18.38, Monday 14 Jan 2008 Link to this post
The fancy-legged fellow isn't allowed in the Olympics, as his disadvantaged compensator unfairly advantages him. Huh. Tiger Woods has surgically upgraded his vision to 20/15. There exist Nike Vision contact lenses which selectively enhance colours so golfers can see the ball better on the putting green. In answer to the question how much is too much?, we should let the market decide: all modifications should be allowed until betting exchanges refuse to take wagers on the athlete. The athlete must declare all prosthetics and performance enhancers ahead of time.
Alongside graphics cards, we'll soon have quantum computing chips which will take certain calculations, handed off to them by the CPU, and rifle through parallel universes looking for the answer, super quick. In addition we'll have prediction market co-processors: a petri dish of bacteria specially bred to exhibit the supply/demand curves of perfectly rational economic agents, tucked just behind the battery to the side of the hard-drive. (I wrote a story that mentioned something similar.)
2008 is the year we hit Peak Attention. You can either carry on encountering as much as you do now, giving every input less and less attention every year, or you can start managing it, keeping some back to take long-haul attention flights. What are the consequences of living post-Peak Attention? Nobody will be able to understand anything hard unless they make sacrifices.
The xkcd IRC channel will hit Peak Unique Sentences in 2010 after which being funny is hard because all the good sentences are used up. But just like domain names, this will cause a fluorescence in amusingly spelled cuss words.
Actually having single people who are delegated to understand hard things while other people process trivialities is fine. Thought and understanding are networked, social activities: cognition is distributed [pdf]. For a mass of people to make a decision, they form a decision making organ, which is a particular body formed to that job. It purifies group opinion as the liver purifies blood.
Every time I mention an idea, I'm giving it attention cycles from all you readers. Attention is the bile of the public thinking stomach organ, breaking it down and digesting it, distributing it to the rest of the body public in recombinant forms.
The entities in a group of people aren't only the humans, but the organs made of sub-groups. Like Conway's Life parts that perform different functions. Like Standard Biological Parts stitched end to end. Organisations should be thought of as organs that specialise to think, co-ordinate, propel, introduce novelty, gather food, defend or fight, in a way that self-reinforces: a body.