Category: John Conlin

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Internet Giants: Not as Smart as They Think They Are


Google, Facebook, Twitter, and other large internet companies have taken it upon themselves to censor and block content they find offensive.  Unfortunately for some of us, they seem to find that any thought that might be described as conservative falls within this offensive category, but their actions are dangerous regardless of political leanings.

They each have their own methods of doing so, but they are trying their best to control what the public hears and sees and thereby shape what is thought.  Obviously, newspapers and other media have been doing somewhat similar things for ages, but these present attempts are of a different magnitude.

Never before has any media company had this level and control of “share of mind” over billions of people.  Google and Facebook and their subsidiaries (WhatsApp, YouTube, Instagram, etc.) control around 75% of all internet traffic and almost all advertising. 

Over half of the entire world, four billion people, uses the Internet.  Over 250 million people came online in just the last year!  The average internet-user now spends around six hours each day using internet-powered devices and services.

The problem with their attempting to control and rig the game is that they simply aren’t as smart as they seem to think they are.  What forces are they going to unleash with their manipulation and censorship in an attempt at thought control?  There is no way of knowing, as the various social interactions among hundreds of millions of people are far too many and far too intricate to predict.

They are playing with fire, and the results down the road might be terrifying for all.  In effect, they are unknowingly creating ripples in the normal flow of human existence – ripples that might become waves, which might crash down upon millions, if not billions of individuals.  

There is a better way.  These companies can still make their billions selling advertising and reach, but if they and we are to survive, they need to treat the rest with a laissez-faire attitude.  Let the unguided actions of millions drive things.  Swarm intelligence will always work better than attempted manipulation.

Swarm intelligence is a relatively new concept that attempts to explain and understand the collective behavior of group animals – think of honeybees, schools of fish, herds of bison, flocks of birds, etc.

The intelligence of the swarm is a significant multiplier.  Rather than relying solely on individual intelligence, these groups create a collective intelligence that is orders of magnitudes beyond that of any individual member.

They do so without any leader, with no management of any sort, with no one “seeing the big picture.”  In fact, having no one in charge is a key ingredient to swarm intelligence!

This incredible increase in intelligence is driven by countless interactions among individual members, with each following simple rules of thumb and reacting to its local environment and those members around it. 

And although it may be difficult to grasp, this self-organizing behavior has no cause and effect.  It simply is.  This process is the basis for the success of the human race.

Swarm intelligence also smoothes out the wrinkles that may occur.  It allows for a natural flow of events, with constant feedback loops to minimize the chances of a ripple turning into a wave turning into a life-destroying crash. 

Obviously, events may still lead to catastrophe.  But allowing swarm intelligence to do its magic certainly decreases the odds and ensures that the negative consequence, whatever it may be, will be the minimum possible.  Putting a “boss” in charge and attempting to direct events is just as certain to increase the odds of catastrophic failure somewhere down the line.  This is a scientific fact just as certain as gravity. 

So, social media and internet giants, please stop your attempts at thought control.  You are truly putting the future of the entire planet at risk.  Remember, a good rule is first, do no harm, and the first step is accepting that you are not as smart as you think.  Step back and let swarm intelligence do its magic.  Trust the people.  The lives of billions of people are in your hands, and the science is clear.

John Conlin is an expert in organizational design and change.  He also holds a B.S. in Earth sciences and an MBA and is the founder and president of E.I.C. Enterprises (www.eicenterprises.org), a USA-based 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to spreading the truth here and around the world, primarily through K-12 education.  E.I.C. Enterprise’s GoFundMe page can be found at https://www.gofundme.com/so-you-believe-in-science-eh.

Google, Facebook, Twitter, and other large internet companies have taken it upon themselves to censor and block content they find offensive.  Unfortunately for some of us, they seem to find that any thought that might be described as conservative falls within this offensive category, but their actions are dangerous regardless of political leanings.

They each have their own methods of doing so, but they are trying their best to control what the public hears and sees and thereby shape what is thought.  Obviously, newspapers and other media have been doing somewhat similar things for ages, but these present attempts are of a different magnitude.

Never before has any media company had this level and control of “share of mind” over billions of people.  Google and Facebook and their subsidiaries (WhatsApp, YouTube, Instagram, etc.) control around 75% of all internet traffic and almost all advertising. 

Over half of the entire world, four billion people, uses the Internet.  Over 250 million people came online in just the last year!  The average internet-user now spends around six hours each day using internet-powered devices and services.

