Tuesday, April 24, 2018

How metrics shape and impact our lives

I appreciate Stein's ITC '15 paper. Metrics and measurements impact us all in every aspect of our lives, not just externally but in the very way we think and behave. Hence we need better metrics to ensure better lives, since modernistic late capitalism has come up not only lacking but quite detrimental.

And of course Stein recommends an integral-based measurement system that requires the new sciences of chaos, complexity and emergence. The old paradigm of "heroic modernity" is limited to linear, isolated, singular phenomenon taken out of its context and environment. But dynamic systems require "multitudinous measures across multiple time scales" (39). The latter metrics can facilitate "the emergence of a post-capitalist socio-sphere" (41) which goes beyond measuring worth in just monetary terms but includes volunteer work, environmental stewardship, good citizenship and social justice activism.

Since measurement systems have such a deep impact in all aspects of our lives, it must include those most affected in that process, i.e. they must have democratic input in the very creation of such metrics. This challenges the modernist conception of expertise as the only arbiter of measurement. The experts are still needed for their part, but the rest of us are needed to define the parameters of its use, as well as examine the ethical and policy implications, or merely to provide feedback which must recycle into the measurements.

And here we circle around once again to collaborative enactment, which indeed is the next wave of humanity already arising in our midst. We can have societal impact by doing our parts in enacting such new measures for the kind of world we want, be it in creating the scientific measures, critically examining them for post-conventional (and postmetaphysical) ethical standards, how they would affect political policies and how that affects the lives of the rest of us. Meanwhile the rest of us are valued for our feedback on how exactly our lives are indeed affected, and is taken into consideration from the other cohorts working to create such metrics.

This is indeed the dawning of the age of the collaborative commons so let's get with the (meta)program people if we truly want to impact our world.

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