Some notes on transparency in social systems
This is the PC sitting on my desk right now:
...as you can see, it is literally transparent - you can look right into it! The components and physical connections between them, laid bare - they even put stupid lights on many of the components now, anticipating this level of transparency. Must be pretty easy to see how it works, right?
Well, no, of course not. Most of the interesting stuff is still obscured, happening at an atomic level inside what are literal black boxes. The layer at which it is transparent is irrelevant to most of the problems I might have to solve. When discussing the potential benefits of, costs of, and need for transparency in a system, it is critical to first establish the layer being discussed - otherwise, you may very well end up with a gaudy display that serves no real purpose. This is as true in social systems as it is in physical ones such as