Posts Tagged ‘simulators’

About the Next Wave of the Kondratiev Cycle

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

The Future Center Smart Systems will be launched, 23-4-2014 in the Hague.

To prepare for the interactive part of the meeting this document has been written to provide some Food for Thought.

What is a Future Center?

A Future Center is a place to connect and innovate. We want to create an environment that facilitates interaction and stimulates collaborative action. We want to support cross-innovation and make it possible to make new combinations. Last but not least we want you to challenge Science to produce valuable insights at the right time and the right place.

A Future Center is a Smart System. At this moment it is an interaction system that helps Humans to innovate. In the Future we wil automate the Future Center and automate the innovation-process itself.

What is a Smart System?

A Smart System looks like a human being. It is equipped with a Sensory-Motor-System, a Mind, Imagination and Emotions.

Smart Systems senses the outside (and his inside) world with much more sensors-types than the five sensors of his human look-a-like.

A Smart System is able to react very fast with its predefined processes on a event that is detected by its sensors.

A Smart System is an adaptable system. It is able to analyze and improve its behavior, communicate with a human being and other Smart Systems in an understandable way.

Smart Systems are there to compensate the human biases. Smart Systems are able to transform and optimize everything that contains some kind of structure.

Smart Systems  can optimize software, data and content using software/data/text-mining, analyze patterns, predict the short and sometimes the long term.

Smart Systems are perfectly suited to provide the knowledge needed and answer the questions humans ask. They are able to train humans in an almost real situation using simulators.

Smart Systems can be fun to play with.

About Cycles

In 1931 the US Department of Commerce assigned Edward Dewey the task of discovering the cause and underlying dynamics of the Great Depression. Dewey created a special institute called the Foundation for the Study of Cycles that is still in existence.

The most interesting observation of Dewey is that Cycles restore themselves all the time and are connected by a Harmonic (“Musical”) Pattern. Dewey discovered that we cannot control the Cycles.  Ups and downs are a fact of life.

The most researched Cycle in history by far is the Kondratiev-Cycle named after the Soviet economist Nikolai Kondratiev. The Kondratiev Cycle has a periodicity of 52 years.

The Kondratiev arises from the combination of basic innovations that launch technological revolutions that in turn create leading industrial or commercial sectors.

In the year 2000 the Kondratiev was at his top and is now in a decline that will take 26 years.

Currently we are in  the Kondratiev Spring Phase. It is the time of what Schumpeter, a big fan of Kondratiev, called Creative Destruction.

The old structures are dying and the new structures that will start the new upward wave are created.  It is a time of tremendous disruptions.

About the Software Factory

The last wave that started around 1950 was dominated by the rise of the centralized computer.

This computer was based on the factory-model of Henry Ford and Frederick Winslow Taylor of the previous wave.

Between 1950-2000 isolated creative programmers united in big software factories that are controlled by unified standardized methods and processes. Between 1950-2000 the programmers automated their own processes.

The methods are now transformed into standardized (BPML-)process-models that are abstracted into standardized (VDML-) business models that are filled with Industry-Models. An example is the ARTS-model that covers Retail.

Creative programmers are now replaced by creative business-modelers.

About the Next Wave, The Network of the Human Mind

On Christmas 1990 Tim Berners-Lee working at CERN published the first version of The World Wide Web. He launched the theme for the next wave, The Network.

From 1950 until 2000 the causal linear manual processes were automated but now the next level, the network of the human mind is at stake.

At the end of this wave around 2040 or much earlier as some people predict, the machines will imitate and surpass the human because they will unite in a global brain that can be connected to our Brains if we want that to happen.

At this moment we are creating the memory-banks of the Global Brain by producing billions of connected parts that contain complete human life’s, theories, music, movies, measurements and much more that we are now unable to imagine.

A Short Scenario for the Next Forty Years

It is clear that the Business-Domain-Models will speed up the process of value-chain-integration and value-chain-reversal.

This means that the customer will be in control of the value-chain en there will be direct contact between customer and producer. Value-chain-integration will in the end remove all the intermediaries in the value chain.

Value chains will finally converge into one standardized value chain. Best-practices of separate value-chains will become leaders in the new value-chain. Cross-innovation, combining the best of all worlds, is the way to move on.

To give customers control of the value-chain producers have to simplify their products and make it possible for the customers to create their own version of the product they want.

Products have to become configurations of simple building blocks that can be split into variable parts and infrastructure.  Product-configurators will connect to other configurators. This makes it possible to create completely new combinations.

In the next step the data that is produced by the systems will be analyzed and processes will not be controlled by human made models but by models that are created by statistical pattern recognition tools. The systems will understand humans and predict human behavior and adapt themselves to the human needs.

