Friday, 6 January 2012

The new Economy: autonomy, fairness, accountability

In the last few years the world seems to have shifted, it is now a very interconnected place. Nationalism now seems at odds with the way the economy now works, surely in a world where everyone relies on everyone else to get things done letting your suppliers or customers fail is a bad idea?

The spectre of communism seems to still scare people, and the left and right fight increasingly meaningless battles over who can impose an irrelevant categorisation system to policies. The arguments about capitalism, socialism and, communism seem to never be about the philosophical arguments for more or less even distribution of resources and more about what level of central control an economy should have. The prior discussion I believe is far more easily answered: at the moment resources are too uneven, the existence of the hedgefund 2:20 payment system I believe is argument enough of this at the moment. But I will not argue this anymore here. The real discussion should be about how much central control economic systems should have imposed on them.

I feel I should clarify what I mean by central control, this does not just include governmental policies that can incentives or disincentives various things, but also what companies do. Are bankers bonuses really any different from governmental incentives? Sure the money comes from the a different place but the effect of applying rigid rules to very dynamic and complex systems. Bonuses however are a more insidious kind of control however as unlike governmental control there is very little accountability, which can only lead to ossification. But more than that, it decouples what should be the purpose of an industry from personal gain. Does the banking sector really only exist in order to give a good return to investors? Or should it exist to help people who need investment while giving the investors a reason to invest. The difference in those two statements is subtle but I believe hugely important.

I do not mean to focus on the banking sector, it just has the most well publicised and easily demonstrated examples. I would say that all the large ossified industries have a problem with self-imposed central control that prevents dynamic changes to the complex nature of a globalised economy. The issue is how to deal with it. It will be no easy task and one that better minds than mine would struggle with but I feel the rewards could be huge. My suggestion would be a focus on accountability rather than incentivisation. This might naturally move the economy in a more meritocratic direction, and harnessing the intrinsic motivation of the population.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Freewill and language

When I finally got round to reading what the current thinking on freewill was, I have to say I was pretty disappointed. There seem to be in general a view that freewill and cause and effect cannot co-exist, or in other words the ability to predict actions therefore makes them non free. This is nonsense.

Mainly it seems obvious to me that thought is not fundamental to the universe, you perceive the universe you are not of the universe. This however does not imply that there is some other force at play in thought, merely that you cannot define thought as a bunch of atoms interacting, not least because the only way we know there are atoms is because we perceive them.

This line of thought has however forced me to expand my beliefs, as well as the barrier between thought and language I also believe there is a barrier between the universe, thought and language. A fairly logical step I think.

This turned out a lot more succinct than I though it would, hopeful it’s still clear.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

The language problem

In this post I will attempt to explain something that is by its very nature quite difficult to explain. It ties in to my previous philosophical posts at a fundamental level but is a bit further along in its thinking. Anyway…

My explanation starts with though, I believe though is an incredibly complex summation of a person’s total experiences and current perception, it also flows and a static thought is a nonsensical idea. Perception is affected by  many things such as the senses and hormones and such. Memories are imperfect and too numerous to be accessed in a direct way most of the time.

Language is used to take a thought distil it and enable it to be used as an external reference for a new thought. This distillation process however is an issue. The thought from which language is derived is of almost limitless complexity but the language that is created is considerably simpler. You can liken the process to that of recording live music, the original is an amalgamation of the venue, the people, the musicians, and of course the music and almost certainly many other possible variables. You record this music and only the sound waves are preserved and even then not completely accurately. You then have the sound engineer’s influence imposed upon the recordings and then its probably compressed into little mp3 files. The gist of whatever was recorded might be there but that is it.

Of course current language has its place for simple tasks, and like old valve amplifiers its beautiful because it does its job badly. I think however that philosophy has to as matter of urgency find some way of communicating more complex ideas through language. Invent the FLAC of language, instead of continuing to use dodgy mp3’s as it were.

This is not an easy task, thoughts are by it’s nature vague and written language for example is absolute. I however have come up with a preliminary idea. The idea of using shifting definitions. Or in other words a definition that changes(within a larger vague definition) each time you look at it. I have not worked out the practical aspects of how one would go about creating a shifting definition completely but I am confident I will create a couple soon.

This concept warrants more discussion but I think I need feedback first.

