Another Old Index Page
With Links to Newer Pages
This is an old home page, but still links to interesting pages on this site and other interesting pages on the web . There is now a (somewhat) newer home page , but the real news is to be found at SocialTechnology.ca which also keeps alive an older home page .
Imagine a future world in which it is easy to find a good job.
Imagine a future in which it is easy to find a truly compatible spouse or sexual partner. Imagine a world in which it is easy to find good long-term friends.
While you’re at it, you might as well imagine a future world without crime , since people with good jobs, good friends, and a compatible spouse or partner rarely commit crimes. And you should also imagine this world as affluent and prosperous, without poverty — precisely what one would expect of a world where everyone has been able to find very suitable work.
Traditional futurists have described worlds with humanoid robots and flying automobiles, but the world I dream about is one in which love and friendship are abundant, along with truly satisfying work in good jobs that are easy to find and keep.
This vision is one of the results of my long search for genuine solutions to social problems. By genuine solutions I mean solutions that are practical, affordable, and can be proven to work.
Far too often attempted solutions to human problems are only “band-aid” solutions, which at most treat the symptoms rather than the underlying illness, and often serve only to cover up those symptoms. Homeless shelters and food banks don’t treat the underlying causes of homelessness, just the symptoms. Welfare and unemployment insurance don’t treat the underlying causes of unemployment and poverty, just the symptoms. Indeed, some of these social programs probably make the illness worse.
I am not completely opposed to treating symptoms; sometimes it is necessary to do so. I don’t want people starving or freezing to death while we work on the underlying causes of social problems, but I insist that it is possible to cure social problems at the source, and I want you to at least look at my proposals.
I offer something new, something original. What I suggest comes neither from left nor from right. Both left-wing and right-wing ideas have been around a long time — if either had genuine solutions to offer, don’t you think we’d have figured that out by now?
The text above is a recent addition to this page, which is essentially my index or home page.
My name is Doug Wilson, and I live on Gabriola Island, off the west coast of British Columbia, Canada, not far from Vancouver, where I was born and raised.
I have written these pages to tell you about some ideas that I have been working on for many years. I think these are extraordinary ideas that could help to make human society work better and improve all our lives, but I’ll let you be the judge of that.
At the core of this material are ideas and results about linguistic technology, information retrieval, and combinatorial optimization — all very technical stuff.
But around this I have built a collection of ideas about social change — ways to make the world a better place and ways to make each person’s life much better. ‘Optimization’ means trying to make something better, and it is also techspeak for a collection of mathematical methods for accomplishing that. Please understand that when I advocate using these methods to make society better I am not suggesting any form of coercion, something I explicitly reject. If you are still suspicious of my intentions, please follow this link to a page that continues this discussion. Please also visit: SocialTechnology.ca No Bandaid Solutions
See also the SocialTechnology.ca Progress Report for the latest news
There are several ways to approach this material — you may begin by selecting one of these links:
By topic: pick one of these topics, or look instead at the page which describes how they are interrelated:
- A non-technical approach : the idea of social network optimization
- Some technical details : algorithms and underlying mathematics
- A narrative approach: describing the development of these ideas
over the past twenty-five years
As a Work-in-Progress:
- Look at three (very different) outlines that I’ve been working from: version 1 , version 2 , and version 3 .
- Examine pages in the process of being organized .
- Look at my list of all pages , which even refers to itself.
- How you can help with this work-in-progress.
I think that what I am trying to accomplish in these pages could happen without any further contributions from me, if I could just get certain groups of people talking to one another. For example, I’d like to get experts in sociometry, people who draw graphs called sociograms to describe existing social connections, talking to graph theorists and experts in combinatorial optimization who know about algorithms for matching nodes and for maximizing network flow. And I’d like to get both of those groups of people talking to futurists and others concerned with the way the world is likely to change.
To encourage such discussions I will be adding an annotated page of links to follow, but I until that is ready, here are just a few such links:
- The world today faces many problems, and a good place to start is by listing them. World problems is one of many pages devoted to the collection and analysis of information about world problems, especially the causal relationships between problems. Of particular interest is description of causal loops in which current social problems reinforce each other.
