Pip and Will

Two notes for today:

Yesterday, I had the privilege of watching Pip Coburn give a talk before a group of investors and brokers here in Montreal. Wow, was he good. He was talking about short and long term prospects in the stock market, and it was astonishing to see how much research and hard thinking he has on tap, and how well integrated it was into an embracing vision.

On the social science and humanities side, we are still piecing things together on an ad hoc basis without the benefit of good (or any) numbers. Depth and range are hard to find. But shouldn’t it be possible for us to begin to study the cultural and social world with something like this acuity?

Talking point # 2

I left Pip’s talk and went to have a drink with Will Straw, the head of the Art History and Communication Studies program at McGill. We were trying to figure out that moment in the life of a creative community when everyone knows that there is a new form in the works and everyone is rushing towards it, but no one can quite say what it is till they get there. How is it that people can have an “inchoate certainty” of this kind. An innovation is coming, everyone can feel it coming, everyone is indeed participating in its invention, but no one can really say what it is. This act of invention has shared properties that are operating at a preverbal but still powerful level.

This is one of the problems we will have to solve if we are ever to create a problem solving, future seeing system of the kind that Pip (and UBS) have invented.

Forgive me if I miss a couple of posts. I will be on the road.