[FoRK] Coordination is hard

Jeff Bone jbone at place.org
Tue Feb 2 07:53:41 PST 2010


On the democracy / government / scalability front...  Hanson, today:

   http://www.overcomingbias.com/2010/02/coordination-is-hard.html

Nb., these comments are true of any "organization" --- i.e., group of  
individuals ostensibly attempting to accomplish an overall goal or  
variety of goals cooperatively / by working together, leveraging each  
others' work, yet with potentially dissimilar or even competing  
interests and priorities and subgoals.  Several things make this  
acutely difficult in government, which are nonetheless fundamental to  
the very ideas and nature of "government."

But it's no less a problem in e.g. companies.  The interesting bit,  
from my perspective, is that there are increasingly compelling  
existence proofs (Google, Netflix, etc.)  that effectiveness at real  
corporate scale requires a high level of "stigmergy" --- i.e.,  
disorganization and decentralized, ad hoc coordination.  But there are  
also very good proofs that this *fails* to work in many cases.   
Understanding what allows it to work in some but not in others would,  
I think, be useful.  (I have my own conjectures about that, but will  
keep them to myself for now.)


jb



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