Thursday, March 16, 2006

Grey Matter

One way to get greater economics of scale (and scope) in SOA is to simplify and generalize the basic services by shifting some of the complexity into the wiring between the services.

So I was interested to hear a report on the radio today about recent studies of the human brain. As I understand it, the brain is divided into grey matter (which does the basic thinking) and white matter (which wires everything together). So perhaps we can very crudely equate the grey matter with services, and the white matter with the orchestration of the services.

Now here's the interesting bit - the ratio of white matter to grey matter in different people. Pathological liars have significantly more white matter than other people. (It seems that skilled falsehood requires greater orchestration. It is not clear whether people lie because their brains enable them to lie, or whether some brains develop in particular ways because their owners are exercising the capacity to lie.)

Meanwhile, autistic people tend to have a much lower amount of white matter than other people. There are two characteristics of autism that may be relevant here: difficulty in interoperability, and difficulty with anything other than the literal truth.

Has all this got anything to do with SOA and BPEL? You decide.

Source: BBC Radio 4, Leading Edge, March 16th, 2006
(full programme available online for a week after broadcast).

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