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

Stephen D. Williams sdw at lig.net
Mon Jun 24 01:06:07 PDT 2013

On 6/24/13 12:12 AM, J. Andrew Rogers wrote:
> On Jun 23, 2013, at 11:34 PM, Stephen D. Williams <sdw at lig.net> wrote:
>> I agree, but I also feel the narrowness of linear speech and text to be a severe bottleneck.  Why not support mental drawings too?  3D structures?  We're hampered by tools and access / display convenience now.
> In this particular case, visualizations won't help. Can you visualize 7-dimensional computational structures? Most humans can't. But competent computer scientists can eventually work such things out on paper. It just doesn't happen quickly but some problems can't be solved any other way. :-)

Space filling curves are reasonably understandable in progression from 2D to 3D to ND.  I don't find it that difficult to imagine 
using space-filling curves for clustering or N-dimensional to 1-dimensional key mapping or similar operations.  I'm sure your case 
is far more sophisticated, but space filling curves are a perfect example of something awkward to explain verbally but easy to 
understand visually.  Isn't the usual progression to understand these kinds of things in 1D, 2D, 3D visually and intuitively, then 
map to symbol space and operations, then extrapolate to higher dimensions there?  This seemed very straightforward in machine 
learning class also: While you may be fitting discriminators in arbitrary n-dimensional space, you can illustrate what is going on 
in 2D or 3D.

> I think you seriously underestimate the practical complexities. It is not a presentation problem in many cases; the domain is intrinsically and exquisitely complex. In the area I work in, everything is pervasively in dimensionality higher that anyone can visualize or manipulate mentally. A few freaks like me fake it well enough to get something done.

I don't think I said that any of this is easy.  Just that it will happen soon, be demonstrably more efficient and effective, and 
have interesting effects.  It may take huge effort to make it work, or to work well, but once the value is realized that's no block 
to it happening.  There seems to be plenty of low-hanging fruit.

>> It wouldn't be difficult to leverage past knowledge and experience, along with in and out editing capability, in an efficient way.  Just marking terms that you understand some, fair, well, or expertly would be enough to assist in determining what to auto-request more detail on.  Right now, we have slow, laborious, half-duplex (or fractional duplex in groups), thought to English, English to thought translation.  We're going to move past that in multiple ways as soon as we have digital output and digital / graphic input.
> The ultimate limitation is that you, literally, cannot visualize and manipulate an appropriate level of complexity. Nor can I. You overestimate the abilities of a monkey brain.

Maybe.  Or maybe we haven't come up with a suitable visualization. In any case, you just brought up the straw man of communicating 
n-dimensional problems.  Most people would be happy to communicate much more mundane information more effectively.  My original 
point was about an efficient analog of verbal and written communication; graphics / visualization is an add-on.  Simulations and 
active models would be the next step there: Training your analog brain, i.e. creating a neural sim analog of something, is required 
to understand certain things at an intuitive, metaphor vocabulary or sensory-motor level.  You can't effectively learn to drive or 
fly without training in body-extension mode, i.e. by actually doing it or using a sim that is close enough.

> Low-value stuff we already communicate pretty well.

Well then you can take a pass at augmentation so that the rest of us can catch up.  ;-)  I think a lot of communication is slow and painful, in the frustration and inefficiency sense.


More information about the FoRK mailing list