- Will humanity solve any of those problems? One serious attempt to predict the future is the deep future page , by J.R. Mooneyham. This futurist predicts a world with lots of technical advances in robotics, aviation, space travel, and so on, but nothing new in the area that I call social technology — and therefore, it is a future of social unrest and unhappiness.
- Requiem is Jay Hanson’s pessimistic look at a future in which almost everything goes wrong because of corporate greed, political weakness, and other problems with what I think of as old low-tech social technology. He calls his website “www.dieoff.ca”, which pretty much summarizes his message.
- A much more optimistic view can be found in Factasia , a fascinating blend of utopian thinking with educational material about mathematics, logic, philosophy, and engineering, by Roger Bishop Jones — a person whose interests are very similar to my own. But there the comparison stops, for he has put an enormous amount of work into his pages, which are depressingly impressive, better than anything else I’d seen on the web until recently.
- Perhaps the most interesting parallel to my own work on social technology is the Global Ideas Bank of the Institute of Social Inventions. They have also published books full of good ideas, which I have ordered from them and will review as soon as possible.
- Frontiers , is an online learning community with many interesting people and ideas. If you visit that site and want a more ordinary menu, click on the little house icon, and for a clickable image map, click on the word Map to the right of the house icon.
- I now have a Social Technology Pavillion at Frontiers, with an online forum you can participate in — the cartoon character in the blue sweater on that page is supposed to be me! The white stuff on the face is not a loathsome skin disease, it’s supposed be a beard!
- The journal Social Networks , includes material about Social Network Analysis, and the people who study that topic form a network, the International Network for Social Networks Analysis (INSNA) .
- Social Network Analysis has applications to business management, and there are a few professionals consultants specializing in it, such as Valdis Krebs . I think such services could be genuinely beneficial, but I am more skeptical about the willingness of management to facilitate the collection of good data and to properly implement the resulting advice. I regard most businesses and their management structures as as rather archaic forms of social technology that should be replaced with something much more sophisticated, not just supplemented with advice from technically advanced consultants.
- Combinatorial optimization was the subject of the recent conference of the ECCO : European Chapter on Combinatorial Optimization , and figures prominently in this list of useful optimization software .
I am trying to expand my collection of web pages to include other topics, such as computer programming languages, operating systems, and politics , and will add such links occasionally — so please check back here from time to time, to see what’s new. I should have a “What’s New” page, I guess, but for now I’ll just add links to the new stuff here, where it will stay until linked in with existing text.
Here is what is new as of Saturday, January 9th, 1999:
A page about the Global Ideas Bank at the Institute for Social Inventions and the prizes they offer for the best new ideas.
Two ideas from Nicholas Albery, chairman of the Institute for Social Inventions and editor of “The Book of Visions” and “World’s Best Ideas” and other ISI publications.
Here’s what was new as of Sunday, Dec. 20th, 1998 —
An easier and less controversial matching problem, matching people for communication on the web or by e-mail, is described on a page I call ” Net Net Baud Rate “, (a silly play on words). The material there is not actually very technical, despite the name.
For the sake of communicating with a correspondent who takes objection to my attempt to reduce the whole of human communication to “net baud rate”, I am putting up here an essay on reductionism.
Here’s what was new as of Friday, Dec. 4th, 1998 —
Corporations — ideas about changes to corporate law to reduce the undue influence of large corporations by discouraging predatory behaviour (instead of rewarding it).
Academic Interests — some of my educational background (the whitewashed version).
The Sailboat Metaphor — a discussion of free will and determinism.
The Particle Accelerator Metaphor — an alternative to the sailboat metaphor that emphasizes matching.
The Frontiers People-Matcher — plans for implementing some of my combinatorial optimization ideas at the Frontiers online learning community.
Towards a Free Simulation of the World Economy — I plan an incrementally-expandable simulation of the world economy to be made available to anyone who wants is under the GNU public license — and I don’t want to do it all myself, so please helpl.
Here’s what was new as of Monday, Nov. 2nd, 1998 —
The Video Store example , an example of some of the methods that can be applied to provide people with useful suggestions.
Business Applications , which addresses more general business applications of these methods, including team formation by matching co-workers in a business and using carefully matched teams of co-workers to estimate important numbers such as project costs or even stock prices.
Crime and Punishment spells out why the future world I describe will have almost no crime, together with ideas for dealing with today’s prisoners and the very few criminals which may exist in the future.
