Friday, February 7, 2014

The illusion of stability

It's human nature when faced with a chaotic environment ... to filter out most of the noise to focus on a single trend. The resulting illusion of stability gives us a context we can understand. But it's still an illusion.

The reality is that there are many different interrelated trends -- areas of change that impact us as well as the other trends. There are also discontinuities: sudden shifts that force us to rethink our assumptions.
Jason Bloomberg*
"The Agile Architecture Revolution"

Amen! to that sentiment. One often wonders if we're the engine of change, or the victim -- change leading us, rather than the other way 'round.

In the statistical world, it's much like finding the regression line amongst a lot of seemingly random or chaotic data points. The regression line is kinda the place we would like to be if we were the next thing to happen.
(Note: regression isn't filtering, but the line itself is a nearly noise-free representation of the "message of the data", so to speak)

Of course, a word of caution: it's not actually so swell to speak of filters narrow enough to smooth out the noise, and yet leave enough bandwidth to be disturbed by a discontinuity or sudden shift. Such phenomenon have very high frequency components which would likely be smoothed to the point of unrecognizability at the filter output.

Therein lies the hazard: big shift at the input... and little notice at the output. (See: Microsoft misses mobile and the tablet shift, or worse: Blackberry misses everything. ) One wonders if the Microsofties have been living on the wrong side of the filter.. perhaps a little exposure to the chaos of small business would be a tonic.


*Bloomberg is President of a consulting firm that takes the position, roughly, that a SOA (services oriented architecture) that is very loosely coupled to accommodate ambiguity and emergence of function and performance when the user is part of the system and in-the-loop is an "agile architecture". Bloomberg has coined the development of such architecture as "Complex System Engineering" (CSE); it is the heart of the "revolution". He contrasts CSE with traditional system engineering which he more or less equates with integrating a number of small objects into a large system.These views, and his company offerings in this regard, informs the content of his book.

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