See Finding Compatibles for information about finding compatible people, places, jobs, education and things.
“The Big Picture” for the application of the scale is as follows.
Certain numbers are fundamental to understanding society, and can be plotted for different historical periods to describe fundamental changes in society. Thus the 18 th and 19 th centuries of British history can be characterized by workforce demographics, not just the population increase but more importantly the ongoing and unrelentless move of the labouring population from the agricultural workforce of rural areas to the industrial workforce of the cities.
Or, we can describe the changes in society today not just by the progress of the huge baby-boom generation from being children to middle-aged, but by the difference between that industrialized western-world population and the population pyramids of third-world countries.
Or we can talk about the gradual decrease in the crime rate as the baby boom generation ages, or the sometimes narrowing and more recently widening again of the income gap between the richest 1% of society and the poorest 1%.
And so on. All these numbers tell a story and there are many other numbers, sometimes gathered together under the name of ‘social indicators’. A book of that title, an MIT-publication of a report prepared for NASA contains some lists of social indicators, which include information on such things as the literacy rate (slowly but steadily rising in many third-world countries, but, unbelievably falling in the U.S.), the racial integration of urban neighbourhoods, the unemployment rate, and so on.
Some of these are essentially the same as what we are more familiar with under the name ‘economic indicators’, and indeed we cannot make a perfectly clear distinction between the economics and sociology of society, but some of these social indicators have very little to do with economics, and reflect things like free speech, which can be measured as column-inches of national newspaper stories criticising the government, but is usually more subjective. (CHANGE!!!!!)
No one claims that all social indicators require absolutely objective measurement. No matter how many column-inches the newspapers devote to criticising the government, free speech only exists when individual people feel they have it — if you are afraid to speak your mind then you don’t enjoy free speech, period. So it’s ok to base your social indicators on opinion polls, as long as you’re reasonably careful.
It makes sense that there can be social indicators which measure or report public opinions on the characteristics of a society, and the book lists of a couple of dozen such indicators, some of them hard to be precise about, some very clear and precise such as the percentage of the population on welfare.
And, I think you’ll agree that if we could get decent estimates for such numbers and how they have gradually changed over time, we would then know a lot about the societies they describe, in just the way various statistics about the workforce migration to cities tells us a lot about the history of our society.
But something is missing, something not measured by any of the indicators discussed in that book or anywhere else that I know of. In any society people don’t just become employed or become unemployed, get married or get divorced, they have to search for a job, against the competition of other job-seekers, and they have to search for a spouse or sexual partner, also in competition with others.
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