[unrev-II] Unrev-II, Augment Human Intelligence

From: Rod Welch (rowelch@attglobal.net)
Date: Thu Jan 20 2000 - 12:06:55 PST

From: Rod Welch <rowelch@attglobal.net>

To All,

I concur with John's sense that so far the Colloquium at Stanford is
focusing on macro "UN" type issues, at the expense of making progress on
augmenting capabilities. On the other hand, experience shows that when we
get down to cases and suggest improving personal capabilities, which can be
pooled to raise collective IQ, there is a lot of cultural resistance, as
related in analysis on reducing medical mistakes, which has been in the
news lately...


Doug may be trying to raise the stakes by citing high visibility issues in
order to overcome psychological resistance to personal improvement, per
Covey, et al.

One aspect of augmenting human capabilities is "intelligence." Doug's paper
published in 1992 is more than a technology prescription. He expressly
calls for "intelligence collection."
Accomplishing this goal gets into a lot of debates with computer and
cognitive science people about the "knowledge management dilemma." One
idea which Doug may be angling toward, from discussion on 991222, and
review of his 1992 paper, is that "experience" is a driving force of human
knowledge. The Dynamic Knowledge Repository (DKR) idea, in part, is to
capture and manage daily experience. This requires gathering and analyzing
information (who, what, when, why..) chronologically, and organizing it
according to objectives and requirements, so that the sequence of cause and
effect can be retrieved according to context. In effect this emulates an
important part of human "intelligence" that is helpful to enterprise, i.e.,
an automated experience capability is the engine of Enterprise

This concept can be summarized as simply "integrating time and information"
to produce knowledge.

Again, my sense is that Doug has developed capability to accomplish this as
part of his DKR. So, a direct, personal solution that has so far been
missing, may become clear in the period ahead.

Efforts at universities, research institutes and by industry have focused
on artificial intelligence (AI), using a range of sophisticated
mathematical modeling methods and computational linguistics. My feeling is
these methods will not accomplish a solution, at least not to the extent of
producing a "thinking" machine, because human thinking is organic, driven
by human needs. The dynamics are too complex to replicate, i.e., human
needs ebb and flow according to context that ignite emotion. Not only are
machines not emotional, we don't really want them to be, and so AI is
inherently conflicting.

Another approach is more mundane, but yields immediate results. Look at the
foundational knowledge management method humans devised 5K years ago, and
ask can anything be done to enhance alphabet technology for integrating
time and information? In other words, conventional wordprocessing,
including an email, like this letter, generates information. Connections
between what is written and personal and organizational experience is all
accomplished in the human mind. Might then we rearrange things a bit to
apply the alphabet with specialized structure and some new technology for
quickly identifying and connecting related context, and managing the
resulting chronologies of cause and effect for decision support? Would the
resulting experiential record accumulated over days, weeks, months and
years augment human memory and facilitate reasoning? Could the Internet
help distribute "intelligence" to build and maintain shared meaning that
reduces meaning drift?

Would managing human experience this way get us going toward "intelligence
collection" that Doug discusses?

If we enhance alphabet technology to leverage human intelligence, would
this aid individuals and organizations in addressing the macro "UN"
problems that cry out for attention?

The aim is to strive for a better balance between literacy and oral
communication, which is only possible by using technology to capture a
greater share of the connections that make up human knowledge day to day.
Over using stream of conscious communication in meetings, calls and email
causes information overload that overwhelms limited span of attention, due
to the growing complexity of the environment Doug cited in the first
session. Since the human mind suppresses complexity to enable action,
without intelligence support of some kind, knowledge work devolves into
guess and gossip, constant bumbling, instead of continual learning. At
least that is the theory.

So, a bottom up effort to augment human capability and strengthen
organizations is possible.

Getting people to give it a try, however, is not easy because, in the
beginning, producing useful "intelligence" requires a specialist, like a
"scribe" was needed to help people get going with alphabet technology in an
earlier era. People feel good about specialists for accounting, marketing,
engineering and mowing the lawn, but not for communication, which is the
prime source of information for generating daily intelligence. Grove at
Intel points out that successful executives have difficulty admitting, even
to themselves, the magnitude of the problems they face. They feel they are
intelligent, expert communicators, and fear that seeking support raises
questions of personal competence. They can easily avoid the issue by
demanding proof of cost savings in advance of pilot testing to discover
that adding intelligence" to management saves time and money.

This presents an innovation loop.

Grove breaks out of the loop by recommending that managers be constantly
experimenting with new methods. However, it takes courage to implement
such recommendations by requesting funding, and this requires explaining
why you need help with the alphabet? So Doug is building a case in the
beginning to show a broad, deep and growing need to augment personal and
organizational capabilities.

I think he is going to cover this stuff, so just taking a peak ahead.


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