Do You Wonder Why Things Feel Out of Control?

April 26th, 2011
in Op Ed

china-speaking-english by John Lounsbury

If you are feeling that the world is going crazy, the video here will explain some of the reasons why.  The problem may not be crazy as in insane, but crazy as in unprecedented explosion of people, knowledge and productive activity.  What is going on is the progression of the information age beyond what many can recognize or even comprehend.  Watch the video (less than five minutes):

Follow up:



When one is living in an age of creative destruction (Joseph Schumpeter) things can seem quite hopeless to those who are exeriencing the destruction and are not part of the creation.

Hat tip to J. Clinton Hill, International Director, Wincasting Digital Media, Shanghai.  He blogs at

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  1. Elliott Morss says :

    A five minute video? I never watch videos. In five minutes, I can read and get the main points in 10 articles.

  2. roger erickson says :


    You're leaving out many stellar points long known in physics, biology, military doctrine & all systems sciences.

    Data is meaningless without context.

    The overwhelming majority of any data set at any time is meaningless to a given context.

    The ability to converge to the leanest-possible data set relevant to context conveys the highest survival value - it's called signal extraction and reduction to navigation signs. I just say that we all are, and always will be, "context-nomads" - reading & responding to the changing signs.

    Pattern-recognition-speed and parsing-speed and reaction-agility trump all other forms of personal and group "intelligence".
    [It's called either "adaptive-rate" or "reverse-entropy".]

    That bit about the population of "smart-people" in India vs other populations also held back when a few thousand Brits conquered the whole damn continent, by out maneuvering all those disorganized smart people.

    So far, volume of data, population size and all other narrow metrics are trumped by organizational capabilities. That's been known throughout history.

    Even at the end of your 5 minute video, most people on earth are still missing these points.

    There are always a few, more organized barbarians, at every gate - ignoring such nominal numbers.

  3. Admin (Member) Email says :

    Roger - - -

    Roger - - -

    You are not the only person who took exception to the "5 minute marvel." (Elliott was one who did so and posted a comment above.) I actually compared it quite favorably to the history of the world in 90 seconds (I think it was 90 seconds) that I saw one or two years ago. That video flashed images at the rate of 2-3 per second from the stone age to the 21st century. But I do agree that data without context has limitations. For people like you, a meaningful context can be self-supplied. For others, a data dump could be not that useful, and even misleading.

    Despite your negative reaction (and a couple of others) I don't regret the post. In fact, your comment alone made the posting worthwhile.




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