[FoRK] Non-speech, non-keyboard direct communications will create a new class of humans

J. Andrew Rogers andrew at jarbox.org
Sun Jun 23 21:06:28 PDT 2013

On Jun 23, 2013, at 5:12 PM, Stephen Williams <sdw at lig.net> wrote:
> Many of us think, at least at times, much faster than we can communicate.  At the moment, we can only leverage and communicate stored information in external ways.  We could probably communicate several times faster, plus boost that with shorthand and keyword-like inclusion of packets of existing knowledge.  Given a much better visualization and representation method, we should be able to communicate a lot of information quickly in an absorbable way.

I am skeptical of this assertion. 

Humans are able to rapidly retrieve arguments and facts that have been previously thought through and packaged but I can't think of an example of communication requiring novel and carefully constructed thought that did not move slower than the speed of communication. It certainly does not work that way for me and I have not seen an obvious example in other people. There are many subject matters where I appear to communicate extemporaneously with great detail and at a pace that is limited primarily by biological bandwidth but I am not *thinking* that fast. It is a speed of delivery borne of practice and repetition rather than thinking.

Polymaths can do this around so many topics that it creates the illusion they can do it with every topic. But it is an illusion. Or at least, I've never met anyone who could actually think up new ideas and arguments constructively faster than they could communicate. 

And no one absorbs what I am communicating that fast, and I expect this is true for other people. Even when there is a considerable level of common context and intelligence, understanding of new information moves much slower than the speed of thought. For most people, most time is spent building the contextual groundwork. 

A lot of stuff pops into my head continuously but it is half-baked. Fully baked ideas emerge at a much slower rate and those are the more valuable ideas.

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