Dialectic logic has been studied by philosophers like Hegel, Marx, Althusser, Adorno, Habermas and so on. It was sufficient enough to explain the dynamic behavior in linear systems. In linear signals and systems, causality, probability, stochastics and randomness etc. can be explained by dialectic logic. It has found its applications across the field of formal linguistics, physics, economics, culture etc. However in the era of dense real and surreal experiences and imaginations, something more specific than dialectic logic has become necessary. Hence I am positioning an asymptotic logic as an epistemic category in the realm of universal pragmatics which is a wider and deeper fabric than ideological lattices. Asymptotic logic is running deep through dialectic systems.
Internet is such a simple word, so minimal, so technical, so unexciting, so basic, so primitive, so rudimentary such that we have plugged into it so swiftly, so effortlessly, so continuously, so seamlessly in many forms and formats. I never new networking was such as powerful thing before experiencing internet. It has been the biggest dream I have lived. It is the largest reality that cannot deny. It is the messiest maze I have been to.
What is internet for you ? a cave. ? a maze ..? a ladder ..? a gaze ..? a haze …? It could be anything and everything. I have started surfing internet in 1997. By the standards of today, it is quite late for a 16 year old boy from India. I hailed from a remote town in the state of Kerala for whom a personal computer has been a distant luxury even in the engineering studies. Hence internet came to my life as a career imagination during college days.
It has inspired my curiosity for knowledge by many folds. When I look back into my tryst with Internet, it has been an evolutionary experience, if evolution is a simple metaphor.
Now when I reflect upon the internet as a macrocosm, as a cosmos, as a firmament, it is full of leeches. It is full of fissures. It is full of fulcrums. It is full of fractals. It is full of serpents. It is full of ashes. It is full of tunnels.
It is not what is. Internet has been a refuge. It has been an ensemble. It has been a mirage. It has been a fume. It has been a dust. It has been a lot of different entities. I will narrate them in this log of blogs. Keep surfing !!
Social Networks are part of our life big time. We spend hours surfing through the profiles, walls and news feeds of our friends and foes alike. Social networks create micro experiences of vivid emotions, in fact a bewildering variety of emotions and flurry of thought. There is a lot of impulsive expressions in social networks. Fine, what about the formation and distribution of knowledge in social networks?
Information exist in the digital systems, but knowledge is always created through human act of cognition and re-cognition. It can only be represented and absorbed in social networks. Hence the full life-cycle of information exchange and knowledge management should materialize in social networks.
Not all information becomes knowledge, but some grains of knowledge get created and distributed through social networks. The challenge is that people seldom reflect and analyze the knowledge within the social networks. Information gets assimilated within seconds, perhaps like the attention span of a Gold fish. However, knowledge takes time to gets developed in human mind. It is not just the analytical insights that we are talking about. It is about the collection of hypothesis, inductions, deductions, inferences, critical analysis and reflections that we sum up as a knowledge collective.
The unique nature of knowledge is that it is not something a machine can produce. An act of human cognition and re-cognition is required to create a quantum of knowledge. Knowledge is generated in the human mind, not in the human – machine interfaces. It is a kind of space-time integration of information and impulses in the semantic ocean of collective unconscious.
Perhaps nature of knowledge is the single most beautiful entity that quantum physics should have studied. Unfortunately, quantum physics had always its own plastic affections to uncertainty and could not go beyond the ramifications about quantum consciousness. Knowledge is a dialectic melange of synchronic and diachronic coefficients of collective unconscious that gets superposed with the synaptic impulses from our experiences. Our synaptic impulses are nothing but the cerebral expressions of information exchanges. There is a semiotic continuum at work in human act of cognition and re-cognition that transforms every genetic expressions to powerful symbols that human mind can easily relate. It is all together a beautiful nature at work in the formation of knowledge in human mind.
Online social networks are a world of its own. Data, design, advertisements, people, aspirations, networks altogether a topology of affairs evolving on its own patterns and terrains. There is distinct politics and economics in the dynamics of social media and social networks. To locate the human capital in social networks, we need to understand and define the specific nature of communication methods and control functions in this landscape.
The social network bandwagon is expected to grow to a gargantuan scale such that the number of worldwide users is expected to reach some 2.5 billion by 2018, around a third of world population. An estimated half a billion of these users is expected to be from China alone and approximately a quarter of a million from India. The region with the highest penetration rate of social networks is North America, where around 60 percent of the population has at least one social account. As of 2015, over 70 percent of the United States population had a social networking profile. Statistics goes on to say that 72% of all internet users are now active on social media.
