Good research, starts with a question. Deeply held beliefs are supposed to be set aside when studying such a question or the concern is that you’ll impune the results. That by holding an opinion, you remove the vacuums that are supposed to surround research environments and affect that which you seek to study.
The problem with doing social research though, is what if the whole point of the research is to inflict an ideology and then to step back see what happens. This isn’t new for me, see: Information Altruism (IA). In being an active participant in sociology research you intentionally try to affect (in order to study) the outcome.
I’ve been debating what the next big thing is for me. After all, I spent last year finally sitting down and writing about the idea I had inflicted in order to study it. I did so after keeping quiet for many years about what I was really doing… so without research I’m left… empty in some ways.
Who do I want to be at 40?
(I’m 32 for context)… but I plan things out in decades… at 16 I dreamed of going to penn state and winning a national championship playing roller hockey. I did, 10 years later (coaching, lost my final season in a nat. championship game though)… so I’ve been asking myself lately who I want to be for 40.
A lot of my family life is beyond how I’ve always wanted it. Friends that have kids we enjoy hanging out with (and our kids do), neighbors we love, a happy life. Work life sees the project taking hold in areas previously thought impossible. The mindset I’m inflicting upon this world is becoming sustainable. But what next; who do I become?
Do I want to continue being the developer? Writing code endlessly, being beholden to others to set the direction for my life, staying in place, intentionally not “advancing” as part of some longer play. Do I want to be a thought leader? Do I want to teach? Do I want to do more research? Do I want to abandon all this and work at PapaJohns delivering pizza for more money* then I make now so things can be simple and “happy”.
All of these paths are different… and dedication towards any one can paint me into a corner. To Drupal people, I’m too edtech for mainstream module usage. For Edtech, I’m not enough instructional design focused and I don’t have the credentials (PhD) or work in a startup so who cares what I think. For faculty, I don’t teach. For other IDs I’m just the developer… So again. Who do I want to be… who am I needed to be.
To be clear. I’m not doing formal research. And I may never do formal research. I’m just a person going about his day like anyone else… except I have other motives. I have a mission, and questions that drive all my actions (and you should too). A desire; to be something more then “just” a developer.
When I’m 40, that would put us at 2024; 4 years beyond the timeline that we so often pick as “where will we be in the future”. 2024 moves the goal post a bit but not too much so. After all, I just completed a task previously marked for 2020.. last week. So what other questions and problems do we want to tackle? Where do I want to position things that I’d be proud of who that person is to be?
And so, I’ve tried to arrive at 2 questions. It was previously many more, but I’ve removed them because they are too dangerous for now. They’ll sit in notes, diaries and diatribes to myself. Locked away, ready for when the time is right (like 2025 when we can all have a good laugh at how stupid we were in 2016 to feel as we do).
Using mass automation, virtualization, encryption, full stack open source, using organic deployment architecture, and maker culture / devices; Can we propagate Libertarian Utopian ideals while also achieving Socialist Utopian ideals?
Can we discover “better angels” of governance through technology’s ability to illuminate processes. Can we find new, more perfect forms of governance because of mass automation?
* There is a delivery driver in town that we know makes more money driving pizza because of tips off college students then most people I know. So no, it’s not an exaggeration.