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Chaos vs Control and the Fourth Paradigm

One of the principles of Excellence by Design is ‘Chaos vs Control’

Chaos vs Control: the increasing tension between technology and its capabilities which grow in emergent and unanticipated (chaotic) ways, and the opposing yet increasing demand to assure (control) those capabilities are understood, secured, and properly managed.

A great example of this principle is the effect that advancements in computational capabilities are having on science itself, originally coined ‘The Fourth Paradigm’ by Jim Gray of Microsoft.  A nice summary was recently provided in this NY Times article.  Since’s Gray’s untimely death a couple years ago, his fellow researchers have bundled some of the writings together and it is available for free off the MS site, use this link to access the PDF.

This is similar to a trend I described back in the mid–90’s as part of a simple model I called ‘Business Transformation using the Internet’. This model described the evolution of ebusiness as going thru 4 stages: Telling, Selling, Linking, and Thinking.  As computation becomes more advanced (through hardware and software), machines can process more data, more deeply, and essentially begin doing the ‘Thinking’ for us (to an increasing degree anyway).

So the Fourth Paradigm is another example of the ‘Thinking’ phase of ebusiness, and drives greater Chaos vs Control because it delivers faster and potentially more chaotic insight, that requires commensurate control.

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