6 Matching Annotations
  1. Oct 2017
    1. without being conscious of it, have stored up in idea the greater part of those strong marked varieties of human character,

      Unconscious knowledge of human character described by Joanna Baillie, Introductory Discourse

  2. Feb 2014
    1. But at the level of the capability hierarchy where we wish to work, it seems useful to us to distinguish several different types of structuring--even though each type is fundamentally a structuring of the basic physical processes. Tentatively we have isolated five such types--although we are not sure how many we shall ultimately want to use in considering the problem of augmenting the human intellect, nor how we might divide and subdivide these different manifestations of physical-process structuring. We use the terms "mental structuring", "concept structuring", "symbol structuring", "process structuring," and "physical structuring."

      The 5 structuring types outlined by Doug Engelbart:

      • mental
      • concept
      • symbol
      • process
      • physical
    2. The fundamental principle used in building sophisticated capabilities from the basic capabilities is structuring--the special type of structuring (which we have termed synergetic) in which the organization of a group of elements produces an effect greater than the mere addition of their individual effects. Perhaps "purposeful" structuring (or organization) would serve us as well, but since we aren't sure yet how the structuring concept must mature for our needs, we shall tentatively stick with the special modifier, "synergetic." We are developing a growing awareness of the significant and pervasive nature of such structure within every physical and conceptual thing we inspect, where the hierarchical form seems almost universally present as stemming from successive levels of such organization.
    1. Man cannot hope fully to duplicate this mental process artificially, but he certainly ought to be able to learn from it. In minor ways he may even improve, for his records have relative permanency. The first idea, however, to be drawn from the analogy concerns selection. Selection by association, rather than indexing, may yet be mechanized. One cannot hope thus to equal the speed and flexibility with which the mind follows an associative trail, but it should be possible to beat the mind decisively in regard to the permanence and clarity of the items resurrected from storage.

      Selection by association, rather than indexing.

    2. The real heart of the matter of selection, however, goes deeper than a lag in the adoption of mechanisms by libraries, or a lack of development of devices for their use. Our ineptitude in getting at the record is largely caused by the artificiality of systems of indexing. When data of any sort are placed in storage, they are filed alphabetically or numerically, and information is found (when it is) by tracing it down from subclass to subclass. It can be in only one place, unless duplicates are used; one has to have rules as to which path will locate it, and the rules are cumbersome. Having found one item, moreover, one has to emerge from the system and re-enter on a new path. The human mind does not work that way. It operates by association. With one item in its grasp, it snaps instantly to the next that is suggested by the association of thoughts, in accordance with some intricate web of trails carried by the cells of the brain. It has other characteristics, of course; trails that are not frequently followed are prone to fade, items are not fully permanent, memory is transitory. Yet the speed of action, the intricacy of trails, the detail of mental pictures, is awe-inspiring beyond all else in nature.

      With the advent of Google Docs we're finally moving away from the archaic indexing mentioned here. The filesystem metaphor was simple and dominated how everyone manages their data-- which extended into how we developed web content, as well.

      The declaration that Hierarchical File Systems are Dead has led to better systems of tagging and search, but we're still far from where we need to be since there is still a heavy focus on the document as a whole instead of also the content within the document.

      The linearity of printed books is even more treacherously entrenched in our minds than the classification systems used by libraries to store those books.

      One day maybe we'll liberate every piece of content from every layer of its concentric cages: artificial systems of indexing, books, web pages, paragraphs, even sentences and words themselves. Only then will we be able to re-dress those thoughts automatically into those familiar and comforting forms that keep our thoughts caged.

  3. Oct 2013
    1. As birds are born to fly, horses to run, and wild beasts to show fierceness, so to us peculiarly belong activity and sagacity of understanding

      This little diddy here smacks of Aristotle: what distinguishes humans from all other creatures are their cognitive faculties.