Hans Bonfigt
Monday August 7th, 2017

(Deutsch) Hans im Glück, Version 2017

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

Roland Dürre
Saturday April 22nd, 2017

Solution to Problem 2

On April, 12th, I published a second Logelei in the IF

The question was:
Can you position 31 domino stones (each of which is as big as two tiles) in a square area that consists of 64 square tiles such that two opposing corners remain free?

Solution:
The task is easy as soon as we (mentally) colour the area that consists of 64 tiles like a chess board (Auszeit).
Then we know that one domino stone – as big as two fields (tiles) – will always cover a black field and a white field.

But we will also instantly see that the two opposing fields have identical colours.

So what does this tell us?
If you try to solve this problem by trial and error, you quickly run the danger of making a mistake. However, if you use a simple construct to help you (such as colouring the field like a chess board), the solution will immediately be clear.

You only have to have the right idea!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
I am taking time out (Auszeit). This article has been written in advance and will be automatically published (two weeks after the problem was formulated).

Roland Dürre
Monday April 17th, 2017

Solution

Two weeks ago, I formulated a Logelei I very much like. I also considered it extremely hard to solve. Well, one email I received had the correct answer.

Here is the solution to the problem I gave you on April, 2rd, 2017. I copied the formal part of the solution from the winner: Jörg.
The question was:

How can the criminals make sure that they all survive?

And the solution is surprisingly simple!

Jörg – the winner!

The 10 gangsters have to assign a number between 0 and 9 to every one of them, for instance by counting them down!

As soon as a gangster will see the nine images of all the other nine gangster, he will do the sum of all the numbers on these images and then add “his” number to the sum.

Then he applies the operation modulo 10 to the result and calls the resulting number. Every gangster does this during her or his interview.

This is how you can make sure that exactly one of the gangsters will give the number on his/her picture. The others will, of necessity, say a wrong number – but that is irrelevant, since it will suffice if one of them gives his correct number. That means they all will survive.

Well, as you see, you must never give up hope – once in a while, even mathematics can help.
Here is the formal description of the solution (after Dr. Rothermel).

• Let the number of gangsters be: N
• Let zi be the number assigned to the gangster I (not known to him). It is not necessarily unique and it is part of the set {0, 1, …, N-1} of which a minimum of one needs to be told in the end..
• Let S be the sum of all pre-defined numerals S = Σ zi
The gangsters agree upon the following procedure:
1. Initially, each of them gets a personal, unique number i (known to him/her) assigned to her/his picture from the set {0, 1, …, N-1}.
2. During the interview, every gangster builds the sum of all the numbers he/she can see – that is the (definite) total sum S minus his own (not known to him) numeral zi , i.e. S – zi . That is the only information at his disposal.
3. Since the gangsters are only interested in the numbers in the range {0, 1, …, N-1}, they will modulo N or the congruency relation ≡ N. Now each gangster will calculate an integer x such that:
x ≡ N i – (S – zi ) or
x = ( i – (S – zi )) mod N (I)
With this procedure, exactly one gangster will get his correct zi!

Proof:

S is congruent with a number s from the set {0, 1, …, N-1} or S ≡ N s, consequently, you can also write (I) as:
x ≡ N i – (s – zi )
Since no two N i’s are identical, one of them equal s, consequently, we have for one gangster:
x ≡ N zi.
both x and zi belong to the set {0, 1, …, N-1} which means they are not only congruent, but identical:
y = zi,
and that means this gangster will have the correct number for himself.
(Solution and proof by Dr. Jörg Rothermel)
Now I would recommend that you read the problem  again and ponder it a little bit.

RMD
(Translated by Evelyn)

Roland Dürre
Monday April 3rd, 2017

A Very Special Task!

The Solution will be Supplied Later!

A short time ago, a good friend of mine came up with a brainteaser. He did not know the source, otherwise I would gladly have cited it. My friend was not able to solve the problem, neither was I. But it is a truly exciting scenario. And it has a surprisingly simple solution, including a beautiful mathematical reasoning. It also gives us a nice metaphor for our lives.

