integrated information = consciousness

A friend retweeted a link to this article and I am glad they did.  The article is about a theory of consciousness based upon measuring ‘integrated information’ in the human brain. The logic of theory states  that consciousness is achieved when the brain has a network of neurons integrating information.  While some experiments have been researched, the race is now on to create other experiments that would allow us to measure consciousness in much they same way we measure our weight or blood pressure.  A question, what will be the unit of measurement?  If integrated information is being measured, then information is being measured,  what is the measurement unit of information?   The same question at the heart of the lifestylelinking open source project.

Good to know at least one other person is thinking about this question.

Discover information of value & wrap it to go anywhere

I often feel like I fail in explaining the workings of and the lifestylelinking open source project .  Probably for many reasons, the wisdom of crowds is counter intuitive for those just finding out about the idea, my choices of words or examples, the unknownness that its use might be bringing to the world/society.  Any how, the title of this post is the closest and shortest words I have found to date to capture the essence of what I am up to:

Discover  information of value and wrap it to go anywhere.

98% of the effort to date has been on the discovery part.  Now, the code is extracting information of value for an individual(s) the task of making it go anywhere begins.  That starts with making it easy to use and making the data portable. A wrapper of OpendID, OAuth, OpenSocial, Activitystreams, RDFa in geek speak.  I found myself pulled to these embryonic communities during my travels to Silicon Valley.  However, I wasn’t the most enthusiastic about this focus of attention as, if no value is there, why do you need to apply, identity, data sharing, social sharing etc?  However, I have kept apace of the significant progress these communities have made and implemented their libraries and standards, it feels like the discovery of value and go anywhere are ready to be brought together.  This is still a fast moving space, it hard to know where to start as new library in one standard may require more or less work in another area.  All this change while the user needs value delivered, easily-seamlessly.  I’m still struggling to fit this multidimensional puzzle together and keep it together when I foresee so much moving.  However, learning by doing has got me thus far and I expect that will hold good in this next phase too.

A Revolution in Kindness

A Revolution in Kindness is the name of a book authored by the late Anita Roddick.  In one of her blogs posts on the topic of kindness she talked about examples that could “help us reimagine kindness as something more than a random act.”  I always liked the way she got to the human nitty gritty of the issues she cared about, in fact she asked us all to “Take it Personally’.   She was an inspiring figure and I have been thinking about kindness and information.

I’ll start out be stating that information is the ‘currency’ of life.

In my economics education I was taught this basic concept: the more scarce a resource, the higher its prices.  In an information age this can be applied as, the more limited the information, the higher the price on that information.  These are kind of unhuman speak.  To attempt to make them more human I have observed this sort of scenario time and time again:

The higher the price the more desperate a human is. E.g. you need to make a last minute booking for a train, bus or for a flight.  A natural disaster strikes or war disruption in a city, prices trend higher.  This has always puzzled me, as the spare capacity e.g on a bus on the day of travel, is lost opportunity, lost sales, lost cashflow.  Infact the whole system rewards the opposite, you know with certainly a long time inadvance your travel plans then, the lower the price you will be offered.  The reward for giving the business a more certain future, a lower price is offered.

What if kindness was the core motivator and persistent in the ‘system’?  Would information flow freer?  I think it would, the system will reward those collaborating and the best way to do that is to be open and share information.  Would this squew to an outcome where those most last minute will benefited the most?  No, this does not have to be the case, those collaborating for longer will have better relationships and have the resources personalized to their exact needs.  Those last minute will be limited in their ability to achieve that.  However, both parties can benefit and I think the best way to explain this is by rewriting how we apply pricing.  Generally, a price is fixed at the time of purchase not at the time of use (less purchase is made in real time ie at last minute).  This does not have to be the case.  A price could be issued for a future time period and lets say when the e.g. time of travel came, a last minute traveler joined the journey of that planned in advance.  The last minute traveler is benefiting from the committed travelers pull of attention towards the journey and a committed traveler can reduce their cost of travel by the arrival of the last minute passenger.  Pricing can be dynamic, and I would think about that not so much in terms of time but of attention (they are different).

In other words a Law of Information would read:

The greater an individuals needs in society, the more the world will transpire to help.  In short kindness.