Augmenting Human Intelligence

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.), and that involving the unconscious processing and mediating of received and self-generated information, and the unconscious mediating of conscious processing itself.

I somehow have missed this point in all of the readings we’ve done about technology. To make an impact on the world is to transmit yourself in some form. Not having the proper channels to do this means that information is lost. But what information are we transmitting and where does it really come from? We are constantly processing information.




It is not clear how much of that information we are consciously selecting to process and memorize. I liked how Engelbart in a later part of this acknowledged the difficulty in tracing the origin of hierarchical processes of thinking, whether it be physical or mental. It happens and we know it’s a process. Being aware of how we are getting our information helps us then filter and sort out what we find useful and what we then can pass on to others. Our knowledge as human is a collection of interactions influenced by the places we go, environment we live in, and the people we see. It is therefore important to create technology that reflects this same interaction, acknowledging the conscious and unconscious inputs, and allowing for the transfer of knowledge between people.

One thought on “Augmenting Human Intelligence

  1. Great post, Tiera. This really starts to get at one of Engelbart’s main points. And, I’m seeing a theme across some of your posts which is about information flows and retention. This can be a problem or you can explore some new technologies that make it all a bit more manageable. Engelbart et al. were the pioneers that led to the creation of some of these tools.

    Also, thanks for linking to those posts. I learned a bunch by reading those articles. That’s what we’re after in this course…

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