Among other things, it shows that mathematics can also, once in a while, be quite useful. Here is the story:

Here is a female criminal. On her card, the number 1 is written. But she does not know this. After all, she only knows the nine other images with their numbers.

A – not dislikeable – gang of 10 persons constantly violates the prevailing moral concepts in an outrageous manner. The gang members are creative and wise – this is how, with great finesse, they remain unmolested by the arm of the law for their abominable activities. That is lucky for them, because the legal penalty for their crime is death by strangulation.

In the public perception, the gang soon has a legendary reputation, and is idolized by quite a few simple people. For the authorities, this development is totally unacceptable. Consequently, the increased manhunt of the authorities, along with a growing arrogance and flippancy among the gang members led to the capture of the group.

All 10 gang members are quickly sentenced to death due to their abominable behaviour in a show trial. However, there is a way for the ten comrades in crime to save their lives – through an appeal for clemency. The head of state who decides upon said appeal is a very prudent and well-meaning woman. She is very wise; there are even some rumours insinuating that she may to some extent sympathise with the gang.

Actually, she works hard to come to a fair decision. She hands down a conditional amnesty (a little like a “Judgement of God”):
Before the verdict is executed, the ten members are permitted to see each other once more. There is a farewell meeting, the ten gangsters can spend the afternoon before their execution together and without supervision.

Here is a male criminal. On his card, the number 2 is written. But he does not know that. After all, he only knows the nine other images with their numbers.

As the meeting starts, the gangsters are told how the amnesty will work. A picture of each of the members is taken (two of them can be seen here). On each of those pictures, a number from the set 0 – 9 {0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9} is drawn. Each number can be used several times. Consequently, it is possible that the same number is written on all the pictures. Or that only some numbers are used, for instance {1, 2, 3)}. Or maybe only the even or uneven numbers. Whatever. But perhaps all numbers have been used. Nothing is impossible.

After the meeting, each of them is taken into solitary confinement until the time of execution. Each of the ten gang members is shown the nine pictures of the other nine members – but not his own one. And then they ask him the number on his own photo. And if even one of the gangsters gives a correct answer for the number on his card – all of them will get the amnesty.

Initially, you will think that the gangsters have quite a good chance to avoid their punishment and enjoy clemency over justice. And there is no doubt that their situation will have improved. After all, chances are not too bad that one of the ten will guess correctly and thus free them all.

But it is nowhere near as easy as that. Matters may turn out poorly. And there is one thing the wise regent forgot (or perhaps not): by applying a simple agreement, the ten gangsters can make sure that one of them will inevitably say the right number, as written on his picture. And this is how he can guarantee that he and his comrades will enjoy the amnesty.

It is a small problem: what agreement makes it possible for the gang to use the meeting that was meant as a farewell to make sure that “their heads” are out of the sling with a 100% chance?

I will publish the solution in a few weeks – and until then, I look forward to having many email solutions sent to me!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Tuesday November 24th, 2015

World-War III

Flag the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant

Flag of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant

There is a lot one could say about terrorism. But in my personal opinion, people mostly write the wrong kinds of things. For instance, much of what I heard and read in connection with the Paris assaults is incomprehensible to me. Many things annoy me, because they seem so flat and un-thought-through.

Also, I am not happy with the reaction to and the treatment of the events and the current situation by our “elite”.

I find it sad that the reasons for this development are forgotten and not asked about either. After all, we have had a strongly developed colonial situation in this world for centuries. The rich countries rule over the poor countries, they exploit and literally abuse them.

Starting during the “long 19th century”, continuing in modern times and still being the state of affairs today, this never changed. The so-called independence of the suppressed did not really improve matters significantly. True, in the 21st century, the methods perhaps look a little more subtle than they were in the 19th and 20th centuries. But this only means they are no longer as obvious as they used to be. However, they lost nothing in efficiency when it comes to the degree of exploitation. On the contrary.

This caused a lot of explosive energy in the world. The politics of the last few decades – incidentally, I am not only talking the West, neither only the USA – served to enrich said explosive energy with fire accelerators. And the time when everything was set on fire with matches was certainly no later than the reaction of the “western world” to 9/11.