Famous American philosopher, Kenneth M. Sayre had taken up pioneering studies on the contours of cybernetics and information theory. He defines Cybernetics as the study of communication and control functions of living organisms, particularly human beings, in view of their possible simulation in mechanical systems. Along these lines, we can see that in online social networks there is an evident convergence of human mind and the information capital produced collectively by network society. This results in the creation of a human capital which is highly fragmented across psychographic dimensions.
Information structures in the online social networks have acquired significant control functions over the human behavior such that now we are controlled by the information we consume and create in these hyperspaces. It is an interesting development predicted by the pioneers of cybernetics. Through the simulation of real world experiences, online social networks have become highly successful in fragmenting human mind and driving the humanity to become the manifestation of intellectual capital. In this article we use the concepts of intellectual capital, information capital and human capital quite lucidly. However they follow certain economic lineage in precise terms. Human capital has primary form of existence on which information capital and intellectual capital exist as dependent forms of capital accumulation.
Recently IBM CEO, Gini Rometty has famously predicted the emergence of cognitive business and the eventual subservience of digital economy under the larger canvas of cognitive economy. Though this prediction can be perceived as a sweeping statement in the current state of affairs, there is a definite possibility for such a development. With the convergence of human capital and information capital in the techno centric data trade networks such as social media, intellectual capital gains significant autonomy and predominant market position.
Leveraging this accumulation and acculturation of intellectual capital, dependent market structures will emerge paving way for the domination of cognitive business. There is such a dire need for generating sensible insights from the dark data circulating in the global supply chains and distribution channels. Let us closely follow the patterns and trends in the data monetization networks to sense the acceleration and momentum of this seismic change and cognitive shift.
World around, their is huge attention given to design driven theories and movements. ‘Design Thinking’ is a collective making waves in the circles of business and technology. Industrial Design, Instruction design, Product design, service design, interaction design, experience design etc are perceived as different functional facets of design driven perception of the world around us. Industrial design may be somewhat older compared to other fields mentioned. It inherits some of the historic etches from the 20th century era of functional aesthetics and a modernist society fueled by industrial revolution.
A little bit of history is necessary here.
During 1920’s we saw the revolt in the world of art and aesthetics through the movements of expressionism, impressionism, constructivism etc. This was largely inspired by the different experiences of industrial revolution and enlightened humanity.After the destructive period of world wars and resultant turbulence in imagination, we saw the emergence of cubism and surrealism. During the mid 1960’s, we saw the arrival of minimalism to the stage. When surrealism and cubism remained as the movements of revolting art, minimalism offered a curated and streamlined experience embraced by the world of market and product designers alike. It was so much in synchronicity with a simplified world view where experienced are reduced to the permutations and combinations around products and commodities.
From 1980’s, we are building an ecosystem of industrial design consistently around the brilliant combination of impressionism and minimalism. The behavioral and cognitive psychology has added a certain level of depth to this combination. Anthropology and semiotics has added dimensions to this combination. Yet this mix remains largely linear in nature. Why?
Even today, art movements of expressionism, surrealism and constructivism are beyond the purview of contemporary product and industrial design laboratories. Why?
When you study fractals and topological constructs of various kind, sometimes you are just flummoxed by the intriguing design and bewildering pattern and get lost in the mathematical models. What is your approach to derive inferences from these wonderful patterns of nature?
There is so much of experience and knowledge intrinsic to these non-linear forms of art and aesthetics that they appear chaotic and sometime meaningless to a product designer. At the same time, it does not mean that these forms of art are not functional in nature. They are able to influence human mind and user experience at higher scales.
In our times, there is so much stress on minimalism and reduction-ism that everything beyond the definitions of products and services appear random and non-linear. We are missing a lot of data and inferences here.
When we speak about design thinking and experience design today, our reaches are limited to the linear components alone. Non-linear functions of experiences and aesthetics is largely missing in the equations.
Hence design thinking in actuality should go beyond the reductionist approach and reach out to the nonlinear forms of knowledge generated by interactions between humanity, nature and their constructs. All forms of subjectivity are not entirely intuitive and irrational. There is so much of science out there in the philosophy of knowledge for us to unravel. A large ocean of knowledge and rationale is out their to decipher. It is not just fifty shades of grey. They are abundant spectral lines as vivid as our lives.
