logo

On Human Evolution, Personality Disorders, and the Environment

standard post
Shlok Vaidya  -  
0 Comments   

Some idle thoughts on the evolution of humanity’s relationship with its environment as sparked by this article, which states:

Individuals who scored in the top 10% of manic features had a childhood IQ almost 10 points higher than those who scored in the lowest 10%. This correlation appeared strongest for those with high verbal IQ.

“Our study offers a possible explanation for how bipolar disorder may have been selected through generations,” said Daniel Smith of the University of Glasgow , who led the study.

“There is something about the genetics underlying the disorder that are advantageous. One possibility is that serious disorders of mood – such as bipolar disorder – are the price that human beings have had to pay for more adaptive traits such as intelligence, creativity and verbal proficiency.”

As I see it, there are two end states:

Read More



-Shlok
Sign up for my newsletter.


Fuck Your High-Minded Design

standard post
Shlok Vaidya  -  
0 Comments   
AK_47_drawing

Here’s an ill-considered piece by Mike Monteiro wherein he argues that designers, out of responsibility, should, in response to being asked to design things that matter, things that need design solutions, “raise our hands and say ‘I’m not making this.'” Full quote:

And if we come to the conclusion that these products cannot be made safe, how many of us will see it as our responsibility to raise our hands and say “I’m not making this.”

(If the damn thing doesn’t damage anyone except who it is fired at, it’s safe in the context of a weapon, but, whatever, he’s the design expert.)

He goes on to rant about firearm design, making Kalashnikov out to be some sort of money-minting weapons fetishist and how designers cannot design well if the intent of the object is to kill.

Fuck him. Fuck the AK-47. Fuck all guns and the people who design them, but especially fuck Mikhail Kalashnikov, the designer of the AK-47.

Overall, it’s an adolescent’s petulant response to the real world, and, what pissed me off about it, is that it is one that does the design community a disservice.

Your role as a designer is to leave the world in a better state than you found it. You have a responsibility to design work that helps move humanity forward and helps us, as a species, to not only enjoy our time on Earth, but to evolve.

Great. But that’s not how the real world works. Yes, design can improve the world. But to do that, you have to engage with it, not hide behind your ideals.

Read More



-Shlok
Sign up for my newsletter.


Remixing Today

standard post
Shlok Vaidya  -  
0 Comments   

I’m remixing today to see tomorrow.

These are the pitches I’ve been posting to Twitter lately. I’ll compile them here every so often. Maybe with some expansion, maybe with the news stories that inspired them. Some may even turn into things. Read More



-Shlok
Sign up for my newsletter.


Agbogbloshie and Formalizing the Supply Chain

standard post
Shlok Vaidya  -  
0 Comments   

…a scrap yard at the impossibly teeming Agbogbloshie market in Ghana’s capital, mining — along with hundreds of men and boys — for metal wires and parts that can be re-sold and burning the plastic that encases them. Hour after hour, their clanking tools pound apart computers and video game consoles that were discarded in the United States and Europe and shipped here to rot.

Demand drives supply. Supplies diminish. Over time, we recycle not because of altruism, but for profit, and as we melt away from advanced markets, who recycles, and how, expands to include anyone seeking profit. This is the ad-hoc infrastructure provision that fascinates futurists. As your average slum will substantiate, it’s filled with ingenuity, it has to be. It’s humans at work. Little pretense. Social order is organic, not rigorously structured.

For that simple reason, those ad-hoc supply chains will formalize, and the Uber, but for Copper, will have its own app, instead of a kid with a hammer handing it off to a brother in a rickshaw who delivers it to an uncle at the factory.

 



-Shlok
Sign up for my newsletter.


Extending Security, Extending Governance

standard post
Shlok Vaidya  -  
0 Comments   

The service is essentially a geolocation-enabled emergency notification system which acts as an extension of one’s home alarm system.

Security, the protection of the physical self and property, was a service provided once by kings, then by nation-states. The theory of monopoly of violence.

A theory because there are no perfect monopolies. Not a hard shift, but blurry, gray transition, as time is wont to do.  Still, you don’t need to pack heat to protect the pasture, because there’s police departments and FBIs and CIAs and a DHS and a DoD. The point of providing violence as a service was so as to remove it from the day to day, and in turn, let humans unlock economic progress, better the species, enable more babies, and their survival.

Small, nimble, violence providers have challenged that monopoly. They found an alternative means of improving their station in life, of upward mobility, by flying planes into buildings. Detonating our buses. Triggering wars, underpinning economies of violence, exploiting it all to expand their reach.

And, even as we fight the good fight, it becomes clear that this is a chronic, not an acute illness. Unlike the wars of our fathers, this is without end. And, it will give rise to a new generation of governance.

One where security is provided for a fee. Without the trappings of a state. It’s not shrouded in taxes and flags. It’s not decorated uniforms. It’s black armor. It’s a giant red button on your phone. It’s not sirens, it’s a black helo, it’s fast-roping, and its security, violence incarnate, exactly where you need it, when you need it. It is not laws and solving for after the fact, violence as a service, now.

It’s firing one company by deleting it from your phone, and claiming the services of another pseudo-state by downloading another. It’s reading five-star app reviews describing rape-prevention and taking down a drone-stalker.

It’s reading 1-star reviews, penned by family members, where these new governments failed.

 

 



-Shlok
Sign up for my newsletter.