But what are the French doing now? Making the same mistakes the West has been making all the time. They throw their bombs with gusto. And probably they will also (and maybe even primarily) bomb civil buildings and hospitals. And consequently also children, women and innocent citizens. As this is always the case with these kinds of attacks. This is how you give extra air to the fire and guarantee new recruits for terrorists.

I also find it annoying to see how different standards are used. Not long before the Paris assaults, the IS bombarded a Russian airplane. More than 200 persons died. Yet, the human fatalities in the Russian airplane were treated with quite a bit of serenity. Where were the shock and the minutes of mourning – and the Russian flags in Europe? To be perfectly honest, until then I had not even known Russia’s colours. After all, I grew up west of the Iron Curtain.

Other attacks, for instance in Beirut, are not even noticed. Because the only reason why we would be interested in those is our yearning for sensational news and catastrophe.

But the attacks in France were totally different. Why? There were huge numbers of solidarity addresses. Silent minutes of mourning were happening all over the place, the avatars on the internet were illustrated in the French colours. Because we are afraid that the same could happen in Berlin or in Munich?

Even as early as on the morning after the attacks, the newspapers boosted it. They talked about World-War-III now being on our doorsteps. When I went to the bakery on Saturday morning, I read a number of these headlines. And the day before yesterday, I read that “the world is now uniting against terrorist“ (SZ of November, 22nd).

In my life, there were many people I knew well and liked who died. Some died of old age and illness. Others remained in the Alps, one never returned from a flight trip.

Ever since my childhood, however, people dying on the streets keep accumulating. They were the largest number and losing some of them really moved me deeply. For instance, I remember a young woman full of life who had spent a very short time at InterFace Computer. No longer than one week into her employment with us, her workplace remained empty on a Monday morning. She had spent the weekend in her home in the Saarland and on the way back, she had suffered a car breakdown. When she exited her car, she was simply overrun on the motorway exit. Just like this. Like an animal.

Are traffic fatalities less painful than war fatalities? Isn’t it strange how we forget traffic fatalities? Why don’t we mourn for the deaths in traffic on a daily basis?

You certainly cannot calculate or balance the pain you feel when a person close to you dies. But I do not think there is such a huge difference between a beloved member of the family being overrun on his way home and the same person being killed in a terrorist attack in a coffee bar.

Consequently, I feel that, indeed, we do have a “World War III“. In fact, we have been having it for many decades. All traffic areas are the current battlefields. Because on the streets of this planet, between 1.3 and 1.4 million people die every year. They come from all social classes and nations. In addition, we have many times as many seriously wounded and wounded. Now if that is not a war, then what is?

In Germany, we still have more than 3,000 traffic fatalities every year. When I was young, there were some years when we had more than 20,000 – in West Germany alone. That means that we in Germany actually made some progress in this war. But we are still far from peace. 3,000, too, are too many. And the number is now again increasing.

If you want to understand what a huge number this is, just go and watch a soccer game with 3,000 spectators. And then imagine all of them lying dead in cars on the streets!

It is quite likely that, in Europe, both fans and players die on the way to the soccer match on each soccer weekend. But who is interested? A few weeks ago, there was at least a minute of mourning at the Augsburg WWK Arena for those FCA fans who had been injured in a car accident on their way to the stadium.

But why do we not have a minute of mourning for our traffic fatalities and those world-wide? Because nobody is interested in the carnage on the streets. And because business has priority. Which, incidentally, is also true for terrorism.

Consequently, there is no international outcry and no important speeches are made by politicians for a more humane traffic. As opposed to the fight against terror, “no world is now uniting” against all the people who died in traffic accidents. And the national governments could not care less, which is totally incomprehensible to me.

There is one exception: the small country Sweden actually takes it seriously and started a Vision Zero, with which they want to definitely reduce the number of traffic fatalities to zero – I bow before them!