The problem with their attempting to control and rig the game is that they simply aren’t as smart as they seem to think they are.  What forces are they going to unleash with their manipulation and censorship in an attempt at thought control?  There is no way of knowing, as the various social interactions among hundreds of millions of people are far too many and far too intricate to predict.

They are playing with fire, and the results down the road might be terrifying for all.  In effect, they are unknowingly creating ripples in the normal flow of human existence – ripples that might become waves, which might crash down upon millions, if not billions of individuals.  

There is a better way.  These companies can still make their billions selling advertising and reach, but if they and we are to survive, they need to treat the rest with a laissez-faire attitude.  Let the unguided actions of millions drive things.  Swarm intelligence will always work better than attempted manipulation.

Swarm intelligence is a relatively new concept that attempts to explain and understand the collective behavior of group animals – think of honeybees, schools of fish, herds of bison, flocks of birds, etc.

The intelligence of the swarm is a significant multiplier.  Rather than relying solely on individual intelligence, these groups create a collective intelligence that is orders of magnitudes beyond that of any individual member.

They do so without any leader, with no management of any sort, with no one “seeing the big picture.”  In fact, having no one in charge is a key ingredient to swarm intelligence!

This incredible increase in intelligence is driven by countless interactions among individual members, with each following simple rules of thumb and reacting to its local environment and those members around it. 

And although it may be difficult to grasp, this self-organizing behavior has no cause and effect.  It simply is.  This process is the basis for the success of the human race.

Swarm intelligence also smoothes out the wrinkles that may occur.  It allows for a natural flow of events, with constant feedback loops to minimize the chances of a ripple turning into a wave turning into a life-destroying crash. 

Obviously, events may still lead to catastrophe.  But allowing swarm intelligence to do its magic certainly decreases the odds and ensures that the negative consequence, whatever it may be, will be the minimum possible.  Putting a “boss” in charge and attempting to direct events is just as certain to increase the odds of catastrophic failure somewhere down the line.  This is a scientific fact just as certain as gravity. 

So, social media and internet giants, please stop your attempts at thought control.  You are truly putting the future of the entire planet at risk.  Remember, a good rule is first, do no harm, and the first step is accepting that you are not as smart as you think.  Step back and let swarm intelligence do its magic.  Trust the people.  The lives of billions of people are in your hands, and the science is clear.

John Conlin is an expert in organizational design and change.  He also holds a B.S. in Earth sciences and an MBA and is the founder and president of E.I.C. Enterprises (www.eicenterprises.org), a USA-based 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to spreading the truth here and around the world, primarily through K-12 education.  E.I.C. Enterprise’s GoFundMe page can be found at https://www.gofundme.com/so-you-believe-in-science-eh.



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What Black Athletes Owe the Kids


Hey NFL kneelers. So you are upset that far too many poor black and brown kids are getting screwed by “the system”? Me too. Although I am a person of pallor, in my business travels I’ve been to some of the toughest neighborhoods in this country. I’ve seen the reality these kids face. Far too many are literally screwed from the womb and other than a minuscule chance of making it to pro sports like you all have, the opportunity of a quality education is their one and only hope.

Yet the schools they are forced to attend are a national and moral disgrace. Their young lives are being destroyed before they even have a chance. What future awaits a 12-year-old who has terrible reading, writing, math, and language skills? These kids aren’t stupid; they know and they act accordingly.

If you want to end “police brutality” and various criminal system problems that plague young black men, end the driver of these behaviors, which is rooted in this obscene failure of public K-12 education.

Do you know the average black kid graduates high school with what is in effect an 8th grade education? Only 1 in 20 black students — that is, 5% — were rated college-ready in the four areas of English, reading, mathematics, and science. Do you think all of this this might affect their lives in a negative fashion? Do you think this might only reinforce racist beliefs?

Talk to one of your fellow superstar athletics, four-time Olympic gold medal winner and the star who almost singlehandedly made the new WNBA, Lisa Leslie. She was the most heavily college recruited woman of all time. She tells a heartbreaking story of her ordeal in passing college entrance exams. She was one of the top students in her high school class, yet she initially failed these exams. As she notes, she’s not stupid, it’s just that she was never even exposed to the words and thoughts on these tests.

She also notes how annoyed she was when this happened, as she discovered just how badly the school system had failed her and thousands like her. I’d guess many of you have had similar experiences. This is called “the bigotry of low expectations” and it too helps damage far too many young lives.