In the last stage the software will produce an image that reduces the complexity of its whole. It will create a virtual human world that gives us the illusion that we are still in control.

At that time most people will play and not work.

Challenges

The most important question you have to ask yourself is if your company is part of the “old world” that will finally be destructed by creativity or is already part of the new wave.

The big problem is change management,  how to move from the current state to a for most companies and institutions unknown future. Companies, Institutions and People have to transform their collaboration patterns,  their software, their data and their expertise.

The change process is accelerating. Almost all companies and institutions (and governments) are stuck in their installed base of software and their hierarchical organization structure that is not created to respond fast to the challenges that come from the outside word.

LINKS

About Smart Systems

How to Create Human Scale Tools: About Movers, Memories and Comparators

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

Humans are the most advanced toolmakers in nature. The main reason is that they are the less specialized organisms. They need tools to survive. People are also the most complex organisms in nature. This complexity makes it possible to invent new possibilities and to work with specialized tools and animals (horse, cow, hammer, car, computer).

All the time people have tried to make a better living by inventing new tools. If the basic needs were met (food, housing, health, safety), people got the time to get their emotional system into balance (love, self-esteem) and satisfy their imagination (play, explore, self-actualization).

At this moment, the amount of leisure-time to enjoy family life, relax, play and explore is going down. The number of people with heavy levels of stress is growing. The pressure on the emotions is increased by the current state of technology. The tools have overlapping functionality, take too much of the attention, do not communicate with each other and dominate the human being.  

Tools have to be integrated completely in the cognitive system of the human being. If a tool takes over a part of the sensory-motor system (glasses, hammer, car) the imagination has to learn a new way to create the outside world. In the end, after practicing, people become united with their hammer or their car. They are not aware that they are carrying their glasses. If people have to practice too long or the tool is constantly intervening in their workflow the emotions get involved. They get frustrated and angry.  

Tools were first invented to support basic human activities like talking, moving, looking,  hearing, remembering and learning.

In a later stage of development, the use of the tools generated a new space of exploration. In this space, new tools emerged.

The invention of symbols started the exploration of Mental Space. Program Languages, Telecommunication and especially the Internet has opened up a new space to explore, called Cyberspace. 

  • Advisor or Master

Advisors and masters involve the emotions. An advisor helps to make a choice or to set priorities. A master (e.g. a physician, teacher, manager) makes a choice for a person. The Cyberspace version of the master and the advisor is the Expert System. It uses advanced ways of pattern-recognition (e.g. Neural Networks).

  • Simulator

Simulators stimulate the imagination. Theaters and movies are examples of passive simulators.  Games are actively involving many people. The Cyberspace version of the active simulator is the Collaborative Computer Game. The passive form can be seen in the Movie and the Television-program.

  • Memory

A memory archives the results of an internal or external dialogue. In the beginning, human communication was only verbal. Important issues to remember were incorporated in stories that were told from one generation to the other. When people specialized their activities, they needed a method (bookkeeping) to keep track of all the transfers. People invented symbols and the external memory to do this.  The writing-symbols made it possible to share and exchange memories (letters, books) without talking. Writing enabled the movement of memories. The library was invented to store the external memories and protect them from fading away. Cyberspace is filled with the versions of static and moving memory called the Electronic Message (Email, Transaction) and the Database. 

  • Mover

Movers were the first tools used in human society. A mover is an extension of the muscles. The first generation was invented to help the human move in physical space. Examples are hammers, cows, horses, steam-machines, cars, bicycles and robots. The next generation supported the movement of symbols (e.g. moving numbers) in mental space. The Difference Engine of Charles Babbage was invented to automate the calculation of mathematical tables. The most advance version of the mover, the telecommunication network, enables the movement of external memory’s in cyberspace.

  • Sensor

Sensors transform and filter data. Glasses and hearing aids were invented to support people when they get old.  Humans looked at the stars and invented the telescope. In a later stage very advanced sensors were developed (Radio-telescope, MRI). They use complex statistical calculations to filter and transform the sampled data into pictures or sounds.

  • Comparator

Human survival and learning is based on comparing data and acting on the result. A comparator acts on an exception. To compare data a measurement instrument is needed and a agreement about the object of measure.

Human beings started to measure time and space a long time ago. It was needed to navigate and to predict the movement of the stars. In the first phase, the human body was used as a measure-instrument of space and the cycle of the sun and the moon as a measurement for time. The big problem with this approach was that every person and every place on earth came up with a different measurement and a different time. \

When the human networks started to connect, standardization on a global level became necessary.  The process of standardization of time and space took many ages. It needed numerous inventions in technology to support the process. The measure-instruments changed from mechanical devices (the clock) to software-devices.   

