Advancing on the Co-Evolution Frontier 0

Overview 1

When we speak of improving or augmenting capability, for example boosting our Collective IQ, we are looking for dramatic gains in that capability, not incremental improvement. Exploring new capability in these times of rapidly accelerating change, with the complexity and urgency of challenges we face increasing at scale, our initiatives and organizations need to get alot more capable, and we need to get alot smarter and faster at how we improve the way we improve the desired capabilities. To fast-track this effort, Doug Engelbart designed several powerful innovation accelerators into his bootstrapping strategy, one of which is the explicit co-evolution of enabling tools and practices brought to bear. 1a

Our innate abilities are augmented by a huge system of cultural practices, paradigms, procedures, customs, methodologies, and the like, which Doug termed the Human System, as well as a formidable physical system of artifacts, facilities, tools, media, machinery, and so on, which he termed the Tool System. Combined, these form our Augmentation System. For example, our ability to write a memo is possible because of Human System elements such as a learned understanding of the language, what a memo is for, and how to organize and unfold the information, as well as Tool System elements such as authoring and distribution tools, media, etc., all operating as an integrated and seamless Augmentation System. Capabilities change via changes in the Human and Tool Systems. See also Focus on Capability. 1b

How we work together now emerged through centuries of gradual Human-Tool Co-evolution, changes in one side having a reverberating effect on the other. The Human System is generally much slower to adapt than the Tool System, and accounts for a much greater percentage of the challenge of pushing the capability envelope. Today we are witnessing the Tool System evolving at unprecedented speeds, while the Human System is evolving faster than ever but still lagging way behind what's possible in the Tool side. Doug's bootstrapping strategy is designed to accelerate the co-evolutionary process, without which results a serious disconnect, a serous risk of de-augmentation. 1c

To foster accelerative human-tool co-evolution, Doug saw the need for pilot outposts out on the frontier, pioneering build and try co-evolutionary outposts. His own research lab was one such outpost, which history shows quickly became one of the most innovative labs in the history of computing. 1d

Further Inquiry 2

  Helpful Resources 2a

  Press 2b

  Papers 2c