Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Experiments and innovation for 2017

The word "experiment" has at least two meanings.  On the one hand an experiment is an activity meant to support or disprove a theory;  it's more down-to-earth meaning is to simply try new things out, to see what happens.  So for example, sexual experimentation is not usually done to confirm a theory, but to find out what brings the most pleasure.  It's not usually guided by theory, but by some common sense hunches about what that might give the desired output.

Thomas Edison, with his hundreds of attempts to create a light bulb, is in the down-to-earth group; The teams that sought to test Einstein's theory by measuring how starlight is bent by the sun's gravitational field were in the first camp.

This dance between theory and practice, between scientists and inventors, has become all the more important in the modern world, where the growth of the economy seems tied to the speed of innovation and invention.  So IBM, and Google, and Microsoft, which depend on the output of the inventors, have also created teams of scientists to complement their teams of engineers.  

The inventors ask:  "how can I get the desired output from a system?"
The scientist asks:  "how does the system work?"
And in the end, they learn from each other.

In 2017, I plan to try several experiments, squarely in the first group of inventors and tinkerers.  I'll experiment in the areas of this blog, health-nutrition-exercise, relationships, and finances.  How about you?

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