Thinking deeply

Yesterday — I spent some time thinking about how the shared experience of the pandemic might change and influence the future of intergenerational discourse. It was a pretty intense topic for 05:00 and that was an ok way to start the day. Thinking deeply is something you have to take the time to achieve. Some espresso and a little Warren Zeveon is how my quiet time is spent this early in the morning. It is 05:00 again and this seems to be the time the new puppy wakes up after a night of sleep. Changes in civil society seem to be occurring rapidly in the shadow of modernity. The moments that are happening right now are filled with the start of some very overdue and complex discourse. Some of the things that are left unsaid are starting to come to the forefront of the public mind. It might be a shared experience that drives things forward. At the moment, I’m actively writing about something that is happening and trying to describe it to the best of knowledge, skills, and abilities. That does not mean my first attempt at it will be a bullseye on the dart board. Honestly, my first few attempts are going to be more about providing coverage to the ideas swirling around in my head vs. a coherent attempt to break down modernity into the component parts that are influencing society. 

Outside of the governmental framework that makes up our constitutional republic a series of economic and other types of institutions exist that blend into the social fabric of our great democratic experiment. Before the pandemic and lockdown the focus was on federal engagement and national politics. We were at the start of a major election cycle related to selecting a president. As the experience of community becomes more focused at the local level. We see evidence of communities of interest, place, and circumstance become more pronounced. Those types of communities help explain how people organize and work together. Modernity as a word helps describe the contemporary state of how society is occuring based on a shared contemporaneousness. This year is an example of where the relationship between society and modernity has changed. Given how much time I have spent wondering about both techno-modernity and the intersection of technology and modernity that is a phenomenon that I’m very interested in studying. At this point it is a highly exploratory based research effort given that the change is unfolding in real time. I would need to use some type of time series based automated data collection method or a series of surveys to try to capture sentiment as the event was occurring. That is an interesting type of research where the data collection method to observe things in real time drives the entire project forward. 

Building out automated sentiment collection tools is relatively easy given social media and other online content generation methods. Figuring out how to collect the right mix of things is very difficult. My last attempt at building a real time sentiment engine that could be queried worked out well enough. It ended up being a series of angry Perl scripts that built essentially a ball of data that was sorted by day and could be indexed based on the topic of interest. That research design allowed for searching for many things since the source data that was collected remained intact. You could even go back and apply different models for sentiment if things changed or future models improved. I probably should turn that data collection engine back on sometime this weekend and see what happens. All my coding focus had shifted over to better understanding the GPT-2 and GPT-3 models from the OpenAI organization.

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