Through my life I have done very different things, all apparently unrelated. And that always kind of bugged me. But recently I discovered that everything I feel passionate about circles around this three things: collaboration, ethics and negotiation. And I realize it’s because I feel this three things together should be the first priority of humanity right now.
We’ve conquered more than we ever thought we could, and still we can’t figure out the basic principles for coexistence. And while we’re at it, we are destroying our world.
Why this three things then? Well… Collaboration is nice* (and definitely better than killing each other), ethics as a framework is necessary for collaboration to exist, and interest-based negotiation is the way to reach consensus about ethics. Right? Cool, so far so good.
The thing is that as we’ve learned empirically all of this happening at the same time is hard as f**k (and often not nearly as fun). It’s so hard because doing all of this requires lots of skills that actually not that many people have. And if this three things only happen at the same time in small groups, at large scale we default back to killing each other and destroying the world. Not so cool then, we need large scale.
So, how do we reach large scale collaboration, ethics and negotiation? I could go on a rant about game theory, Nash-equilibrium, non-zero sum games, incentives for trust, and whatnot, but I don’t want to bore anyone. And to be honest I don’t have an answer. (Surprise!) Not a definitive one at least.
One way or another I think the solution comes in the form of tools that alter the equation, so that people are both capable and incentivized to behave in a more virtuous manner. A set of ad-hoc heuristics if you will, aimed at the two main large scale scenarios: the market and the political arena. So that’s my current mission.
If any of this resonates with you, get in touch. I could use some help. 🙂
* By “nice” I mean “the kind of interaction that maximizes aggregate benefit”. Just in case someone was wondering.