What the Borg Can Teach Us About Systems Design — Episode 3

We can learn as much from others’ mistakes as their successes, maybe even more so. The following is about what the failures of the Borg are and how we can do better in our design of systems.

Cooperation

For the Borg, it’s all about a single species, their own. Any society or culture they come across they must assimilate (or destroy in the attempt). There is no concept of working together with other cultures and societies.

With our systems, we must be able to adapt to working with others’ systems. The inputs and outputs of the systems aren’t just about the environment but they may be the inputs and outputs from and to other systems. We can’t and shouldn’t expect things outside of our control to do what we want or even expect. Trying to control them leads to negative consequences so think about our system interfaces and how to make things smoother for others.

Altruism

By altruism I’m using is a very generic sense of trying to improve and benefit all and not just ourselves. The consequence of the Borg only having a singular desire to expand themselves is it leaves no room to help or benefit others. This is what ultimately makes them an antagonist in the galaxy. They take no consideration for others into account.

When we design our systems we should think of not only immediate goals and purposes but at a larger scale how could it benefit everyone. Not only must we consider environmental factors but our outputs could contribute to improving the environment (community, society and the world).

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