GENERAL The conceptual framework we seek must orient us toward the real possibilities and problems associated with using modern technology to give direct aid to an individual in comprehending complex situations, isolating the significant factors, and solving problems. To gain this orientation, we examine how individuals achieve their present level of effectiveness, and expect that this examination will reveal possibilities for improvement. The entire effect of an individual on the world stems essentially from what he can transmit to the world through his limited motor channels. This in turn is based on information received from the outside world through limited sensory channels; on information, drives, and needs generated within him; and on his processing of that information.
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GENERAL The conceptual framework we seek must orient us toward the real possibilities and problems associated with using modern technology to give direct aid to an individual in comprehending complex situations, isolating the significant factors, and solving problems. To gain this orientation, we examine how individuals achieve their present level of effectiveness, and expect that this examination will reveal possibilities for improvement. The entire effect of an individual on the world stems essentially from what he can transmit to the world through his limited motor channels.
This in turn is based on information received from the outside world through limited sensory channels; on information, drives, and needs generated within him; and on his processing of that information. His processing is of two kinds: that which he is generally conscious of recognizing patterns, remembering, visualizing, abstracting, deducing, inducing, etc.
The ways in which human capabilities are thus extended are here called augmentation means, and we define four basic classes of them: 1 Artifacts--physical objects designed to provide for human comfort, for the manipulation of things or materials, and for the manipulation of symbols.
The system we want to improve can thus be visualized as a trained human being together with his artifacts, language, and methodology. The explicit new system we contemplate will involve as artifacts computers, and computer-controlled information-storage, information-handling, and information-display devices.
Pervading all of the augmentation means is a particular structure or organization. While an untrained aborigine cannot drive a car through traffic, because he cannot leap the gap between his cultural background and the kind of world that contains cars and traffic, it is possible to 9 move step by step through an organized training program that will enable him to drive effectively and safely. In other words, the human mind neither learns nor acts by large leaps, but by steps organized or structured so that each one depends upon previous steps.
Although the size of the step a human being can take in comprehension, innovation, or execution is small in comparison to the over-all size of the step needed to solve a complex problem, human beings nevertheless do solve complex problems. It is the augmentation means that serve to break down a large problem in such a way that the human being can walk through it with his little steps, and it is the structure or organization of these little steps or actions that we discuss as process hierarchies.
Every process of thought or action is made up of sub-processes. Let us consider such examples as making a pencil stroke, writing a letter of the alphabet, or making a plan.
Quite a few discrete muscle movements are organized into the making of a pencil stroke; similarly, making particular pencil strokes and making a plan for a letter are complex processes in themselves that become sub-processes to the over-all writing of an alphabetic character.
Although every sub-process is a process in its own right, in that it consists of further sub-processes, there seems to be no point here in looking for the ultimate bottom of the process-hierarchical structure. There seems to be no way of telling whether or not the apparent bottoms processes that cannot be further subdivided exist in the physical world or in the limitations of human understanding.
In any case, it is not necessary to begin from the bottom in discussing particular process hierarchies.. No person uses a process that is completely unique every time he tackles something new.
Instead, he begins from a group of basic sensory-mental-motor process capabilities, and adds to these certain of the process capabilities of his artifacts. There are only a finite number of such basic human and artifact capabilities from which to draw.
Furthermore, even quite different higher order processes may have in common relatively high-order sub-processes" 10 When a man writes prose text a reasonably high-order process , he makes use of many processes as sub-processes that are common to other high-order processes. For example, he makes use of planning, composing, dictating. What happens, then, is that each individual develops a certain repertoire of process capabilities from which he selects and adapts those that will compose the processes that he executes.
This repertoire is like a tool kit, and just as the mechanic must know what his tools can do and how to use them, so the i. There are those that are executed completely within the human integument, which we call explicit-human process capabilities; there are those possessed by artifacts for executing processes without human intervention, which we call explicit- artifact process capabilities; and there are what we call the composite process capabilities, which are derived from hierarchies containing both of the other kinds.
Consider the process of writing an important memo. There is a particular concept associated with this process--that of putting information into a formal package and distributing it to a set of people for a certain kind of consideration-- and the type of information package associated with this concept has been given 11 the special name of memorandum.
Already the system language shows the effect of this process--i. The memo-writing process may be executed by using a set of process capabilities in intermixed or repetitive form such as the following planning, developing subject matter, composing text, producing hard copy, and distributing.
There is a definite way in which these sub-processes will be organized that represents part of the system methodology. If it is a complex memo, involving a good deal of careful planning and development, then all of the sub-processes might well be of the composite type e.
The set of sub-process capabilities discussed so far, if called upon in proper occasion and sequence, would indeed enable the execution of the memo-writing process. However, the very process of organizing and supervising the utilization of these sub-process capabilities is itself a most important sub-process of the memo-writing process.
