems of systems, such as the cells in our bodies that behave more like system-level designers than we do. […]

Instead of thinking about machine intelligence in terms of humans vs. machines, we should consider the system that integrates humans and machines—not artificial intelligence, but extended intelligence. Instead of trying to control or design or even understand systems, it is more important to design systems that participate as responsible, aware and robust elements of even more complex systems. […]

Developing a sensibility and a culture of flourishing, and embracing a diverse array of measures of “success” depend less on the accumulation of power and resources and more on diversity and the richness of experience. […]