Cover photo

Small Protocols

and the Protocols of Small Things

Issue 12

The Summer of Protocols continues through its incubation phase with another week of interesting guest talks. Additionally, a researcher meeting was held on the topic of death and memory, in which the researchers took part in an activity to create memory palaces based on their respective projects. And, harking back to a few weeks ago, Kyle Mathews is nearing completion on prop-bot, a discord bot that scrapes links and lists them in categories which can be subscribed to. A much needed addition to the SoP server!

John Bissell introduced the topic of material synthesis in relation to protocols. John talked about how scientists think about molecules and atoms, introduced Eigen materials and gave researchers his opinion on the most important chemical process developed.

Alex Komoroske started a discourse on platform evolution. Alex explained the folly of traditional platform building based on verticals and offered an approach that optimizes for a handful of 'close' use cases as an alternative. He gave researchers a list of guidelines to enable more robust platform 'gardening'.

And in our first researcher-led guest talk, Matthew Lutz, hosted by Rafa, talked about the simple protocols army ants use to construct transportation scaffolding. Matthew's discussion on the swarm dynamics is broken down to one simple rule, if you slip, you stick.

xkcd

Meet a Researcher - Kei Kreutler

Kei Kreutler is a writer and artist interested in how cultural narratives of technologies shape their use. Previously, she co-created Gnosis Guild, a small team behind the Zodiac open software standard for interoperable, modular governance tools. Currently, she is developing a book project on memory as a way of seeing technology, economics, and ecology.


Guest Talk with Alex Komoroske


From our Discord

"Protocolization: the process of domesticating a wild technology so minimally specialized humans or equipment can use it routinely. The minimum specialization is the indicator. What’s the minimum amount of training required to use a system’s UX? What’s the simplest computer that can run a tcp/ip stack? For both crypto and AI getting it down to retail computing is a big deal. Run a mode on a phone. Train a model on a laptop without a gpu."
- Venkat

Link to Discord Thread


Three Links

Coordination Headwind - Incredible slide deck rethinking organization protocols (🎩: Alex Komoroske)
The Estimation Game - Techniques for Informed Guessing (🎩: Dorian)
Flock Dynamics - Swarm mentality visualization of sheep guided by dogs (🎩: Rafa)


Upcoming Events

June 9 - Guest Talk with Annemarie Pooterman & Gina Belle
Protocols for Social System Transformation
Social Systems operate in conditions of inherent complexity, creating uncertainty for any agent wishing to design and take action. CHÔRA has developed an end-to-end framework, which brings to social systems a robust and dynamic capability to deliver on an intent to self-transform in conditions of complexity by learning into change. In the session, we will introduce this framework, which has two distinctive protocols that i) design and activate portfolios of system transformation options portfolios and ii) manage these portfolios dynamically over time to invest resources, take action, and make decisions that lead to systemic outcomes. First, we will explore the heuristic process of creating an observable space of action-learning to design and understand our actions. The portfolio stencil paper referenced as input details a design process that takes an agent from this representation to result in a designed portfolio of transformation options. We’ll then explore the protocol and capability that these portfolios leverage to generate systemic impact. Our dynamic portfolio management protocol makes itself available to social systems to create a pipeline or continuous source of new possibilities, strategic choices, and pathways for change, based on an agent’s constant and exponentially growing learning about their relationship to their context. We’ll close by considering how this framework might need us and you to think about evolving architectures to connect social system learning to protocols that shape our societies; how do we move from smart contracts to social contracts?
Pre-Talk Reading Material
June 14 - Guest Talk with Christina Dunbar-Hester
Directing Signals: Of Politics and Protocols
What do a global shipping port, a community radio station, and a code of conduct at a software conference have in common? At first glance, maybe not much. Nonetheless, this talk shows how thinking protocologically can reveal meaningful patterns in disparate sociotechnical systems and artifacts. It encourages us to attend closely to terms of association, to questions of scale, and their interrelationships.
Pre-Talk Reading Material


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