Carin Ism

I work on governance innovation, on updating the tools available to distribute power and make/enforce decisions. I am the Director of Research at Bitnation, where I direct the Bitnation Future Governance Expedition, I am faculty in the future of governance at the Nordic branch of Singularity U. Before that I was Executive Director of the Global Challenges Foundation, I give talks on power and governance-related issues and offer advisory services to governments and IGOs. I am the chairman of Effective Altruism Sweden and run a live-in hackerspace in Stockholm and one in Amsterdam, both heavily informed by effective altruism. My current work emphasises applications of emerging tools for governance, ranging from algorithmic regulation to the power of escrow/multisignatories, reputation systems and what needs to be in place to get distributed autonomous organisations to actually work. If you do anything in the space of reimagining governance and power, do reach out. I am always interested in learning about new projects and perspectives.

Beyond this, my brain tends to ideate far outside of these specific domains. Apparently, it is yet to receive the memo stating that people should act like siloed entities and simplistic brands. Sometimes I indulge in these impulses and create art, lamps and literature. I publish some of the results here.

Functional fixedness

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Functional fixedness

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"A cognitive bias that limits a person to using an object only in the way it is traditionally used. The concept of functional fixedness originated in Gestalt psychology, a movement in psychology that emphasizes holistic processing. Karl Duncker defined functional fixedness as being a "mental block against using an object in a new way that is required to solve a problem". This "block" limits the ability of an individual to use components given to them to complete a task, as they cannot move past the original purpose of those components. For example, if someone needs a paperweight, but they only have a hammer, they may not see how the hammer can be used as a paperweight. Functional fixedness is this inability to see a hammer's use as anything other than for pounding nails; the person couldn't think to use the hammer in a way other than in its conventional function."