Survival of the Fittest

When there are discussions of how tough life can be, I often hear about ‘survival of the fittest’ by which the speaker means the strongest. But that is not what fittest means. It simply means those who fit the environment the efficiently: Attributes all come with associated costs and the success of a species depend on wether those attributes are efficient enough to compete with other species.

Think of your own life: If you want massive muscles, you’ll be taking time away from when you could be learning sometime, and vice versa. These choices we all have to make, not in black and white, but in gradations of priorities. The same is true for natural evolution. A hugely muscular animal would not last long in an area of very little food, for example.

So what’s my point? My point is to ask the question of what fitness means for the human race at this point – for all of us. I think the answer comes down to the defining feature of Homo sapiens (‘the wise’) which separates us from the rest of the tree of Homo: Our ability to work together. As Chris Stringer recently pointed out at The Future of Text Symposium in London, Homo sapiens out-collaborated the Homo neanderthals – we simply had larger and better social networks.

I therefore put it that for us to thrive in the future this defining characteristic is one we need to focus on enhancing, to the point of becoming Homo collaborator.

Small scale group identification of bands, cities, nations, companies, sports teams and so on have served a purpose in getting us to become the globally dominant species. To thrive, it must become a priority for every group, every individual, to actively work on how we can best collaborate for the benefit of all mankind.

This necessary focus does not come with an additional spirituality, dogma or political perspective beyond itself. Answers as to how we can all work on improve our relationships with all other people will come from all beliefs, all sides of the political spectrum.

To go forward we need to work to fit each other.

Do you agree? If so, how do you feel we should work on this? If you do not, what do you feel is wrong with this perspective – the whole thing or aspects of it?

So, where next?

So, where next?

The Future of Text 2014 went off beautifully and Author seems well received. So where next, what to do to get Author to a useable and useful system?

There remains quite a bit of work to do to make working in Author smooth and useable in terms of smaller bugs and responsiveness (OS X lagging behind iOS in this case). The main features which are missing are iCloud Synch with Hand Off, so that I (I am the only user at this point, so the language might as well reflect that) can write and research on OS X and then take my iPad or iPhone Six to somewhere quiet and contemplative and just write and write and then take the document back to OS X to publish to WordPress or to an academic journal.

Which highlights the publishing side of things. WordPress theme is being fixed but I will have to have someone work on the power of presenting links and references in a similar way to how they are presented in Author – which I think will be a powerful view to the future, with links and view deeper.

Export to academic journals/university submissions with correct formatting will be next, based on the Styles system. I need one export first, then I can show Author to academic departments to see what they would like to have.

So, where next?

The Future of Text and development has been hugely expensive and hugely worthwhile so far. The question is how to continue and I think that beyond basic fixes and polishes the citation system – that is to say, how Author refers to external resources, will be key, so I will focus on designing that system first, from dialog box to WordPress theme behaviour. OK, writing this post was useful :-)

(written on Author iOS, copied as text and posted)