Nature is such an interest will, thing of determination, existing in and out of you, through your being and nothingness, hope and despair and all sort of ciphers of yourself.
Nature is also a bewildering variety of will, bound and unbound, wise and childish, born and unborn, frantic and lucid, of all seasons, for all seasons.
It finds you from utmost impossible hideouts, and same time it can hide you into the a life of almost unimaginable obscurity, mediocrity and all such kind of experiences.
Like a diamond in a dirt, you may be able to reflect all the luminous rays of this enchanting world of yours. Yet you may live and die the fate of any other hard stone in the neighborhood.
At times, you may be a feather light species, yet floating all the skies and wings of tomorrow. You never know what nature want from you and it is willed to mine from your various pathways.
Walk ahead, walk alone, straight and strong. Nature only knows your mold and metal. It will melt you to the core, till the sheen stems out of the darkness, in the eternal moment of truth.
What is the meaningful distance between human experiences?
- It is infinitesimally small while we experience an interface in a mobile application.
- It is substantially large while we experience an information overload in a twitter wall or a large physical library archive.
- It is quite immeasurable while we experience dreams where we sift between cognitive states.
How do human mind behave in between experiences? This question is pertinent when we are cognizant about the transition from one experience to another.
It becomes further more relevant in a digitally connected world with ubiquitous computing possibilities, as human mind is pretty much conscious about the journey from a device to another device, one interface to another interface and so on. In these situations, experiences get identified with devices and interfaces.
At the moment, we are finding it tough to trace how human mind traverses between digital experiences. It is because of the structural issues in mapping human mental states in complete precision.
Human mind has been transitory from its dawn. As technology has become pervasive we are finding better options to absorb the transition states of human mind. The transitory nature of our mind has helped a lot in the digitization of information and experiences. Yet the physical entity called human mind in itself remains outside the realm of digitization.
When we realize that human mind is transitory, on the other side experiences are also transitory. Thus it appears to be a nested loop. Information is another component in this equation. Thus human mind, human experiences, and humanized information traverse with respect to each other.
What traverse faster? Is it the human experiences or the information created by human engagements. Or is it the human mind which is at the root of all these marvelous achievements. It is an interesting question at this juncture. Let’s explore further.
Digital communication systems have invaded the contours of our personal and social life like never imagined. As we are realizing that digitization has begun to influence our thought processes and behaviors, it is time to reflect on some digital interaction models between individual psyche and the collective society. These concepts may appear counter-intuitive at the outset. But they are playing a big role in our digital expressions and experiences.
The whole sum of the digital experiences and imaginations prevalent in a society. They manifest in the interfaces between technology and society, business and economy, individual and organizations. The moment social expressions interact with the digital media formats, digital consciousness comes into play. There are studies on the cognitive and behavioral processes behind digital consciousness. Digital consciousness can play a big role in the next generation information systems where cognitive computers and natural language processing algorithms are going to play a big role in extending the reach of digital business. As digital systems are becoming more conscious, conscious human beings are changing to more digital in nature. Digital consciousness will help us to understand the meeting point of these two tendencies.
While digital represents the most advanced facet of communications and technology, archetypes are the constructs that denote the most primitive and subtle psychic realms of human society. Digital archetypes are the subtle and submerged drivers for further digitization in our society. According to this notion, digitization is not an accidental occurrence, rather an economic and scientific manifestation of an enduring tendency in the history of mankind. Humans have invented symbols and expressions from primordial times. These acts of symbolism and poly-morphs can be seen in digital expressions as well. Due to their historic existence, digital archetypes run through the cultural and racial threads. Thus digital archetypes are excellent sources of information for digital ethnography, anthropology and design research.
This is an interesting concept. The contradictions between content and form has been perennial in the world of art and literature. Now we can see the dichotomy between content and form very prominent in digital expressions and experiences. Digital content and digital form are overlapping into each other’s domains. Digital content can exist in an physical form as well as digital form. The quantum signal processing and quantum cryptography are some good examples. These systems employ physical properties to encode and decode digital information. Likewise, with the digital form can encapsulate both physical and digital content. Optical and acoustic signal processing systems and wearable devices are some excellent examples for encoding physical information within digital formats without digital transformation operations.
