What is this?

Desystemize is a newsletter that focuses on the relationship between details and data. We can only systemize the smallest parts of the infinitely detailed world, and decision making relies on us making the correct choices. Unfortunately, we’ve become data-hungry and willing to ingest just about anything as long as we can run an algorithm on it. This is a place to explore consequences and fixes of over-systematization.

If you’re new here, Representation and Uncertainty is the place to start. It clarifies why I focus on representational issues and the danger of subscribing to existing ontologies without focusing on details.

Why subscribe?

If you subscribe, all updates to Desystemize will be sent directly to your inbox. If you’re really good at guessing when websites update, you could just bookmark it and refresh when the mood strikes you. It’s not illegal.

Who’s Collin?

Collin Lysford. I’ve worked for a number of years in healthcare IT in various data moving roles (though I’m now in mobile money), and have seen first-hand exactly how systematization will file off crucial detail. But most of the time my claims are intended to be self-evident; that is, pointing to examples instead of giving the results of frameworks. If a specific observation I make is only coherent based on my own lived experience, I’ll try to call it out. You can reach me at collin@desystemize.com on DMing me at @CollinLysford if you have a question or a suggestion of something to cover.

Who did that sweet logo and banner?

Doomsday LLC.

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Recovering the detail that systems destroy


metric skeptic at desystemize / @CollinLysford on Twitter