Friday, January 16, 2004

Ashby's Law of Requisite Variety

Quoting from Bill's last posting:

Management attitude has been taken out of the equation. Management can assert what it wishes - as long as it provides a scrutable evidence-laden trail to irrefutable primitive data. If the logic holds water, the assertions could be made by a convict. If the logic doesn't make the audit, the assertions could be made by Mother Theresa and she goes to jail.

But how does this square with Ashby's Law? How could anybody check such an audit trail, given the massive amounts of data involved?

If the law requires such conformance, why not replace the management with computers? If you want conformance to a set of explicit rules, you don't need humans, you need computers!

This sounds to me like a call for using computers to provide a framework for accountability, within which the humans can get on with their work, while the accountability is provided as a side effect of the logging of work activity.

Funnily enough, this is exactly what our technology is designed to do, as I was explaining to Aidan last Monday.