Victus Spiritus


Ease in to Complexity with Simple Steps

21 Jan 2011

Tools provide people with a means of overcoming a challenge.

Want to drive home a nail? 
Use a hammer.

Want to persist and enable access to data?
Use a database.

Want to eat ants out of a tree stump?
Use a stick. ;)

Technology, the collection and utilization of all tools, is the wunderkind of the modern world, yet predates humanity. The sustenance and quality of our lives depends upon the promise of well utilized technology. Yet optimized instances of technology can appear both bizarre and incomprehensible to a layperson or neophyte. The history of both designed and emergent technology, as it builds on and into its predecessors, is far from obvious. As the layers of technology grow more complex, we depend on deeper education and training to maintain our current functional level, and progression slows.

Technology is tasked to optimize the continuation of itself

It's not enough that we can fly to the moon or construct a global interactive network of communication if we keep having to reinvent yesterday's solutions. To pass along what we learn to those who inherit our imagination we rely on education. No matter how curious the pupil, or dedicated the teacher, highly complicated material takes time to convey (high cost, low adoption). In order for technology to quickly permeate cultures and replicate as ideas, it is crafted as independent blocks which are easy for students to understand.

Imagine life, civilization and our shared reality as one great computation. The goal of the uber calculation is to optimize for quality and longevity of human existence. Technology is the gear that is turned to achieve this always out of reach, utopian vision. While the sum total of our technology grows more complicated with each generation, our ability to learn and master its secrets progresses slower. In order to continue to advance, we must better craft technology into modular components which are easy to learn and serve multiple roles.

The most complex calculations on Earth happen as countless trivial computations. Individual iterative updates are combined into miraculous results. From massively parallel synaptic activation in human minds, to map/reduce calculations within large computing farms, enormous processing is the result of bite sized calculation blocks that are easy to exchange and duplicate. The advancement of technology will benefit by mimicking complex processing.