Saturday, May 22, 2010

Comeback of the Middle

In that era, pivotal choices of global import were often binary. The distinction between two options made easy because no matter what the usual distribution of the consequences were, the 'powers-that-be' had acted to push them apart. "you are either with us or not."

The artificial mass movement flowed perversely to one side or the other. One could say the groove became a slippery ridge. A large minority benefited from this cruel application of free-will. Unlike the eagle, a pragmatic predator that because of its high metabolism as a bird needed the dense nutrition of other animals to sustain its precarious life, this minority lived off something far less noble: The man-made suffering of innocents. It was against the better nature of this minority's constituents, so free-will served up denial, and rationalization.

An interesting term-of-art in computer science, garbage collection, displayed similar characteristics. A simple analysis of the data led to a decision as whether or not to recover storage space when the data was no longer needed. As the algorithms moved to ever higher levels of sophistication and persistence became less expensive, the output was on a gradient rather than just yes or no. But on some level, the sophistication to know when to keep data or some representation of it, had not kept pace.

Categorization was not just one or a few steps in the many parallel sequences that made up the intentional flow of local existence. It was prolific. The decision regarding usefulness of information more and more dependent on a vague predictive value whose margin for error was wide indeed.

Now we are confronted with the short-term interests that take advantage of the resource management vulnerability, he concluded. The seeming diversion over the last several days was, in fact, mission critical. A robust recovery system for classification and categorization functionality that had outlived its usefulness became the next major design objective.

He took advantage of this solo time to collect his thoughts. Using the style that had worked for him so well of late, he began recording the words that would engage the next key player …

1 comment:

  1. I've never been a fan of letting complex issues be reduced to binary choices. That's 1-dimensional, and the true solution space may be many dimensional.