For many years now I have been trying to interest people in compatibility and suitability projects. I have had some limited success interesting certain people of an idealistic bent, and a few faint nibbles from people who see the commercial possibilities of such a project.
Let me say to the idealists that I am delighted by the projects of the Free Software Foundation and others who seek to provide good software or data for free, such as Project Gutenburg. But this matter is something that requires an enormous pool of candidates, a lot of people accessing the software, which requires something like the free services provided by Google on an ad-supported basis, instead of software or data to be obtained and used by individuals.
It may well be possible for completely free software and services to handle this problem, but until then a commercial project is probably necessary. Idealists might be disturbed by the fact that this could make a lot of money for the initial entrepreneurs or investors, but that does not concern me at all. For me, compatibility and suitability projects are so important that I don’t care who does them or who profits by them.
To understand the projects needed is to be idealistic and realistic at one. Realistically, the projects can only succeed with the largest possible pool size. They would be good if a substantial portion of the Internet users made use of them, much better if made accessible by ordinary hardcopy mail to a significant portion of the world’s literate people could use these services, and much much better if made available to everyone, regardless of literacy or connectivity.
Every candidate person absorbs friends, lovers, spouses, jobs and people to work with from the general population, reducing the pressure on the rest of the candidate pool, so adding even a single poor illiterate peasant to the pool of candidates affects everyone else in the pool. Adding a single job opportunity to the pool of candidate jobs absorbs one worker, reducing the pressure on the rest of the pool of people and jobs.
This is pure realism, just a fact of life. But in the end it arrives at a very idealistic goal: everyone on the planet should participate and benefit from these projects.
Ways of involving Internet users are obvious and free services like Google, run on profit making lines show the way. Ways of extending this to the worlds poor people were discussed in two large fiction projects of mine.
In Volume Two of The Green Family Chronicles , members of that large extended family and their sympathizers travel the poor countries or areas of the world, using wireless machines on behalf of the people who could not use them on their own, leaving similar machines with literate people who would carry on this work.
In Volume Three of Technological Fantasies there is a more centralized approached, not involving missionary activity by people from the rich nations. Instead volunteers around the world are sought by e-mail and asked to perform similar services. Personal advantages of drawing in a local collection of users by acting as their intermediaries are explained, but ultimately the spread of compatibility and suitability services around the globe depends on a huge corps of volunteers.
Neither of these approaches may be entirely practical, or perhaps they should be combined, but however it is done, the whole population of the world should eventually be involved. Whereas compatibility between people of different levels of affluence is difficult, ultimately compatibility depends on personality and such things as interests and educational background. While adding the wealthy and well educated to the pool of candidates obviously improves things for everyone, so does adding the poorest and least educated person. Personality, interests and educational background, no matter how limited, will attract people who have slightly greater social advantages, despite those advantages. This will inevitably cause a diffusion or blurring of social lines, permitting even the least advantaged to contribute to the effective pool size or number of candidates for any given social niche.
Having stressed the advantages of pool size, this is the place to introduce one again the chart of pool size versus compatibility or suitability.
As noted above, if the pool of candidates is small the chances of a good job, spouse, or intimate friend is low.
We can relate compatibility to the size of the pool. For measuring compatibily it suffices to count the zeros in the (base 10) representation of the pool size. Incompatibility can be measured the same way. For ease of understanding these are given as negative numbers.
Incompatibility Level Pool Size — number of candidates Compatibility Level Pool Size — number of candidates Level 0 no choice — only 1 candidate Level 0 no choice — only 1 candidate Level -1 worst out of 10 candidates Level 1 best out of 10 candidates Level -2 an even worse choice, worst out of 100 candidates Level 2 best out of 100 candidates Level -3 worst in 1,000 Level 3 1,000 candidates Level -4 10,000 Level 4 10,000 candidates Level -5 100,000 Level 5 100,000 Level -6 bad luck, worst in a million Level 6 one in a million Level -7 10 million Level 7 10 millon Level -8 100 million Level 8 100 million Level -9 worst in 1,000,000,000 Level 9 1,000,000,000 candidates Level -10 somewhat more than than the population of the world Level 10 somewhat more than the population of the world Level -11 possible for the unluckiest person in the world Level 11 possible for the lucky
Copyright © 2008, Douglas Pardoe Wilson