Imagine what would have happened if, a hundred years ago it was decided that those Irish or Italians or whatever were just too dang stupid to learn proper English, so they were taught a “dumbed down” version. Do you think this might have impacted their ability to advance in society? If this had happened, it would have guaranteed they and their offspring would still be occupying the lowest economic and social rung.

Yet how many of you can have a future in broadcasting and communication, or do your poor language and speaking skills take you out of the running, regardless of what intelligence and insights you might bring to the table? The schools failed you and as you live every day, the damage goes on for a lifetime.

School choice is the only solution to it all. The way to end unwanted police attention is to end the sad state of black criminal activities and the way to end many of those is by giving these kids a chance at a better life through a quality education.

Few parents would voluntarily send their children to these schools if they had other options. If parents were given control of all the money spent to educate their kids — in some sort of state-regulated environment, of course — it would be a game changer. And since the schools in the hood almost always spend far more than average — almost $30,000 per pupil in DC — for the first time in history, poor parents would actually have more money to control than their rich suburban neighbors.

Think of it: you could be the catalyst to make this happen. Your actions could forever change the trajectory of young black and brown lives in this country. You could take your place among the greatest Americans of all time.

Rather than taking a knee, how about raising your voices for school choice to at least give these kids a chance at a better life?

John Conlin is an expert in organizational design and change. He is the founder and President of E.I.C. Enterprises, www.eicenterprises.org, a USA-based 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to spreading the truth here and around the world, primarily through K-12 education.

Hey NFL kneelers. So you are upset that far too many poor black and brown kids are getting screwed by “the system”? Me too. Although I am a person of pallor, in my business travels I’ve been to some of the toughest neighborhoods in this country. I’ve seen the reality these kids face. Far too many are literally screwed from the womb and other than a minuscule chance of making it to pro sports like you all have, the opportunity of a quality education is their one and only hope.

Yet the schools they are forced to attend are a national and moral disgrace. Their young lives are being destroyed before they even have a chance. What future awaits a 12-year-old who has terrible reading, writing, math, and language skills? These kids aren’t stupid; they know and they act accordingly.

If you want to end “police brutality” and various criminal system problems that plague young black men, end the driver of these behaviors, which is rooted in this obscene failure of public K-12 education.

Do you know the average black kid graduates high school with what is in effect an 8th grade education? Only 1 in 20 black students — that is, 5% — were rated college-ready in the four areas of English, reading, mathematics, and science. Do you think all of this this might affect their lives in a negative fashion? Do you think this might only reinforce racist beliefs?

Talk to one of your fellow superstar athletics, four-time Olympic gold medal winner and the star who almost singlehandedly made the new WNBA, Lisa Leslie. She was the most heavily college recruited woman of all time. She tells a heartbreaking story of her ordeal in passing college entrance exams. She was one of the top students in her high school class, yet she initially failed these exams. As she notes, she’s not stupid, it’s just that she was never even exposed to the words and thoughts on these tests.

She also notes how annoyed she was when this happened, as she discovered just how badly the school system had failed her and thousands like her. I’d guess many of you have had similar experiences. This is called “the bigotry of low expectations” and it too helps damage far too many young lives.

Imagine what would have happened if, a hundred years ago it was decided that those Irish or Italians or whatever were just too dang stupid to learn proper English, so they were taught a “dumbed down” version. Do you think this might have impacted their ability to advance in society? If this had happened, it would have guaranteed they and their offspring would still be occupying the lowest economic and social rung.

Yet how many of you can have a future in broadcasting and communication, or do your poor language and speaking skills take you out of the running, regardless of what intelligence and insights you might bring to the table? The schools failed you and as you live every day, the damage goes on for a lifetime.

School choice is the only solution to it all. The way to end unwanted police attention is to end the sad state of black criminal activities and the way to end many of those is by giving these kids a chance at a better life through a quality education.

Few parents would voluntarily send their children to these schools if they had other options. If parents were given control of all the money spent to educate their kids — in some sort of state-regulated environment, of course — it would be a game changer. And since the schools in the hood almost always spend far more than average — almost $30,000 per pupil in DC — for the first time in history, poor parents would actually have more money to control than their rich suburban neighbors.

Think of it: you could be the catalyst to make this happen. Your actions could forever change the trajectory of young black and brown lives in this country. You could take your place among the greatest Americans of all time.

Rather than taking a knee, how about raising your voices for school choice to at least give these kids a chance at a better life?

John Conlin is an expert in organizational design and change. He is the founder and President of E.I.C. Enterprises, www.eicenterprises.org, a USA-based 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to spreading the truth here and around the world, primarily through K-12 education.



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