Thursday, July 23, 2009

Plagiarism

The funny thing about uncritical perception is that it leads to a kind of groupthink on the part of whole groups of students. If you have ten students, that's not so bad; if you have 400, that's going to be a large clump; and if you have 400 elite students (or socioculturally elite in a meritocratic plutocracy or plutocratic meritocracy) then that is a large clump with a huge potential societal impact.

There are several such novitiates in Atlantis. They practise the practice of reflection — that is, they reflect because they are told to do so, and most of the time, when they are illuminated, they just reflect the illumination and feel good about it.

The problem with this light-scattering effect is that it eventually looks a lot like plagiarism when it isn't really so. This is because the entire armamentarium of these novitiates has become standardised. They all wear the same kind of armour, use the same kinds of weapons, follow the same sort of drills. Then they customise these things for their own personal ambition and comfort, but as in most cases, customisation amounts to a 5% difference (or less) between morphologies.

My next paper will therefore be one on the morphology of mass customisation. It is a lot like that ubiquitous computer game, Spore.

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