Six Ways to Out-Think the Future

Pre-paying the “Crisis Mode Cost”

To prepare for times of danger, uncertainty, or extraordinary opportunity, we must cultivate these six habits of mind in order to win the future (#WTF) by bridging the gap between Snow’s two cultures.

Mnemonic: CriSys MoDe CoSt

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MINFIG: Strawman, Steelman, Legoman

Most of you have heard the term “straw man” for an intentionally weak argument.   I only recently discovered that the tern “steel man” has become fashionable for the opposite (we’ve also referred to it as “strongman” or “brick man”): restating your opponent’s argument in the strongest possible terms.
Building on that, I propose the term  “legoman” for when we explicitly show exactly how the argument is put together, to make it easier for our interlocutors to deconstruct our reasoning and reconstruct alternatives.  This is what I call ‘pre-future’ thinking: we don’t claim to have all the answers, but we must present our best current understanding in a way that helps our community evolve better understandings in the future.  This is what I see as the heart of the scientific method, and what I am hoping to transplant into the humanities!
That said, the gendering of the term is starting to grate on me.  As an alternative, I have started using the term MINFIG: Maximally Informative Narrative For Inspiring Generativity.

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Truth Bowl: Saving Humanity from Technology (Beta 3 2019-08-015)

Please join us for Truth Bowl Beta 3 next Thursday, August 15th at 3PM Pacific.

  • Zoom Meeting: https://zoom.us/j/2960092796
  • One tap mobile: +16699006833,,2960092796# US (San Jose)
  • Dial by your location: +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose) Meeting ID: 296 009 2796

Framing Context

Technological progress has never been so rapid, pervasive, or impactful. Yet we are just starting to grapple with the negative consequences of our relationships to smartphones, social media, machine learning algorithms, and big tech companies.

In this hypothetical Scenario, the Activist (Bill) has been invited by the organizers of a tech conference to Pitch his concerns. The press and senior executives will be there. Activist asks the Confidant (David)  to preview his talk. Confidant is expected to raise helpful Concerns and Recommendations to improve the Pitch.

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Truth Bowl 2019-08-02 How to Fix Education (Beta 2)

For our second “Truth Bowl Beta” we are pivoting away from a panel discussion towards more of a back-and-forth debate — but with a twist! Rather than judging the two Panelists (“Pitcher” and “Catcher”), the audience (“Fielders”) primarily focus on capturing and rating the most useful Insights that arise during the Bowl using www.slido.com
with the code #T361. As before, the Gospodar acts as moderator and timekeeper.

The Challenge Question will be something like “What single change would ensure education better promotes societal flourishing?” There are three phases: Pitch, Counter, and Reflect.

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TB 2019-07-12-1500: The Purpose of Mass Education

Around the world, we invest enormous quantities of Financial, Human, and Social Capital in education. Why?  What do we hope to get from it? How can we measure that? Whom can we trust to give us honest answers, rather than merely promote a particular agenda?

In particular, is the purpose of higher education to:

1.  Learn the hard technical skills necessary to land a job
2.  Develop the soft “human” skills necessary for a meaningful career
3. Cultivate the habits of mind necessary for a fulfilling life

And if there is more than one purpose, how do we balance or integrate them in terms of curriculum and funding?

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Truth Bowl: Beyond Polarized Debate

Truth Bowl is a structured dialogue, halfway between competitive debate and a panel discussion, designed to model and train people in “productive disagreement.” TRUTH is sometimes interpreted as the acronym “Teaching Respectful Understanding Through Hospitality.”

Two Panelists compete in front of a Jury to address a Challenge, composed of a Question and an Objective. Members of the Jury award panelists Points for clarity and thoughtfully addressing disagreements. At the end of each Round, the Jury rewards the panelist who most helped them comprehend the Challenge with the title “Domaĝanto” (Esperanto for “Question Tamer”).

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Sign Up for Truth Bowl v1.0: Thu Jan 24 10:30am

This is it!  Please let me know by Monday if you can join a team for the 1.0 Truth Bowl competition:

Thursday, Jan 24th, 10:30 AM US Pacific Time
We want to put together two teams of 2-4 people each to start discussing the cases in advance.
Feel free to invite anyone else who might be interested; we will also need a few people to act as judges.  A draft Blurb is below (feedback welcome).

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