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Author: Ted

OODA loops

Building on my earlier posts on paradigm shifts and framing, I continue my interest in the process of shifting perception between models of reality. Paradigm shifts are fundamentally always shifts in the way we perceive reality. Perception itself is the dynamic outcome of the interactions between frames and schema.

When this model of perception is inserted in a complex and chaotically changing environment we end up with a cyclical process involving the reception and processing of external stimuli, followed by action or its absence and a repeated reception of stimuli closing a feedback loop. This process maps very well to Jogn Boyd’s OODA loop concept, where OODA stands for observe-orient-decide-act. The key stage of the OODA loop is orientation, because it is in the orientation stage that external stimuli, and frames, interface with the internal percpetion frame and the schema that form it. In this lecture I discuss the OODA loop concept as a cyclical decision making and feedback process, and focus on the orientation stage as the key aspect of that process.

On framing and schema

We live in interesting times. Times of transition, involving the collapse of an old order and the shift to a new paradigm. Such transitions are often mistaken for technological changes or revolutionary shifts in material conditions. Actually they are neither. Paradigm shifts are fundamentally always shifts of perception, that is, shifts in the way we perceive reality and therefore in the way we act in the world.

Therefore, to understand a paradigm shift we need to understand how perceptions of reality can be modulated and altered at scale. In other words, we need to understand the mechanics of perception. In this lecture I discuss the concepts of schema and frames as the building blocks of the mechanics of perception. I examine the way framing can be used to alter perceptions and discuss the case of Edward Bernays’ Torches of Freedom campaign.

Paradigm Shifts

You better start believing in paradigm shifts Miss Turner, because you’re in one.

Here’s a lecture I recorded recently, discussing the concept of paradigms and the process of paradigm shifts. I discuss paradigm shifts based on Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, though my focus is on a more general understanding of the process, involving awareness of change and the key mechanics of the phase transition from one paradigm to another. I also use Jordan Hall’s excellent short essay On Thinking and Simulated Thinking to illustrate how paradigm shifts necessitate a phase transition in thinking about and orienting ourselves in a given reality.

I think the year 2020 so far bears the marks of a massive socio-political-economic phase transition to a new paradigm, and that the mid 2020s will be unrecognizable to someone from 1996 or 2006.

There is a story that when Zhou Enlai, the late premier of China under Mao, visited France for the first time in the 1950s he was asked what he thinks of the French Revolution. His answer was ‘It’s too early to say.’

Gaudeamus igitur

Episode 7 of Naive and Dangerous, the podcast series I record together with my colleague Dr Chris Moore. Even though this episode was recorded at the end of 2019 I am posting it now as it closed season 1 of Naive and Dangerous, and, as I am returning from a long posting hiatus, I have to pick up where I left off. The episode is focused entirely on the Medieval in all its wonderful complexity. Enjoy.

Good artists copy, great artists steal

Episode 6 of Naive and Dangerous, the podcast series I record together with my colleague Dr Chris Moore. In this episode we return to emergent media with a focus on mashups. On top of that, we have our first special guest – the mashup researcher and artist Jamie Pye-Respondek. We had a lot of fun recording this episode, and we cover a lot of musical ground, while also straying into remix culture and the copyright insanity. Have a listen.

How to trust a sweater?

These are the slides for my paper How to trust a sweater: object provenance in smart clothing, to be presented at the 2019 Association of Internet Researchers Conference in Brisbane. In the paper I examine the dynamics of the entanglement of smart clothing and data, focusing specifically on the emergence of provenance as a key concept in the identity of smart clothing. I explore provenance in conjunction with emergent developments at the nexus of advanced materials and the fashion industry, as a way to inject ethical and sustainable practices throughout the production process of a given garment. I end with the notion of a prodigal object, acting as a relentlessly sociable gateway to local contexts.

All life is a struggle against Chaos

Episode 5 of Naive and Dangerous, the podcast series I record together with my colleague Dr Chris Moore. Nominally this is a podcast about emergent media, but in this episode, dedicated to war, we stray far into metaphysics territory. We start with a short definition of the generations of warfare – from the static lines of 1st generation war to hybrid 4th generation warfare which is both everywhere and nowhere. Then we go deep. Over 2 hours we cover Arjuna’s dialogue with Krishna before the battle of Kurukshetra, the devotio of Decius Mus, the song of Roland, Edward III and the Black Prince, Timur, the Eastern Front in WWII, kriegspiel, chess, go, the royal game of Ur, J.R.R. Tolkien, the Hobbit, the Lord of the Rings, H.G. Wells, the history of board games, Warhammer, the Total War series, and much more. Have a listen.

The best memes are never funny

This is Episode 4 of Naive and Dangerous, the podcast series about emergent media I am recording together with my colleague Dr Chris Moore. In this episode we discuss memes and the phenomenon of meme warfare. We start with a historical overview, beginning with ancient Sumer and the gods Enki and Asherah symbolizing the ur-memes of chaos and order, and then move onto the Egyptian god Kek and the emergent phenomenon of Kekism. We then move on to a definition of memes as frames influencing our perception of reality, and the emergent phenomenon of swarm-driven meme warfare as a dynamic contest over perception. Have a listen.

Space: ‘What is more beautiful than an Earth in a vast Cosmos?’

This is Episode 3 of Naive and Dangerous, the podcast series about emergent media I am recording together with my colleague Dr Chris Moore. In this episode we discuss space and various imaginaries associated with it. We start with Copernicus and Carl Sagan, and then move through the music of the spheres, cosmos and chaos, the space of creation myths and sagas, space as machine, space travel, the myth of the final frontier, parallel universes, lovecraftian space, and finally, Lagrange points. Have a listen.