The IS, on the other hand, consists of madmen who want to conquer first the Near East and then the world. They built up a terror regime that reminds me of the Nazis. However, regardless of them currently probably being the strongest terror formation, they are quite weak. It would be quite easy to dry them up.

But what do we do?

We buy their crude oil. Because it is less expensive. Thus, every filling of our cars metaphorically contains some IS fuel. They also get their weapons and equipment from us. This is how we get our “oil money” back. And we also provide those criminals with recruits from all over the world. Isn’t that a scandal?

But we block the realistically existing third World War out and also trivialize the climate change. Which actually might easily trigger the fourth World War!

As I see it, there are good reasons to believe the scientists. Especially if varieties of disciplines and schools come up with identical results. It looks like the detrimental effects caused by the climate change will be even more fundamental than the perhaps 75 million traffic fatalities since the end of WW-II.

The resulting environment war would probably be WW-IV. It will probably bring deprivation on two levels. The sacrifices nature demands from us through ever increasing numbers of catastrophes on various levels. And the others, those who will fall in the war between the “early losers” and the “not yet losers”.

And, of course, yet again we hope that we will not be among “early losers“. After all, we are luckily living in a rather “fortunate climate zone”. Now isn’t that rather reproachable? And are you sure that this is not perhaps a misconception?
Yet here, too, there is no chance for shared programs and mutual agreements. Nowhere. Neither nationwide, nor world-wide. Mind you, the environment conference starting in Paris in a few weeks is probably the very last chance to avoid the worst case scenario.

But we ignore the really existing third world-war on our streets as we also ignore the threatening fourth world-war caused by the climate change. To make up for it, we wet our pants with fear of terrorism from an IS that, basically, is actually quite ridiculous. Instead of simply drying them up and dealing with the really important issues.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
I took the picture of the flag from Wikipedia. It is black, the colour of death. The picture was entered on October, 15, 2006 and downloaded by Russavia.
As I see it, we should beware of black flags. Incidentally, I do not like any kinds of flags. But if you absolutely insist on a flag, then I would prefer the lively, multi-coloured ones!

Roland Dürre
Monday July 6th, 2015

My “Destina”

🙂 From the South-Sea Island of Runit to Munich Rosenheimer Straße.

„Runit Dome 001“ von US Defense Special Weapons Agency

”Runit Dome 001“ by US Defense Special Weapons Agency

In the SZ weekend edition (July, 4th and 5th, 2015), I found two articles that horrified me. And I posted them as often as possible in Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.

The first article appeared in the “knowledge” sector and was titled: “Dome of Death”. It is about what the 67 nuclear bomb tests executed by the USA between 1946 and 1958 on the atolls Eniwetok and Bikini left behind.

The second artikele  is titled “Extensive Human Tragedy” and tells us about a declaration by the Nobel Prize winners they published during a meeting in Lindau, demanding a fierce fight against the climate change (Klimawandel).

In the first report, the extent of the catastrophe happening in the South Sea truly horrifies me. It again brings back to my mind what a huge danger radioactive waste is. And how small-minded and futile the current attempts to find safe disposal zones in Germany are. Again, politics terminated a project that, de facto, is destined to fail.

I can well understand both the people and the counties opposing a disposal zone. After all, it seems to me that contaminating even more regions on this earth is the biggest possible mistake. Because, naturally, there can be no safety in this area.

Here is another note. The aforementioned article also again mentions that plutonium is one of the most poisonous of all radio-active materials and has a half-value period of up to 24,000 years. Well, in times when we are constantly confronted with billions, 24,000 years seem almost negligible, don’t they? Except – it has been only 2,400 years ago that the first human cultures invented writing – and that is one digit less.…

However, the second article made me almost more furious. In all fields of our lives, we trust science. When we eat food, we trust that science guarantees us healthy nutrients. When we fly, we are sure that, thanks to physics, we will not fall down. We get vaccinations and trust in science. When driving cars, we trust our airbags and even when we ride a bike we follow the laws of science.

But whenever said science provides us with matching results from different disciplines and sources, we do nothing if we do not like those results. My special fury is directed to our current government.

