The difference between Learning by doing and Idea sex might have to do with where those ideas come from, but the more I think about it that seems like BS. Learning by doing has the sense that there is a lot of experience.
If Connections create new knowledge, maybe the difference is what is being connected. Because at the end of the day it can’t be how they’re connected. Learning by doing and idea sex happen through the same mechanism
The distinction is tricky because you could argue that it is actually idea sex because the inventors didn’t just blindly try every shape. They probably went off of some intuition around symmetry, and maybe even used calculus to find the right shape. Similarly, there are probably many pieces of knowledge that Henry Ford and colleagues brought to bear to get moving slaughterhouse technology to work with cars.
The resolution of this has something to do with the fractal nature of the Tech tree and also the concept of modularity. Some options for the difference:
- Perhaps the difference is substitutability? In learning by doing, you create something that is strictly better than the thing before it. Learning by doing doesn’t change something’s function.
- Perhaps the difference is modularity - if someone improved non-assembly-line car manufacturing or meat moving technology, that would make the moving assembly line better, but improving calculus wouldn’t make the shape of the rocket engine better. This is pretty weak.
- It might also be a qualitative thing where because it’s fractal you just look at whatever level you care about.
- Modularization allows different groups to work on different pieces
- Modularization enables pieces to be used in many different technologies
- The tech tree is fractal
- Every time you zoom in on a fractal, it presents the same pattern on a different scale