Hence, the sub- process capabilities as listed would not be complete without the addition of a seventh capability--what we call the executive capability. This is the capability stemming from habit, strategy, rules of thumb, prejudice, learned method, intuition, unconscious dictates, or combinations thereof, to call upon the appropriate sub-process capabilities with a particular sequence and timing.
An executive process i. Suppose you had a new writing machine--think of it as a high-speed electric typewriter with some special features. You could operate its keyboard to cause it to write text much as you could use a conventional typewriter. As an auxiliary device, there is a gadget that is held like a pencil and, instead of a point, has a special sensing mechanism that you can pass over a line of the special printing from your writing machine or one like it.
The signals which this reading stylus sends through the flexible connecting wire to the writing machine are used to determine which characters are being sensed and thus to cause the automatic typing of a duplicate string of characters. An information-storage mechanism in the writing machine permits you to sweep the reading stylus over the characters much faster than the writer can type; the writer will catch up with you when you stop to think about what word or string of words should be duplicated next, or while you reposition the straightedge guide along which you run the stylus.
This writing machine would permit you to use a new process of composing text. For instance, trial drafts could rapidly be composed from re-arranged excerpts of old drafts, together with new words or passages which you stop to type in. Your first draft could represent a free outpouring of thoughts in any order, with the inspection of foregoing thoughts continuously stimulating new considerations and ideas to be entered. If the tangle of thoughts represented by the draft became too complex, you would compile a reordered draft quickly.
It would be practical for you to accommodate more complexity in the trails of thought you might build in search of the path that suits your needs. If it is easier to update any part of your working record to accommodate new developments in thought or circumstance, you will find it easier to incorporate more complex procedures in your way of doing things. This will probably allow you to accommodate the extra burden associated with, for instance, keeping and using special files whose contents are both contributed to and utilized by any current work in a flexible manner--which in turn enables you to devise and use even- morecomplex procedures to better harness your talents in your particular working situation.
The important thing to appreciate here is that a direct new innovation in one particular capability can have far-reaching effects throughout the rest of your capability hierarchy.
A change can propagate up through the capability hierarchy; higher-order capabilities that can utilize the initially changed capability can now reorganize to take special advantage of this change and of the intermediate higher-capability changes. A change can propagate down through the hierarchy as a result of new capabilities at the high level and modification possibilities latent in lower levels.
These latent capabilities may previously have been unusable in the hierarchy and become usable because of the new capability at the higher level. The writing machine and its flexible copying capability would occupy you for a long time if you tried to exhaust the reverberating chain of associated possibilities for making useful innovations within your capability hierarchy. This one innovation could trigger a rather extensive redesign of this hierarchy; your way of accomplishing many of your tasks would change considerably.
To our objective of deriving orientation about possibilities for actively pursuing an increase in human intellectual effectiveness, it is important to realize that we must be prepared to pursue such new- possibilit- 14 chains throughout the entire capability hierarchy calling for a system approach?. It is also important to realize that we must be oriented to the synthesis of new capabilities from reorganization of other capabilities, both old and new, that exist throughout the hierarchy calling for a system- engineering" approach.
It need not be just the very sophisticated or formal process capabilities that are added or modified in this redesign. Many of the external composing and manipulating modifying, rearranging processes serve auch characteristically "human" activities as playing with forms and relationships to ask what develops, cut- and-try multiple-pass development of an idea, or listing items to reflect on and then rearranging and extending them as thoughts develop.
Existing, or near-future, technology could certainly provide our professional problem-solvers with the artifacts they need to have for duplicating and rearranging text before their eyes, quickly and with a minimum of human effort. But an active research effort, aimed at exploring and evaluating poasible integrated changes throughout the repertoire hierarchy, could greatly accelerate thia evolutionary process.
The reaearch effort could 16 guide the product development of new artifacts toward taking long-range meaningful steps; simultaneously competitively minded individuals who would respond to demonstrated methods for achieving greater personal effectiveness would create a market for the more radical equipment innovations.
The guided evolutionary process could be expected to be considerably more rapid than the traditional one. The category of "more radical innovations" includes the digital computer as a tool for the personal use of an individual. The Source of Intelligence When one looks at a computer system that is doing a very complex job, he sees on the surface a machine that can execute some extremely sophisticated processes.
If he is a layman, his concept of what provides this sophisticated capability may endow the machine with a mysterious power to sweep information through perceptive and intelligent synthetic thinking devices.
Actually, this sophisticated capability results from a very clever organizational hierarchy so that pursuit of the source of intelligence within this system would take one down through layers of functional and physical o. To be more specific, we can begin at the top and list the major levels down through which we would pass if we successively decomposed the functional elements of each level in search of the "source of intelligence.
A programmer could take us down through perhaps three levels depending upon the sophistication of the total process being executed by the computer perhaps depicting the organization at each level with a flow chart. The first level down would organize functions corresponding to statements in a problem-oriented language e. The second level down would organize lesser functions into the processes represented by first-level statements.
