More on bots saving the world at @FastCompany Jon Tue, 10/04/2011 - 11:40

Alexa and I have another article up at FastCompany on social entrepreneurs and bots, and their roles in thriving in complex environments -- and how that's critical in saving the world:

However, bots can also act as good agents for systems governance as long as two principles are in place: transparency and trust. First, if we are to depend on bots to manage these complex systems then this management must be transparent for anyone to inspect, challenge, and improve. Secondly, the trust in the system must similarly be distributed. We are long past the days where any one entity could simply say “trust me.” The bots must act within a trust framework, where any agent in the system can begin to assign trust values to other agents. Add back in transparency, and you get a web of trust which scales rapidly without the need for any central trusted-by-default agent.

But robots aren't the only things that can disrupt the system with a new kind of logic. There is already one agent of systems-change that’s working outside the traditional methodology in a way that can effect drastic change: social entrepreneurs.

The social entrepreneur is, like a robot, another type of actor accustomed to operating in complex environments. Social entrepreneurs tackle major social issues and offer new, innovative ideas for wide-scale change. They seek out what is not working and solve the problem by changing the system, spreading the solution, and persuading entire societies to take new leaps. In this way they are both the destabilizing element and the control system.