Careful with Human Memory
#Neural Grafting, #TECH52
I think, and my thoughts cross the barrier into the synapses of the machine, just as the good doctor intended. But what I cannot shake, and what hints at things to come, is that thoughts cross back. In my dreams, the sensibility of the machine invades the periphery of my consciousness: dark, rigid, cold, alien. Evolution is at work here, but just what is evolving remains to be seen.
Commissioner Pravin Lal, “Man and Machine”, in “Alpha Centauri”
I’m very critical of just trying to remember ideas. Once a project has a certain size it becomes almost impossible to keep all ideas in mind. It’s also very difficult to quickly restructure ideas or get an overview of the strength of different parts of the project. It’s essentially the point I’m trying to make here — creativity needs organization and this usually means creativity needs tools.
Some tools use advertisement like “it stores information like the human brain does”. Why should this be a plus? It usually doesn’t mean that it forget information by itself, but that it uses a mind map/concept map like structure similar to a semantic network (few tools actually try to store information in neural networks). Apparently, this should help working with the information because it is familiar and “how the mind works”.
I’m also very critical of these tools. Why should it be like the human memory? It should support it. A digger doesn’t look like a hand, nevertheless it’s much better for digging.
Usually these tools are very graphic oriented and need a lot of screen size (to display the maps), become slow and buggy with increasing input, and often degrade into a superficial mind/concept map like structure with attached text files. And there’s another issue — they are often inconvenient to use. Give me a database/wiki or (for smaller projects) an outliner any time, but unless it seamlessly integrates with the human mind (like the quotation above), it shouldn’t be similar. It should have the necessary functions of an idea collection and allow me to remember, generate, find, add, and restructure ideas. Anything that deviates from that and reduces usability is disadvantageous, no matter the similarity to the human brain.
After all, we want to support the human brain, not copy it.