Thursday, 6 October 2011


A thought has crystallised today that I think could be one of my more important ones. The purpose of philosophy, it's end game, but my new goal. To discover, invent or just reach a method for expressing vagueness and the pseudoabsolutes that vagueness produces.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

What is next for DSLR’s?


First off if you haven't seen the new EVIL(electronic viewfinder interchangeable lens) cameras you should check them out pretty soon, they are amazing. By using a smaller sensor than dslr’s and by forgoing the viewfinder, you get a camera that is as small as fairly large compact but with interchangeable lenses and some really cool features. Things like burst fire mode of 60fps, full hd video and decent low light performance. As a keen rock climber a rugged EVIL camera could be the idea solution, balancing the performance of a dslr with accessibility of a compact, and those video and burst features. In fairness the features I have just mentioned come on the nikon V1 and it costs about £850 but it is a first generation, the prices are going to come down.

So the DSLR has some competition, the question now is what can it do in response? I am aware that DSLR’s don’t really have any self interest, they are a product made by several companies and if there is no demand they will not be made. But I feel that another leap is due for DSLR’s as a few years ago they gained hd video and excellent low light performance and now the next generation of processors is coming at around the same time that these new EVIL cameras are arriving. They are bound to of incorporated some of the features from the new challengers.

So the 5D mkiii, even better low light performance, smoother video, live-view only superburst mode? I’m excited by the possibilities.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

My tablet experience

So I got my hands on a HP touchpad, it was a hell of a lot of work. Apparently £89 tablets sell quick. Anyway back to my point, I now have a tablet. Admittedly its a tablet that I had to devote an afternoon to modding to make it work as well as its competition, and it runs an unsupported OS. Neither of these things really bothered me, firstly I like tinkering so having to modify the kernel and OC the cpu was fun for me, and having a really good android phone I know that you really don’t use that many apps.

So I’ve had it a while now and something has dawned on me or at least re-dawned on me(I have never been a fan, but a fire sale made me forget), tablets suck. They are in their current iteration in an unhappy middle ground between something portable and really productive(laptop) and something really really portable and completely unproductive(smartphone). The only thing tablets have going for them and it’s a pretty big thing is that they are really cool, but is it just me or is something that relies entirely on cool also know as a fad?

To talk specifically about the issues with the form factor a little: first off a 10.1inch screen that seems to be the most popular makes using two hands to type really hard, and typing with one hand slow, its still not possible to make a device that size light enough for comfort but also sturdy, its also quite large fine to carry if you have a bag but not really pocketable. In other words it’s harder to type on than a decent smartphone and less easy to hold, there is more screen estate though and it is a nicer experience than my phone but not by a lot.

Tablets also run OS’s that really are designed for phones and happen to be able to scale up. Apps are great and all but to be honest most of them don’t give anything over what a decent webpage can give you, there a definitely a few that give novel features to your hardware but these are typically for very specific things that are used occasionally.

So how would I make tablets good? Well I would do what I think Microsoft's doing. essentially instead of beefing up their phone OS they are shrinking down their desktop OS to fit on a tablet. So next year we could have tablets with a touch orientated interface for “tablet mode” and the option to use a keyboard dock or a a wireless keyboard and have access to a full windows experience. So a device that can be very mobile and very productive, I’m looking forward to it.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Subjectivism then…


So I’ve had a go at saying why I don’t like objectivism, now to try and say why I think subjectivism is a better way of looking at things. Well I thinks it’s best to say what I think subjectivism is. It’s the view that as our thoughts are separated from the the world by a layer of perception and due to this we can never have a perfect grasp of reality. This leads to a bit of a problem, if we can never know what is really true then what do we work towards? How can we really justify what we do?

And the answer to those questions is we can’t, at least not without making some unjustifiable decisions at a basic level. If you think this is somehow wrong and that people can’t function without well justified beliefs, you clearly haven't met people. In fact I find this desire or need for an underlying truth to be a little odd, I liken it to the question “Why is there something instead of nothing?” it assumes for some reason that nothing is the norm despite living in a world of something and observing things we still seem to think that we must be special and nothing must be how it should be. We live in a world with little justification for what we do and yet assume that justification is required.

I’ve come to the opinion that no one that reads this will understand it unless they already understand… but I can only get better at explaining right? Another Philosophy post when I can work out what to say next. probably a tech post before then.


Thanks for reading!