The System for Getting What You Want in Life
Level 4: Serious Player
17 years ago, I wrote a heady, overly intellectual dissertation contemplating the nature of intelligence and what it means to be a person by observing the intersection between AI and Art.
*Whew* … even that short description was a bit much.
I'm sharing this because even though that work was ... a bit of a stretch (as you do in college) ... there's one lesson I've seen repeated over and over and over again.
What matters more than what comes out of a system is what you put into it to begin with.
Here's the essence of that work I did.
So, at the time (this was 2005ish) I was simultaneously geeking out about AI and about the ways in which people react to images.
(Iconoclasm is ... fascinating ... that someone can have such an emotional response to an image as to physically attack it)
As I approached my undergrad dissertation, I was tasked with creating a physical artwork and a written piece to go with it.
I decided I wanted to explore the nature of how we perceive an intelligent entity.
Because I'd seen people react and behave towards inanimate objects the way they do towards people.
Stay with me, I'm not going to get too deep into the weeds.
The culmination of that work was an interactive video installation.
It was an abstract representation of the room people stood in, and it changed based off how people reacted to it ...
Basically it was intended to "pay attention" to the most active group in the room.
I remember standing in the back of the room,
Watching people get really frustrated because they couldn't get the thing to pay attention to them.
I held that observation in the back of my mind for years.
And then AI came along.
And I watched the whole thing unfold over again.
The ultimate lesson for me is this.
Whether we are intelligent beings, or computers, or the environment made of up seemingly inanimate objects ...
We are all systems.
We ARE systems, and we are a part of them.
And invariably, every result that we see is the perfect result for the system that the result came from.
More important than trying to sort out the result of the system, is figuring out everything that goes into the system to get that result.
It's no surprise then that when I ran into this quote, I could only nod to the truth:
"Every system is perfectly designed to get the result that it does." - W. Edwards Demming
Since fully accepting that premise and looking through the lens of "system" into not just my business but my entire life, I've found a significant level of what I can only describe as empowerment.
Want to not act like an a-hole? (DALA)
Recognize the systems of your life. Recognize that the results of what you are doing, of what is happening around you, of what is happening to you, are all the exact correct result for the system you are in.
Let's explore …