Regardless us of being bankrupt ourselves, they stage a “Western Community of Values” that costs hundreds of millions of Euros in Elmau. And all they can show for it in the end is a few “programmatic decisions” – all of which, even a few days after the declarations, turn out to have been nothing but lip-service.

Germany’s government actually celebrates itself for being the teacher and guardian of public virtue for all Europe and does not even hesitate to come up with slogans such as:  “If the Euro dies, Europe will die”. Incidentally, this is a statement that, like many others from the same source, will not survive dialectical questioning.

For the Greeks, she has a program even the IWF finds totally counterproductive, demanding that they must reduce the retirement money they pay but that they cannot under any circumstances reduce their military budget.

And much more of the same.

Except that she is not doing her homework, for instance by introducing a general speed limit in Germany. She does not put a stop to the gigantic subsidies of company cars. Putting taxation on plane kerosene, too, is something she cannot even allow herself to think about.

And she bathes in self-praise, looking on as infra-structure and education in this country go south. How profits are privatized and losses are socialized and thus how the rich get ever richer while the number of the poor increases along with their dwindling property. To make up for it, she is number one in Europe when it comes to indoctrination and coming up with stupid dogmata.

That is when I occasionally start asking myself if my “destina” might not be to fight all this stupidity and counter-productivity. But that would mean I have to stop doing what I am currently doing, namely linking and mentoring persons and supporting start-ups. And I have not yet quite reached that stage.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
Tonight will be the first time in many years that I will again be part of a demonstration. I will sit on my bike and ride it for a fair distribution of space on the Munich Rosenheimer Strasse: Radel-Demo Rosenheimer!

P.S.1
I took the picture “Runit Dome 001“ by US Defense Special Weapons Agency from Wikipedia:– http://sonicbomb.com/albums/album61/runit.jpg. It is licenced under “common property” through Wikimedia Commons –

Roland Dürre
Saturday February 14th, 2015

Changing Your Life-Style – But How?

The art of living as propagated by Rupert Lay, Hermann Schmitz and Wilhelm Schmid

Rupert Lay was my most important mentor. Even before I founded the InterFace AG, I first attended one of his seminars in Frankfurt early in the 1980ies. This is now more than 30 years ago. The meeting was the start of a long cooperation, leading to an intense friendship I am very happy with.

Carsten Lange (also a friend I met in the network created through Rupert) of Lange Communication pointed me towards a dissertational thesis. I contacted the author Stephan Thiele and we had a very nice discussion.

Here is the dissertational thesis by Stephan Thiele, also about Rupert Lay, for your download:

Sein Leben ändern - aber wie? (494)

Written at and with a certificate from the Hochschule für Bildende Künste Braunschweig in order to earn the title of “Doctor of Philosophy” – Dr. phil. – by Stephan Thiele, born July, 3, 1966 in Zeven.

For me, it is very important to make material about or on Rupert Lay available for as many persons as possible. Especially also for all the friends I first met through Rupert. This is a reason why you will find many videos and presentations by Rupert Lay on my Youtube-Channel (Roland Dürre), some of them from the times of the “Ronneburg Circle”.

It seems to me that this dissertational thesis is an important contribution worth reading for all those persons who are willing to think about their personal concept of life. And you are always permitted to disagree. Even the author himself told me that he would formulate some theses and topics differently if he had to write them today.

Many thanks to Carsten Lange (who pointed me in the right direction) and Stephan Thiele (the author).

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
Since today the state of affairs for all humans is more critical than ever, it is absolutely imperative: ”You Must Change your Life” (after Rilke)
(by Peter Sloterdijk)

Bauer-GoosI consider myself to some extend as a third generation informatics pioneer. And I like remembering my first huge projects in the 1970ies. They were called START, ITS, Dispol or SNATCH.

In my private order of things, the second generation of IT pioneers is represented by F.-L. Bauer, whom I personally hold in high esteem. When I was a mathematics student at TUM (at the time it was still called TH for Technische Hochschule) in the fall of 1969, I sat in his lecture when I first studied my minor subject: computer science. Incidentally, the book you see on the picture is my personal copy bought at the time. As you can easily see, it has been read in quite often.

