Re: [xmca] Don C about the "epic" googlization film - a bit of mca history

From: Wolff-Michael Roth <mroth who-is-at>
Date: Thu Jun 28 2007 - 07:45:47 PDT

Hi Mike,
one of the problems we have both in the social sciences and in our
personal lives---not all of us---is recognizing what is at stake. I
view it as LIFE, and individual lives are the means by which life
reproduces itself. There is no ulterior reason for individual life
other than to make life and society survive. Harold Garfinkel talks
about "immortal society," which contrasts our own mortality.
Individually we realize possibilities that exist at a collective,
cultural level.
        Now when you think activities from the perspective of society, or
rather, the dialectic of individual and collective, we no longer have
to wonder about expertise in individuals but at expertise at the
collective level, where it doesn't matter whether it is in this or
that person, this or that individual. LIFE and society don't care, as
long as the activity reproduces them.

That's why I am not concerned with where expertise resides, and
therefore I argued, among others, for education to allow people not
special expertise but to be able to participate in meetings that
mobilize collectively available expertise (e.g., in a problem of
water supply for individual homes, we draw on expertise of
scientists, engineers, philosophers, politicians and the like, who
need to be able to talk across the differences in their root



On 28-Jun-07, at 7:31 AM, Mike Cole wrote:

Steve-- I believe the Googlezon film is a useful tool for thinking
about the issue of changes in agency
and ontology associated with massive parallel computing systems that
are the media for our knowledge
of thought and the world. It also overlaps the theme of data mining
for inter-cultural business advertising
and decision making Naeem introduced. Sure, there is a lot of hype,
which includes the hype over how
flat the world is, but Friedman is pointing at a real phenomenon, or
part of one.

Michael. I am all for organizing activity that leads to expansive
learning. But, again, going to the opposite
extreme and saying that deep knowledge and skill in a domain is
simply a mode of hierarchy/power creation
is, in my view, not helpful. Two really friendly and cooperative
peers who have no experience gardening (to pick
a domain where I readily concede my dufferhood, yet try to contribute
as best I can, while not hesitating to
stop in at my garden store to figure out why and how I killed two fig
trees in two years) might starve because
they cannot expand quickly enough. By the same token. western experts
who went into Liberia to "teach the
farmers" how to grow rice more efficiently were, for the reasons that
bother Michael and Louise. responsible
for widespread misery, starvation, displacement of people from the
land, etc. I am not valorizing expertise
unconditionally. I do value highly taking advantage of the enormous
heterogeneity of knowledge in a very
heterogeneous and uncertain world. I still do not want my grand
daughter piloting the next plane I ride in,
even if her best friend is co pilot.


On 6/28/07, Wolff-Michael Roth <> wrote:
Hi Mike,
perhaps we have to rethink the "more knowledgeable partner" and think
zpd as Yrjö suggested as a change in the activity system that leads
to expansive learning, and this may happen also in the case were
equally knowledgeable partners get together, or if a new tool is
introduced, different forms of division of labor are evolved, etc.


On 27-Jun-07, at 7:41 PM, Mike Cole wrote:

No one picked up on this and I should probably just drop it but the

continued discussion on ZOPED prompts me to ask, could a computer

algorithm be a "more knowledgeable" partner? Adaptive testing is another

example of an artificial intelligence that tries to move people into a

zone of maximum response. If the vision in EPIC 2015 were actualized,

might not the algorithm be a sensei, showing us the way forward? I

understand that the notion of _forward_ is problematic, but is that not

also true of a human sensei......or any teacher? And why should the goal

in a zoped be the ability to act independently? Most of the things in my

life that have expanded my capabilities are things I have come to rely

on and are now a part of me. I can't imagine how I ever wrote anything

of value when I wrote in long hand, had a poor (now nearly blind thanks

to me) secretary type it up, correct, edit, repeat, and so forth. Here I

link with Donna's contribution where she mentions natural born cyborgs.

Can anyone doubt that within my lifetime (and I'm OLD) that things like

MP3's and cell phones will be available as surgical implants?

Mind you, this all scares the beejeezes out of me..........djc
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Received on Thu Jun 28 07:48 PDT 2007

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