The Messenger - Issue #21 - Fields of View
10 years ago, Fields of View (fieldsofview.in) was created to build tools to cope with wicked problems.
But what are wicked problems?
Fly back to 1959. Three years ago, the concept ‘Artificial Intelligence’ was used for the first time in a college on the east coast of the United States. Everyone was abuzz – can computers think like human beings? Some thought so. In 1959 two of the high priests of Artificial Intelligence created a computer program called ‘General Problem Solver’ which they believed could solve any problem.
Of course, like any miracle cure, it did not work. Why?
If the world was neatly ordered, where each part had a specific role to play, and the sum of the parts was the whole, repairing the world’s problems would be like fixing a bicycle. But, the world has a component that makes it all messy – people.
Yet, the question haunts the minds of researchers, policymakers, designers and people – why can’t we solve the problems in real world like we do in classical science?
Now, whether the apple fell in Kathmandu or Kinshasa, Isaac Newton will not change his mind about gravity. Classical scientists assumed that the world was well-ordered, all variables are clear, and you can predict where the apple will fall.
Real world is messy, for real world is made of people. Folks in Kinshasa may prefer to throw mangosteens.
So what is the nature of real-world problems? Context matters. What people want, their desires, their needs, biases, preferences, politics, cultural forces, oppressive ideas, environment, economics – they all intertwine to make the context.
And so, real-world problems are complex. Interestingly, the roots of the word complex are ‘com’ (together) and plectere(to weave), which is the same as context.
In other words, real-life problems are wicked – they cannot be clearly defined; they have no stopping rule; there are no true or false solutions to it, and it is connected to many other problems.
And so, how do we cope with these wicked problems? At Fields of View, we use play.
You play with a model of the world. It is as simple as that. As you play, you can try different strategies to tackle a problem, examine trade-offs of your choices, and learn from failure. All in a a safe and inexpensive setting, which is also fun. Curious to know more? Write to us (email@example.com) .
This ecological approach to world building draws inspiration from Urie Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory of child development. In Bronfenbrenner’s model, the child is at the center of the ecosystem and the surrounding layers have different levels of impact on that child. When we apply this same approach to world building, we see that different layers of the story’s world impact the characters in different ways. Follow this link to read more.