In those days, informatics was something totally new for me. And I probably chose the minor subject because I did not really know what it was. Simply because, in some way or other, it pointed towards the future.

BauerAlmost as a logical consequence, I did not understand everything professor Bauer wanted to teach us during this beautiful lecture course. Very regrettably.

During the last few years, I was permitted to accompany professor Bauer when he gave several guided tours in the Informatics department of the Deutsches Museum. Those tours were held for our (InterFace AG) customers, friends and partners. Many things I had not understood as a young student became a lot clearer in the wake of those tours.

Incidentally, I count Konrad Zuse among the first computer science generation. I made his personal acquaintance at the end of the 1086 InterFace-Konrad-Zuse-Bike Tour. He gave us a great welcome, delivered a wonderful speech and presented us the picture you see here during the great reception at Hünfeld. Today, you can see the picture hanging on the wall at the InterFace AG building in Unterhaching.

K_ZuseBy now, informatics has moved on by “light years”. I was and still am a computer scientist with all my heart. For me, the combined meaningfulness of my work, my life and society has always been important. Consequently, the development and future of informatics is important to me. Articles written by third parties about the subject and by distinguished informatics representatives are, naturally, of special interest.

In the 14th edition of the TUM magazine “Faszination Forschung” – a first-class high-gloss TUM München magazine – dated June 2014, I found the article  “Connecting the World”.

Here is the trailer:

In the future, everyday objects will be linked via the Internet, enabling them to interact autonomously. To realize this vision, computer scientists are developing virtual models they can use to test practical implementation and monitor the security, safety and reliability of connected systems.

The article describes the future of computer science on the technological level. It is basically about how systems can be coordinated in a future “cyber physical world”. Since I consider the article worth reading and a good basis for further discussion, I am providing you with the download: Cyber-Physical (406).

My friend and partner in the InterFace AG advisory board, Professor Dr. Manfred Broy, is cited in the article. You will also find his picture. It can be assumed that the content of the article is partly the result of the research supervised by him.

I do not totally agree with the article. To be sure, there will be remarkable future developments in our technology, perhaps even more remarkable than those described in the article. However, I do not believe in what applications are predicted. Instead, I assume that the society of the future will have to cope with totally different challenges than we assume today. And I am sure we will then find very exciting solutions. But those solutions will not be part of this “brave new world”.

Yet matters begin to get exciting (and for me alarming) when I read the reply written by Professor Werner Meixner. In a presentation, professor Dr. Meixner described how this article “strikes someone (him) who basically understands the meaningfulness of his professional life as a fascination with the natural sciences as a humanist value”.

This presentation is also part of an open letter addressed to Professor Dr. Manfred Broy with the title: 

Where is informatics headed?
Like before, I am providing the link for downloading of the open letter by Professor Meixner:
Wohin geht die Informatik? (466)

Since I wish to motivate IF blog readers to read the articles, I will now cite a short but perhaps central part of the article:

All human decisions – and concerns know this quite well – contain an act of added value, which means they are valuable per se. The most important factor is that the owner of the produced value is the one who made the decision and is responsible for it. This is exactly the meaning of privacy and the consequence is the indisputable worthiness of privacy protection. All business behaviour is a consequence thereof.

In fact, I do not quite understand what the author wants to say. My attempt at analysing it dialectically results in me finding a random truth claim which is easy to disprove.

🙂 However, since I am a blogger, I never write open letters to anyone. Instead, I publish my personal opinion in my blog. Totally transparently, everybody can read it.

Here comes:

I find the TUM magazine article one-dimensional. The “open letter” gave me consternation.

In both articles, I find a concept of the world and humans which is no match at all with what I see in the real world. The first article reminds me a little of the nuclear energy euphoria (which at the time was controlled by business interests) more than fifty years ago. The second article glorifies a meaning of privacy and laments its worthiness of protection which – based on my experience in life and my knowledge of anthropology, neurology, psychology, philosophy and sociology – is not at all justifiable. Even theological reasoning would probably fall short

For all of us, the real challenges will quickly be others than those described. The dream image of a networked world will not help us to cope with all those challenges. Neither will the convulsive protection of our private data – which, basically, cannot be protected anyway.

