Patterns of Humanity

David West (html ) identified the following patterns, motivated by the insight, that our technology and the systems we intend to build with it, are an existential threat to humanity. But, simultaneously they present a potential to realize utiopan visions for human experience and life.

The problem is, that this potential can only be realized if our efforts are fully informed with knowledge and understanding of human beings and the cultures they have instituted in the past 10.000 years. This is what the following Patterns of Humanity thrive for (their 'pattern names' have been modified by S.H.)

# Motivation

What makes systems complex is that they have people in it. So, we turn people into little machines - as in the International Space Station. They are not allowed to be human beings. Every minute is a protocol. (David West)

- software systems don't fail for technical but for human/social reasons - foundational knowledge to improve domain patterns is needed - understanding exchange behaviour could improve patterns of collaboration -> we need to learn from anthropologists - we have to deal with Complex Adaptive Systems -> societies, cities. "Wicked problems" are a future-challenge. - it's important to augment the "engineering mindset"

The whole notion of human beings has been left out of computer technologies. But people matter. (David West)

# Why People Matter? - Systems are designed and implemented by people - People feel the impact of the systems designed - usually negatively - People are what make systems complex - People are not machines - People are wise, with 16000 years experience implementing systems that work -> we have a cooperative history - People can accomplish things that machines cannot

# What do we need to understand about people? - how they behave - what they believe - what they value (they act according to belief and value) - how they define themselves - how they change

# Six Patterns

# 1. Practice Reciprocity

Problem: Participation is optional. How do we assure that systems promote "appropriate exchange"?

Solution: Utilize one of the proven patterns of reciprocity: general, balanced or negative reciprocity. Market economies may be balanced (to a certain extend), but they are almost always negative!

Discussion: General reciprocity works if human relationship is really narrow or in a bounded context of balanced exchange, e.g. barn raising, mormonism (for scale, wiki ), counter example, PloP html . Negative reciprocity goes always through a cycle of working for a while and then crash.

Question: Can Zuckerberg realize his vision for global cooperative community when the Facebook context is an exemplar of negative reciprocity?

# 2. Leverage the Essence: aka 'God'

Problem: Since the "Age of Reason", western technological culture has become militantly "anti-supernatural". Any and every solution is "simply engineering".

Solution: Leverage the ineffable -> that is what human being are able to do that machines cannot.

# 3. Storyfy to transfer knowledge

Problem: The most effective, proven, form of communication is ubiquitous but seldom understood or utilized.

Solutions: Stories and effective storytelling.

Discussion: 90% of what everyone knows and understands was communicated via story. Story exchange is the only assured means of estabilishing shared understanding and collective "theory" (Naur). A story is only a story when it has characters, a plot, a narrative and most importantly extensive and rich evocative context, cf. Kontext.

# 4. Make use of Divided Labour

Problem: That which must be done is seldom doable by an individual.

Solution: Understand the work so that it can be apportioned in a fair way according to individual abilities, experience, interests and predilections.

Discussion: few if any "positive" patterns of divided labour can be found. Some are yet to be "understood" (e.g. "men hunt and women gather", "who gets to be CEO is arbitray", "the U.S. Senator has become a perfect 'hereditary' office", stereotpyes, enforced "equality", etc.). Our understanding of divided labor must be dramatically increased and grounded in a theory of individual differences and in insights from cognitive, anthropological and psychological knowledge. This pattern relates closely with 'rank' and 'stereotypes'.

# 5. Use Appropriate Stereotypes

Problem: our most intractable social problems are rooted in the misues of classes, types, and generalizations.

Solution: learn to leverage appropriate stereotypes and recognize abusive uses.

Discussion: stereotypes are essential and useful. However some things, especially human individuals, cannot be stereotyped. We always need to look at the specific/personal context and motivations. No group stereotype can be applied to any concrete member of the group. Only the "other" is ever stereotyped.

# 6. Establish Dynamic Rank

Problem: rank is abstract, inhumane, unfair and alienating. The more dynamic the system in which rank is embedded the greater the failings arising form "fixed" rank.

Solution: Establish a form of dynamic rank: ephemeral, grounded in circumstance, and instantiated based on individual differences and abilities.

Discussion: some rank is attained at birth and relinquished at death (royality, cast...)

this book became a bestseller and within two years the USA had 2000 Bellamy Clubs. source

# More Analytic Patterns - kinship - conflict resolution (war, violence, argument, "leopard kin chief" -> african cultures, "hoe and handle", bellamy club, transparency, enable collaboration/cooperation, mediation) - tabu - essence - tribal leadership (ephemeral, situational) - mysticism (embodiment, transcendence) - simplicity

# More Patterns Make Tacit Knowledge Public --> this is the valuable thing about the patterns approach in general and is challenging for the dominant understanding of science

# Sources

presentation by David West http at Purplsoc 2017