November 16, 2014

Thought (Memetic) Soup: November edition

This content is cross-posted to Tumbld Thoughts. Here are a few short observations on the state of the world and data, circa Summer 2014. Haven't gotten around to cross-posting these yet. The meta-theme is social disruption, evolutionary change, and economic dynamics, in spite of ideonational bias. These include Disruption du jour (I), Satire Makes it Doubly Skewed (II), and Ideonational Skew - Satire = Epistemic Closure? (III).

I. Disruption du jour

Is the idea of disruptive innovation a useful concept, or is it largely a misapplied buzzword. In the original definition of "creative destruction", Joseph Schumpeter described a process of innovation that resembled an avalanche or an earthquake. For example, most innovations do not reshape their respective industries, but a few key innovations (born out of creative ferment) do.

The modern notion of disruptive innovation does not make the distinction between the effects of innovation in different industries, nor are all so-called "disruptions" equally as valuable. Schumpeter's model of disruptive innovation resembles a power law, while the modern conception of disruptive innovation argues that transformative changes are ubiquitous. Here are some readings on the myth and controversies surrounding the concept:

Lepore, J.   The Disruption Machine. New Yorker, June 23 (2014).

* a critique of the "disruption" industry.

Bennett, D.   The Innovator's New Clothes: Is Disruption a Failed Model? Bloomberg Businessweek, June 18 (2014).

* perhaps Lepore is right -- disruption for disruption's sake is not a viable model of economic change.

Bennett, D.   Clayton Christensen Responds to New Yorker Takedown of 'Disruptive Innovation'. Bloomberg Businessweek, June 20 (2014).

* a rebuttal to the Lepore article from the modern "disruption" guru.

II. Satire Makes it Doubly Skewed

Two (intentionally) skewed views on Evolution [1, 2]: God does not do art, and monkeys still exist. Or something like that. Anyways, here is a sampling of creationism satire from Summer 2014.

[1] Pliny the In-Between   Theistic evolution. Evolving Perspectives blog, July (2014).

[2] Why There are Still Monkey (fake book in the Dummies series). Timothy McVeins Twitter post, June 20 (2014).

III. Ideonational Skew - Satire = Epistemic Closure?

Statistical conspiracy theory? Here is a link to John Williams' Shadowstats site and (appropriately) three readings [1-3] that critique the overall approach. For example, in one reading, it is suggested that the "shadow" in the Shadowstats name consists of an inappropriate modeling methodology.

[1] Aziz   The Trouble with Shadowstats. Azizonomics, June 1 (2013).

[2] Krugman, P.   Always Inflation Somewhere. Conscience of a Liberal blog, July 19 (2014).

[3] Hiltzik, M.   A new right-wing claim: Obama must be lying about inflation. The Economy Hub, Los Angeles Times, July 23 (2014).

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