The current news about the IS fronts, other wars and their consequences, refugees seeking asylum in the EU, the assassinations in France , or #Pegida and #Anti-Pegida in Germany are clear indications of a reality that quickly changes and that we have to accept. Also, we have to learn how to deal with this reality in a rational way.

A dominating global economy which creates free markets for products yet leaves labour unfree (a seamstress in Bangladesh cannot move to Europe and do her work there, even though the dresses she makes are exclusively sold in Europe) will come to its end. The rich persons of this world (we) exploit the poor more than ever in human history and the number of slaves is higher than ever.

The tensions generated by these contrasts will probably discharge themselves like earthquakes. It has already started. Basic conditions (climate, food and soil) in many regions already deteriorate and will geometrically continue to do so. Sooner or later, this process will catapult us into critical spheres. The tensions will become more and more noticeable.

In fact, we might be approaching a rough awakening from our current dreams faster than we had anticipated. It is my hope that here, too, informatics can help. Naturally, I do not yet know how this might happen. All I can do is imagine how it might be.

I think the IKT can only contribute positively towards the humaneness of mankind if it – above all – succeeds in supporting a highly complex, world-wide and truthful discourse which thus will render striking results. This is the only way to come to a consensus not based on enmity and exploitation. Instead, it should prepare humans (us) for the necessary changes in our mental concepts and life.
This is the only way to change society without violence. It is the only way to transform today’s economy into a “common-good-economy”. And it is also the only way to find solutions for a better copyright and patent system. Through the wisdom of the masses and against the simple-mindedness of the individual person.

[Note: perhaps our colleagues at Youmigo.de already understood this – which is why they wrote a wonderful APP for “world agreement”.]

As to the TUM magazine article: I would argue that we do not need a luxury world of networked technology which, when all is said and done, will only enslave us even more. As to Werner Meixner’s theses, I think he inflates the topic “pretty good privacy” like a profession of faith. However, instead of giving credible reasons, he remains dogmatic.

And I also believe that our privacy will be something we will be fairly indifferent about in the future. Because we will have other problems. Also, we humans will always move in the stress field of individuality and collectiveness. Either way. With data protection or without. And the only way we can manage to do that in a humane way is if we think and act in a value-oriented way. Dogmata and their prayer-like publication will not be helpful.

Here is another idea about personal data. Isn’t it a rather normal part of human civilization to collect information about people. After all, there were good reasons to come up with administration and, for instance, write down when a child is born. Of course, technological advancement made unbelievable things possible since they invented filing systems and cataloguing.

With “new” technologies, you can certainly collect a lot more data than formerly. Yet this is only the continuation of a development that started with the invention of writing on paper as a means to conserve and hand on information. Quite possibly, the invention of filing systems (certainly an IT invention) brought another impulse. And IKT yet another.

But: did IKT really make such an enormous difference? And how huge is the damage? And isn’t it just great that in general information can be made available by whistle blowers and that it was IT which made it easier?

I see a threat if “a-moral systems” (like unlawful systems) get hold of the data. But if it comes to that, no data protection will help us, anyway. Instead, we should see to it that “a-moral systems” never gain control over us. And that is a permanent social challenge for every citizen. Basically, you can only resist “commercial utilization” of data by being autonomous. But then, the same is true for the continuing threat of manipulation through marketing. And if you consume senselessly, it will only cost money, rarely your life.

Personally, I consider the avoidable damage the “old” technologies caused us during the last hundred years and still cause us permanently today significantly higher than the damage done by the new technology IKT during the last 25 years.
For instance, the technologies of the last century stole our piece. Does any of you still know a single place in Munich where you hear no “technology noise”? Yet the noise pollution is only a truly harmless example compared to the 1.2 million traffic fatalities each year – caused through motorized individualized mobility on a world-wide scale. And it is a fact that we also like to ignore other threats, such as the carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere.

