A River Flows From the Industrial Revolution

I haven't posted for a while, because I started working on a larger concept that is a longer answer to the impact of the complexity economy and innovation to the needs of politics. Yes, I became megalomanic…in a way. I've never worked in a political set-up and I've no education in political sciences.

Innovation is about change. It influences our lives increasingly. But does politics change enough in reaction?

I'm far away from completion of the concept, but I'll share thoughts in a series of posts. Working title: Quantitative Politics.

No chimney smokes without benefit?

Before the era of Industrial Revolution most things were made  at home or in small shops. Individualized products were produced with simple hand tools and devices .

Many people lived an arduous life in mostly rural communities. Industrialization changed everything. Machines produced mass-products in factories. Textile, steel...the steam engine, spawned new systems of transport, communications and banking.

People migrated to cities whose houses were often as black as their faces. In order to redeem more they had mostly toil more. Their work became measurable, observable, clocked…systematic and machine like.

This started an evolution of products and production:


The driver of this era is the mechanization. Mechanisms modified products and production. In a car they determine the function and power of the engine, gears…and bring comfort in, say, windows manipulation.

Mechanized things initiate an evolution of feature-rich, comfortable, autonomous, connected products, which are produced by increasingly autonomous machines and systems.


The historical development of electrification is determined by magnets, dynamos and generators. Electricity "generated" light, heat...and drives motors. It extends the functionality of products and can replace mechanisms. Cars are illuminated and electric motors add comfort to windows manipulation…currently, they replace combustion engines and transmissions.


Computers are not mere tools. They're universal machines controlling products and production by programs. Embedded systems in cars help drivers to drive better and information systems help them to navigate better from A to B.


Cognitizing is the technology of autonomous, intelligent systems, empowered by Artificial Intelligence techniques. The self-driving car is one of its objects of desire. I've posted my view on cognitizing here


Local intelligence allows to process complex information, make decisions based on experience and inference swiftly. Smart self-driving cars are technically better if they've better sensors, faster processors and more intelligent programs. Integrated into an information network they'll move like a swarm optimizing traffic and their own ride.

Connected autonomous systems exchange information among themselves, with the environment and with people. Connected they perform more functions than alone. 

But how smart shall a smart connected thing be? How shall it interact with people?

A tightly coupled, complex system of intelligent subsystems may become a monster. Why? Complex means unforeseen events may happen and closely related, there's not enough time to react.

But no doubt, smart, connected products, services and production live in co-existence, create new things and innovate in co-evolution…

In a regime of connected things and actors terms such as origin, use, add-on…may blur and the coevolution of labor and economy may have unintended effects on value, price, property, exchange, utilization, market, money...and risk.

Do we have instruments helping us to combat eventual excesses? Is there an adequate policy?

I'll look into this things through the lens of an amateur in economy, social affairs and politics.

I'll touch the complexity economy and the future of work, factory and lab work, income and wealth, ask myself whether our money system is programmable, how rights can make a wrong and sketch a path to make change happen…I'll think again about the key to innovation…and come hopefully to a political framework.