Youtube is now a global library that knocks your socks off, and a micro-global resource for complexity: to wit ……

The BBC news has a feature on the one laptop per child project, starting in Nigeria, which gives kids access (albeit at a slower processing speed) to the Internet, and in a similar project, the Hole in the Wall project, kids get access to computers literally in holes in the wall - with no instruction at all, and they are up and running in no time.

I am not sure if I am seeing 'patterns in the fire' here, but it looks like there's a complexity paradigm here: interacting micro-agents, in a high communication and high transparency environment, without knowledge of the total picture, and with self-organising/emergent rather than controlled/predictable outcomes.

The more I think about it, the more I think you can design for complexity, and it would be interesting to think about designing a complex social software environment in which people could exchange enough information and ideas on managing their own health and diseases so that self-organising behaviour replaces 'instruction', and the 'instructor' becomes one (design?) input into a 'health ecology', rather than a health care 'management system'.

I suppose that's what actually most exited me about that HIV/AIDS computer based intervention that I was so keen on a few years back - not the individual interaction between the child and the computer (interesting though that was), but the possibility that you could aggregate, anonymously, the individual responses in real time, plot them against spatial coordinates (add GPS to taste) and generate a real-time, rolling, McKinsey report of sexual behaviour, which you could plot against clinic data.

If you fed that back to the people involved, they could 'read' the real-time cause and effect relationship between their behaviour, incidence of infection, and morbidity. It would then be up to them to self-organise their response. The epidemiologist then becomes a complex-systems designer, designing templates for interaction, templates for 'reading' and templates for 'modelling' responses. So, you redesign the computer simulation software ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d7eGypGOlOc&feature=related )
for a whole range of communities of practice to play with. And you break doctors’ cartel on diagnosis and prognosis, and even some interventions once and for all.

Cross posted to A discourse is a discourse of course