“you never change things by fighting the existing reality. to change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” - R. Buckminster Fuller
the history of innovation is one that has been fascinating to me lately. from the evolution of the social contract based on certain environmental conditions (see post #1), to the notion that experimenting with new materials and being inclusive of a bunch of disciplines could be a way to overcome fears around industrialization (see post #2), there are interesting lessons that i hope i have been able to extract. this week, i sort of tie up the thread of this idea for now by looking at R. Buckminster Fuller’s idea of Word as Industrial Tool.
Word as Industrial Tool
if you do not know about R. Buckminster Fuller, you should take some time to read a bunch of his stuff. last summer, while preparing to participate in RadicalxChange’s virtual conference, i did a pretty deep dive into some of his work and i find myself continually referring back to his ideas, looking through some of the documentation and materials he worked on, and then getting inspired again.
part of the documentation he was so rigorous about includes his Synergetics Dictionary is a collection of notecards with some more pithy statements (in contrast to the textbook he put out on Synergetics, which is a much more intense and thorough examination of the geometries of self-organizing systems).
in particular, this idea about Word as Industrial Tool has impacted me quite heavily. as someone with a background in law, i have seen word literally be used to drag humanity and culture away from the fear that faced the world in the early part of the 1900s. as someone who knows enough about coding and computer science to basically articulate with some experts in the field, i have seen how words can further transform the way that our society is grouped together. computer code, a collection of words that can computationally do the same thing as words on paper at an unfathomable scale has transformed the ability of words to perform certain tasks. thinking about some of these transformations of words and the potential that architectures of programmable words can unlock is something truly special and also something that is utterly terrifying — sometimes both at the same time.
MIT Computational Law Report - Release 1.3 📚
we will be producing our next point release in the next two weeks (which could include this week but is probably next week).
Sciences Po lecture for Legal Reasoning, Interpretation, and Artificial Intelligence 🤖
will be doing a lecture (and possible demo) for Megan Ma’s class at Sciences Po on Legal Reasoning, Interpretation, and Artificial Intelligence. as i am doing w/ other lectures (as you can see below), i’ll be posting my notes and other materials from different speaking engagements that i prepare.
MIT Global Ventures Course 🌎
meeting at its regularly scheduled time this coming Thursday.
Legal Tech Academy - podcast 🎧
last week, Dazza and i were guests on a podcast produced by Alexandra Andhov and Mikkel Boris.
i put together a few notes for that presentation and those are available in this hackmd document.
on a personal level, last week was a little bit difficult. a bunch of my friends and family in Oklahoma were impacted by an ice storm that left 270,000+ without power, many of whom still have not had it come back on. add to that, a very close friend was diagnosed as being positive with COVID-19. in that spirit, i’m including this playlist i put together a couple months ago that encapsulates a lot of the COVID-19 uncertain anxiety mood:
i came across a number of links that i thought were pretty good last week and i’ll share some of the top 3 here — i think they pair well with the notion of word as an industrial tool.
How Eugenics Shapes Statistics - Aubrey Clayton in Nautilus
Is It Real? Can We Win? Is It Worth Doing?: Managing Risk and Reward in an Innovation Portfolio - George Day in Harvard Business Review
Documentation is Automation - Thomas A. Limoncelli in Communications of the ACM