Here is what was new as of Monday, Oct. 26, 1998 —
The Social Technology Mailing List has just been started. Why not subscribe? It’s free, easy to use, and will contain lots of news and new ideas.
The Social Technology Pavillion at Frontiers is a new forum for the expression of these ideas and related ones, giving you a chance to contribute your ideas about social technology, or to help make something happen. Whether interesed in social technology or not, you might enjoy visiting Frontiers , which is an online learning community with many interesting people and ideas, and which also has a suite at Club Connect , an avatar community for meeting new people online. What’s an avatar community? Try it and see.
The Social Technology Page is a new title for the page formerly called “The Idea of Social Technology”, and it contains new content as well, including the anchors for the above two links.
These pages were new as of Monday, Oct.19, 1998 —
Copyright © 1998 Douglas P. Wilson
Copyright © 2009 Douglas Pardoe Wilson
Other relevant content:
Please see these web pages:
The main Social Technology page.
Find Compatibles , the key page, with the real solution to all other problems explained
Technological Fantasies , a page about future technology
Social Tech a page about Social Technology, technology for social purposes. I think I was the first person to use this phrase on the Internet, quite a long time ago.
Roughly corresponding to these web pages are the following blogs :
Social Technology the main blog, hosted on this site, with posts imported from the following blogger.com blogs, which still exist and are useable.
Find Compatibles devoted to matching people with friends, lovers, jobs, places to live and so on, but doing so in ways that will actually work, using good math, good algorithms, good analysis.
Technological Fantasies devoted to future stuff, new ideas, things that might be invented or might happen, such as what is listed above and below.
Sex-Politics-Religion is a blog about these important topics, which I have been told should never be mentioned in polite conversation. Alright that advice does seem a bit dated, but many people are still told not to bring up these subjects around the dinner table.
I believe I was the first person on the Internet to use the phrase Social Technology — years before the Web existed.
Those were the good old days, when the number of people using the net exceeed the amount of content on it, so that it was easy to start a discussion about such an upopular topic. Now things are different. There are so many web pages that the chances of anyone finding this page are low, even with good search engines like Google. Oh, well.
By Social Technology I mean the technology for organizing and maintaining human society. The example I had most firmly in mind is the subject of Find Compatibles , what I consider to be the key page, the one with the real solution to all other problems explained.
As I explained on my early mailing lists and later webpages, I find that social technology has hardly improved at all over the years. We still use representative democracy, exactly the same as it was used in the 18th century. By contrast, horse and buggy transporation has been replaced by automobiles and airplanes, enormous changes.
In the picture below you will see some 18th century technology, such as the ox-plow in the middle of the picture. How things have changed since then in agricultural technology. But we still use chance encounters, engagements and marriages to organize our home life and the raising of children.
I claim that great advances in social technology are not only possible but inevitable. I have written three novels about this, one preposterously long, 5000 pages, another merely very very long, 1500 pages. The third is short enough at 340 pages to be published some day. Maybe. The topic is still not interesting to most people. I will excerpt small parts of these novels on the web sometime, maybe even post the raw text for the larger two.
This site includes many pages dating from 1997 to 2008 which are quite out of date. They are included here partly to show the development of these ideas and partly to cover things the newer pages do not. There will be broken links where these pages referenced external sites. I’ve tried to fix up or maiintain all internal links, but some will probably have been missed. One may wish to look at an earlier version of this page , rather longer, and at an overview of most parts of what can be called a bigger project.
Type in this address to e-mail me. The image is interesting. See Status of Social Technology
Copyright © 2007, 2008, 2009, Douglas Pardoe Wilson
I have used a series of e-mail address over the years, each of which eventually became out of date because of a change of Internet services or became almost useless because of spam. Eventually I stuck with a Yahoo address, but my inbox still fills up with spam and their spam filter still removes messages I wanted to see. So I have switched to a new e-mail service. Web spiders should not be able to find it, since it is hidden in a jpeg picture. I have also made it difficult to reach me. The picture is not a clickable link. To send me e-mail you must want to do so badly enough to type this address in. That is a nuisance, for which I do apologize, but I just don’t want a lot of mail from people who do not care about what I have to say.
Copyright © 2009 Douglas Pardoe Wilson