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Facilitating Evolution

Last updated on October 17, 2018

A founding principle of this ecosystem is that it must support what Doug Engelbart called facilitated evolution, which is an interesting and important concept. Evolution in nature happens when the environment the organism is in changes. Random changes making the organism better ‘fit’ the new environment to the degree that the organism can reproduce (the only evolutionary measure of how well it fits the environment–effectively the reward system) or not. 

Planned evolution does not occur in nature and when it does in the human realm we call it innovation and it has proven a powerful force for change. Innovation primarily happens along a designed path though, with specific hoped-for outcomes and this puts it quite firmly in what Doug Engelbart calls the ‘B’ level of activity []. 

In order to facilitate evolution we must design the ecosystem and the reward system. Designing the reward system is designing the investment system and it is crucial since we cannot afford, as a human species, to loose innovation for mind augmentation in a world which is constantly increasing in complexity, we must invest in investing.  

Neither a completely free-market system nor a completely government-run system is sufficient since the rewards would not support enough risk in the free-market (since monopolies would soon appear and stifle innovation) nor enough exploration in a government-run system (who would assign resources?). 

Therefore we must look at multiple rewards to both support a B level of activity but also importantly, C level [], which is riskier but supports more change and therefore can give us more opportunities for fitness in the ever changing information environment we live in. 

I have no real answers in this post, but we need to address this issue, particularly if we develop a more open environment (which I think is a major goal) where no-company can invest in making a walled empire, in the social space like facebook or in the document world like Adobe or Microsoft.  

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One Comment

  1. […] have posted on this as well this morning. We need to facilitate the evolution (in Doug’s terms): […]

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