• to road test the draft content of a hypertext book • to introduce the theory of knowledge and cognitive revolutions • to explore the history and philosophy of technology • to learn/demonstrate how technology made us human and how we became what we are, and • to see if I can guide you through a vast and exciting cognitive landscape without boring you to death.
I'm seeking a quorum of curious and interested people who would like to help road test the hypertextual draft of a major "book" exploring the last 4-5 million years of the co-evolution and revolutions in human cognition and technology and how this may affect our futures. In putting my ideas together I have found many fascinating and surprising sources of knowledge that I think would be fun and informative to share and discuss in a Meetup format.
The book is intended to be published as an on-line hypertext connected to samples of the vast array supporting evidence freely accessible on the Web. It may be extended into one or more massive open on-line courses (MOOC). The project crosses and breaks several disciplinary paradigms and uses some of the latest and most powerful cognitive technologies to provide what I hope is easy access to an extensive body of knowledge I think will help us to face the radical changes humanity faces in the 21st Century.
I started the book in 2001 on a part-time basis while I was employed as a knowledge management systems analyst by Tenix Defence (then Australia's largest defense prime contractor). The narration combines my lifetime career threads in evolutionary biology (PhD Harvard 1973) and organizational knowledge management (~25 years) together with divergences into physics (through thermodynamics), computers (from the first generation), and theory of knowledge (2 years). I explore the nature of knowledge and its evolution in simple organisms, multicellular organisms, people, biological species and socio-technical organizations. A major focus is to understand the role of exponential knowledge growth over the last 4-5 million years in the evolution of human and organizational cognition. To reach this understanding we follow groups of tool-using apes who were our ancestors as they were impacted by revolutionary technologies of tool-making, mnemonics, books, libraries, computer memories, the World Wide Web, etc.
The narrative approach in the "book" is personal and partly autobiographical, based on my two major careers and the conflicts and questions arising from trying to make sense of the behaviors of large human organizations like Tenix and universities and the smaller organizations I worked in on my road to Tenix.
Each meeting will cover various topics from the book more-or-less in the sequence of the writing. I propose that each meetup will be based around an extract from the book that I hope that participants will at least skim before the meeting. At the Meetup I will give a short slide presentation summarizing key ideas from the extract and then open the meeting for critical discussion, comments, arguments, extensions. etc. to help you explore your interests and provide me with some feedback on the organization and quality of the writing.
For this series of Meetups I propose to meet at least twice a month somewhere in the CBD or in the university precinct. The first two meetups are already scheduled for Central Queensland University's Melbourne campus (CQU building on Lonsdale nr Russell). Depending on the number of participants and your desires we also have the possibility to move meetings to RMIT's Building 80 on Swanston St or somewhere at University of Melbourne - with the expectation that after meetings, those who have the time can join me for dinner at one of the local eateries.
As I am now retired and living on a limited income, I will be seeking gold coin donations to cover Meetup's administration charges and some of my travel costs (I commute from the Macedon Ranges).