Semiotics is the scientific study of symbols and morphs. Digital semiotics will be the study of digital signs and morphs. To study signs and morphs we should understand the communication systems and models. Man and machines cannot be isolated while we study communication systems from a semiotic perspective. Hence we should take a holistic approach to enlist a few fundamental processes relevant to digital semiotics.
These four paradigms operate on three distinct layers of digital experience. Digital consciousness is something we can evolve through digital experience. Digital archetypes are the immutable principles of digital experience which we can learn to improve our delivery of services and engagements. Digital duality is an inherent ambiguity in the digital communication that need to be managed through intelligent transformation methods. Digital semiotics will help us to streamline our digital expressions and symbols so that they are better understood and digested by the audiences.
Famous psychologist Carl Gustav Jung popularized the term ‘Archetype’ in social psychology and cultural anthropology through his observations on the primitive models of human mind that transcends the immediate neighborhoods of human life. It is interesting to note that human mind can permeate the cultural identities of social life beyond the boundaries of an individual psyche. When we look at the emerging digital consciousness in our contemporary society through the Jungian lens, we can observe hidden but subtle archetype formations.
To understand the subtle processes of digital archetypes, we may need to pause a while and digest the nature of digital consciousness. It is inherent in digital lifestyles and aspirations. Human memory is an interesting specimen here. It has undergone substantial changes after the emergence of digital lifestyles.
Our memory tends to be more faster and disjointed such that we tend to remember immediate past more precise and clear compared to our distant past. A decade ago, we had vivid memories of the distant past but our recollections of the immediate past was not this precise and fine grained.
Our perception is another example. Many cultural theoreticians acknowledge that our contemporary society is more image centered and logo driven compared to previous times. Now let us examine the roots of digital archetypes in our emerging digital consciousness.
It is interesting to note that while our digital consciousness is more discrete and finite, our digital archetypes exhibit a generic pattern. When digital consciousness varies between Gen X, Y and Z, digital archetypes will be of common nature.
Our crowd like behavior in a digital experience and image centered memory are a few digital archetypes. We are embracing ‘digirati’ or digital lifestyle in an era when our society is exhibiting more crowd like behavior in every walk of life. Technology and fast pace of monetary exchange seems to influence this crowd formation. They appear to be the centripetal forces behind the crowd formation.
This crowding behavior is a natural response to the accelerating pace of social changes and upheaval. Not only business models, our political ideologies, governance models, and cultural values are undergoing rapid transformation. Our individual psyche is finding it difficult to define its unique existence in this flux of affairs.
When did human society witness similar rate of change?
It was during an era before the agrarian settlements and river valley civilizations. We were natural crowds during those times known as nomadic tribes. If we look at the cave inscriptions of those times, we can see that those were mostly images or pictures. We worshiped natural logos then. Now we worship technology driven logos.
Thus the digital archetypes of our times is a reflection of our distant nomadic life. It will be further more interesting to see how human society develops settlements in this rapidly varying digital landscape.
What do you feel about the term ‘digital transformation’ ? This was a topic emerged during the candid conversation with a friend of mine during the last Friday evening. Both of us stared at each other for a while. Then we went back to our thoughts.
For me, the combination ‘digital + transformation’ was more than the sum of two words. Yes, it is beyond the simple application of digital tools to transform the enterprise. I believed the concept of digital is more that the devices and tools that generate digital signals. It is a way to adapt to the needs of the current space and time.
For my friend, it was a method devised to modernize the enterprise to meet the contemporary needs of market or society. He added one more thought saying that it is an organic alignment to the needs of the current market and society.
Thus for both of us understood the need to adapt / align / reflect to the needs of the contemporary market and economy. Digital transformation is not an adaptation of predefined tools and processes, rather a conscious attempt to be in sync with the contemporary society and market. Then the natural question is whether the current society is digital?
Our current society is not yet fully digitized. Yet we embrace digital platforms and lifestyles like never before. We may need to traverse centuries further to be called fully digital society. May be we will never get fully digital as a new concept my disrupt the society in future. Hence digital transformation methods of today may turn obsolete when society enters new epochs.
Thus we need to realize that it is not digital tools and methods that drive the transformation, but the need to align with the contemporary society. It is an intuitive and conscious motive to be in tune with the times. Thus keeping our transformation methods consciously in perpetual beta and evolving phase is as important as digital adoption.
Picture: Irrational Geometrics digital art installation by Pascal Dombis ( from Wikipedia )