In the same way we accepted the limitless noise emissions, we also got used to our (still very limited, regardless of all efforts) transparency. Limited, because even the networking systems used in industry and in the world 4.0 will find it hard to read our thoughts. And because, if we want to survive, we will definitely have to develop into autonomous persons in a self-determined frame.
Maybe the permanent calls for secrecy of data are nothing more than an outcry of protest, because, after all, you have to be against something, don’t you? And you are not courageous enough to actually stand up for the real threats.

But then, do not let us forget:

Only the new technologies provide us with a chance of networking and sharing our ideas with others. Which is how we can fight ignorance, intolerance, dogmata, irrationality and much more of the same.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Monday January 5th, 2015

As Time Goes By …

KettenkarusselI need only look back upon the thirty-one years of my life at InterFace AG to see: many things have changed over the years! On all levels and in all dimensions. Looking at society and technology, or the way knowledge is treated today, what I see is more than a little surprising.

Totally new disciplines became important and made huge progress – and, as I see it, they also changed the world. Along with technology, I am also talking sciences such as psychology, neurology, behavioural science, along with game theory and good old philosophy. Not to mention how values and morals, even the concept of life for the individual person as well as in society and collectively, underwent change.

These developments exacerbated each other, thereby increasing speed in a way that I would no longer call linear. In fact, I considered and consider it more like “geometrical or exponential”.

This is why the following model I discovered a short time ago is one I am in favour of. It is about the words knowledgeable and ignorant, as well as competent and incompetent.

You could assign these four characteristics to a matrix with four quadrants. The top line of the matrix is “incompetence”, the lower line is “competence”. The right column is “knowledge” and the left column is ”ignorance”.

The upper left quadrant would then mean “knowledgeable yet incompetent”.

If you take the real-life example of an adolescent who knows that he cannot drive a car, you get the result that he is “knowledgeable yet incompetent”.

The lower right quadrant means “knowledgeable and competent”.

In our example, the adolescent grows to become a young man and learns to drive a car. Now he knows he can drive a car. And he will drive a car. Consequently, he is “knowledgeable and competent”.

The lower left quadrant represents “ignorant yet competent”.

As the young man grows older, he drives his car a lot. Consequently, he will become very good at driving a car, yet he is no longer actively aware of said competence. Whenever he drives a car, he is “ignorant yet competent”.

The upper left quadrant represents “ignorant and incompetent”.

We already can imagine what the story will be in the upper left hand corner. The man has turned ancient. He certainly should no longer sit behind a wheel, because he is no longer fit to drive. Yet he is not aware of this. Consequently, he will continue to drive with “ignorance and incompetence”.

Well, isn’t that a nice example? Yet there is one disadvantage. It suggests that man is the one who, due to age-inflicted change, mutates from “knowledgeable yet incompetent” via “knowledgeable and competent” and “ignorant yet competent” to “ignorant and incompetent”.

More often than not, however, it is the world or the environment which quickly changes. Whenever you enter a new social system, you will immediately notice that you have to work towards “being able to participate”. You learn the new system and then you become part of it. Except that, even after a phase of being “ignorant yet competent”, you might quickly become “ignorant and incompetent’.

Because the rules and the actual functionality of the system changed so fast and so dramatically that you never even noticed it. That is when you will look stupid and no longer understand the world – in which just a short while ago you felt ever so much at home.

Well, once in a while I, too, feel I am getting caught in a chain carousel that rotates faster and faster all the time, making me feel quite dizzy.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.

The picture is called “Wellenflug auf dem Roonkarker Mart”. I found it in Wikipedia with the carousel article. It is originally be Wilfried Wittkowsky.

As of now, you can download the video of our last IF Forum presentation in the series ”Galileo Galilei – A Visit of the Present” by Thomas de Padova with the title “The Secret of the World”  on my YouTube-Channel RolandDuerre.

Now those who could not be present during the interesting presentation about Galileo Galilei and his contemporary Johannes Kepler, too, can watch it:

:

Enjoy!

RMD
(Translated by EG)