Sunday, 12 July 2015


When complex systems fail it's probably bad news, so you have to build in other complex systems to accommodate. Human systems are by comparison rather primitive I suppose, but they are still complex,  since we respond to such myriad subtle stimuli to work out whether we are in a good situation or not, whether to fight or run. By comparison e-mail as a means of communication is the equivalent of a clump hammer.
People imagine that working is a university is a rather comfortable life; well it probably was and it probably could be, but there are a series of intractables within the management of that complex system within the management of another; the wider economy which have turned universities in to businesses, which are making life harder and harder. It's now a war between a culture of culture and a culture of management.
If we forgot every previous human catastrophe (I wonder at the tone of Hitler or Stalin's e-mails if they'd been able to send them) it would seem to be better to rely on human systems rather than electronic clump hammers, it is certainly the case that if there is a sudden problem in the human system, it has be be worked out with negotiation (simply because we are all so damn difficult/complex), power in electronic systems means that a tiny snow ball very rapidly becomes an avalanche, partly because a series of distant individuals suddenly are made aware of a problem but can't get to the problem and fix it, OR, they all try and do so at the same time, creating confusion and cancelling each other out.
these days, everytime I hear that 'ping' for incoming mail, I quake in my boots. There you have it, in the modern world, you're PARANOID by definition.

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