  • Servant (Operating System)

A servant coordinates the activities of sensors, comparators and memories. Servants take over repetitive patterns.  Humans find these activities boring (not imaginative). A servant has to act invisible (a black box).

When the use of a servant is prohibited, humans get frustrated. It has to be there all the time and do its job inconspicuous. With the help of the comparator and the sensor, the servant has to detect events and take appropriate action (coordinated movements, action patterns).

The big problem at this moment is the visibility and the interference of the servant in the human activity. People have to fill in the same form all the time. Processes stop in the middle of a company. The customer has to handover the data to the other processes. 

Humans do not like to be emotional involved in boring activities.  Therefore, the needs (their wishes) have to be defined in a very simple way. It must be possible to imagine the behavior of the complete system without knowing how the system is operating. 

A good example of a perfect servant is the central heating system. People define their needs (a temperature) and everything works. The temperature is a control variable that represents the performance of the total heating system. People are able to imagine the effect of adjusting the thermostat (a comparator) on the environment they live in. They do not need to know how the servant works. His behavior is hidden. The central heating system is a black box, loosely coupled with another invisible servant-system, the utility-system (gas, electricity).

The servant and its associates were in the first era of IT locked into the physical space of the general-purpose computer controlled by its general purpose operating System. The servants had to stay close together because of the speed of communication. The speed and the capacity of the telecommunication network is going up fast.  This makes it possible to distribute, specialize and connect Servants (now called Appliances).

About “Just-in-Time”-Learning or Why we are still Waiting for Educational Simulators

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

Learning is an autonomous process. Human beings (and other organisms) respond to a change in their internal or external environment. We are not able to adapt to every change but small and gradual changes are implemented without noticing.

When you play the piano and pay attention to the notes your fingers are playing, your fingers will remember the notes they are playing. After some time you are able to find the notes by “letting your fingers go their way“.

Education is forced learning. We want somebody to acquire knowledge or a practice in the timeframe we have defined. Some people are able to do this with ease others fail.

In the old days children were educated in the context they lived in. Most of the time they copied the activities of their parents. The girls became a mother and the boys took over the practice of their father. Some of them failed and went their own way.

At this moment children are unable to learn in the context they live in. School is a completely artificial context where people are forced to learn what the “policy-makers” have defined.

Children learn without any force outside the school-environment and in certain situations this environment is an environment the “policy-makers” don’t like. Children learn to survive in a ghetto and are trained to become a thief or a seller of drugs.

What we see is a conflict between “real life” and “constructed or abstract life“. In about a hundred years we have created a highly abstract environment and this environment needs workers to sustain itself.

The abstract environment changes with an increasing speed. When somebody is trained to repair a car the car is changed into a highly computerized system and repairing is only possible when the computer tells the mechanic what to.

Adding numbers and multiplying numbers was educated at school. The calculating machine changed the game. The only thing you have to learn is to use the calculator.

The educational system is far behind the abstract world we are creating. It is forcing young people to learn things but they are unable to motivate why. The industry needs people to operate the machines but when they have trained their employees the world has changed.

The outside (abstract or imaginary world) is distancing itself from the internal world of human being and the real world they live in. The communication industry creates its own imaginary world that is shown in movies and games.

Why do young people have to spend so much time in a constructed environment that is totally disconnect from every part of the outside world it was aimed at?

The solution to this problem was invented a very long time ago and it is was called Life-Long-Learning. If we start to learn something we really need we learn without any problem.

Why is life-long-learning or “just-in-time”-learning not implemented?

Why are policy-makers writing big documents about this issue but are not implementing their vision?

The main reason is that they want to implement this concept in the “old fashioned educational system” using the old fashioned tools and the old fashioned employees.

The world has changed everywhere but the Educational System is still in the state of 50 years ago. This is really a very strange situation.

The first problem we have to solve is when “just-in-time“-learning has to start in life. Let us pick an age. Say 13 or 14. It is the time when many children start to have a job.

In the vision of “just-in-time-learning” this is the moment to give them the opportunity to make mistakes and ask questions that are “to-the-point”.

When children change (= learn) and are “adapted” we could change their environment and add complexity. In the end some of them could become even brilliant scientists. There are many examples in history of “self-made” scientists (Faraday).

I can imagine that you have a lot of arguments to show that this is a totally unpractical solution.

We could do something else. We could simulate “real-life’ and change the educational environment into a game.

Again I ask you why this has not been done until today. Well the first answer is that it has been done and there are already very effective educational games on the market. Some of them are even for free.

The second answer is that they are blocked by the educational publishers that make a lot of money by selling books and of course they are blocked by the teachers who don’t know what to do when children are learning without them.