The 17 third level would perhaps show how the basic machine commands or rather the processes which they represent were organized to achieve each of the functions of the second level. For Level 6 a circuit engineer could show us diagrams revealing how components such as transistors, resistors, capacitors, and diodes can be organized into modular networks that provide the functions needed for the elements of Level 5.
Device engineers and physicists of different kinds could take us down through more layers. But rather soon we have crossed the boundary between what is man-organized and what is nature-organized, and are ultimately discussing the way in which a given physical phenomenon is derived from the intrinsic organization of sub-atomic particles, with our ability to explain succeeding layers blocked by the exhaustion of our present human comprehension.
If we then ask ourselves where that intelligence is embodied, we are forced to concede that it is elusively distributed throughout a hierarchy of functional processes--a hierarchy whose foundation extends down into natural processes below the depth of our comprehension.
In particular, the intelligence of a human being, derived ultimately from the characteristics of individual nerve cells, undoubtedly results from synergism.
Intelligence Amplification It has been jokingly suggested several times during the course of this study that what we are seeking is an "intelligence amplifier. Ross Ashby 2,3. But deriving the concepts brought out in the preceding section has shown us that indeed this term does seem applicable to our objective. Accepting the term "intelligence amplification" does not imply any attempt to increase native human intelligence. The term "intelligence amplification" seems applicable to our goal of augmenting the human intellect in that the entity to be produced will exhibit more of what can be called intelligence than an unaided human could; we will have amplified the intelligence of the human by organizing his intellectual capabilities into higher levels of synergistic structuring.
In amplifying our intelligence, we are applying the principle of synergistic structuring that was followed by natural evolution in developing the basic human capabilities. What we have done in the development of our augmentation means is to construct a superstructure that is a synthetic extension of the natural structure upon which it is built.
In a very real sense, as represented by the steady evolution of our augmentation means, the development of "artificial intelligence" has been going on for centuries. It is upon their capabilities that the ultimate capability of the system will depend. This was implied in the earlier statement that every composite process of the system decomposes ultimately into explicit-human and explicit-artifact processes.
In any composite process, there is cooperative interaction between the two domains, requiring interchange of energy much of it for information exchange purposes only. Figure 1 depicts this twodomain concept and embodies other concepts discussed below.
However, the "man-artifact 20 interface" has existed for centuries, ever since humans began using artifacts and executing composite processes. Exchange across this "interface occurs when an explicit-human process is coupled to an explicit-artifact process.
Quite often these coupled processes are designed for just this exchange purpose, to provide a functional match between other explicit-human and explicit-artifact processes buried within their respective domains that do the more significant things For instance, the finger and hand motions explicithuman processes activate key-linkage motions in the typewriter couple to explicit-artifact processes.
But these are only part of the matching processes between the deeper human processes that direct a given word to be typed and the deeper artifact processes that actually imprint the ink marks on the paper. Again, special processes are often designed to accommodate this exchange. Consider the following historical progression in the development of our intellectual capabilities: 1 Concept Manipulation--Humans rose above the lower forms of life by evolving the biological capability for developing abstractions and concepts.
Their mental capabilities allowed them to develop general concepts from specific instances, predict specific instances from general 21 concepts, associate concepts, remember them, etc. For example, a person letting a door swing shut behind him suddenly visualizes the person who follows him carrying a cup of hot coffee and some sticky pastries.
Of all the aspects of the pending event, the spilling of the coffee and the squashing of the pastry somehow are abstracted immediately, and associated with a concept of personal responsibility and a dislike for these consequences But a solution comes to mind immediately as an image of a quick stop and an arm stab back toward the door, with motion and timing that could prevent the collision, and the solution is accepted and enacted.
Augmenting Human Intellect
Map your improvement activities into ABC — A business as usual, B innovating how A work gets done, C innovating how B work gets done — to reveal hidden opportunities for engagement. Connect B and C activities in networked improvement communities for additional leverage. Drill down into "Collective IQ" as a capability to reveal additional points of leverage. For each desired capability, drill down to reveal hidden opportunities in human and tool innovation.
Major contributions[ edit ] William Ross Ashby: Intelligence Amplification[ edit ] The term intelligence amplification IA has enjoyed a wide currency since William Ross Ashby wrote of "amplifying intelligence" in his Introduction to Cybernetics Related ideas were explicitly proposed as an alternative to Artificial Intelligence by Hao Wang from the early days of automatic theorem provers. Take, for instance, any popular book of problems and puzzles. Almost every one can be reduced to the form: out of a certain set, indicate one element It is, in fact, difficult to think of a problem, either playful or serious, that does not ultimately require an appropriate selection as necessary and sufficient for its solution. Thus it is not impossible that what is commonly referred to as "intellectual power" may be equivalent to "power of appropriate selection".
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