A tool always mediates reality. It does so by the reduction of our surrounding into a tunnel of meaning (scene, actors, feeling), and a rational utility. A tool is a model. A hammer, an algorithm, a car: all program us to behave in accordance to an implicit trade–offs.

When I flick a light switch, I am receiving one version of light, in a set frequency, projected onto a set physical range, and under its current placement. I might chose to use a smartphone camera which could be more flexible (move around), but more taxing (I need to hold it in one hand).

This is why issues with algorithmic understandability make drafting a contract so difficult.

Unintended consequences need to be addressed of course (you would not use a light switch that only works 50% of the time), but we all have a mental model of what a light switch does, or a car, or a calculator.

The contract (our partnership) with that tool is set, and understood. Trade-offs agreed to.

We are in a period of push and pull with data technologies, meaning and utility could be a good place to start a dialogue.

Daily Note

December 17, 2018