Technology Enables IA, but Culture Must Evolve for It

Look at what intellect would be without writing or the printing press—these primitive technologies already make such a difference. Just think of what the latest computer technology will be able to do to further augment the intellect!

But this is a non-sequitur: what makes writing and paper powerful is technology to some extent, but it is mostly the rich culture that grew up around it.

Let’s look at writing first. The earlies extant samples of writing are Babylonian clay tablets containing tax records, government regulations, and astronomical records and calculations. Compared to these the books by Plato, Aristotle, and Euclid are very sophisticated. The potential of their level of technology was not exhausted as late as the 20th century, when A.N. Whitehead wrote “The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato”. These footnotes were mostly written on paper, technologically not a spectacular advance over the parchment used by Plato.

This stagnant level of technology was for a long time constrained by natural language. Over time this improved, but only slowly. By medieval times we see the rise of musical notation. Another powerful innovation is the algebra of François Viète (late 16th century). The very symbol of The Intellect is Einstein pondering a blackboard filled with picturesque formulas. This is basically Viète with a few more recent additions such as Leibniz’s notation for calculus (1686) and Gibbs’s vector analysis (1870s). It is remarkable how few the enhancements have been in the four hundred years since Viète. Observations like this are summarized in bits of folklore to the effect that a good notation is worth a whopping increment in IQ points. Except that the really good ones allow one to have thoughts that areimpossible without.


Folksonomies: cultural change technology intelligence augmentation

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/hobbies and interests/getting published/freelance writing (0.377021)

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Plato:Person (0.837078 (neutral:0.000000)), Viète:Company (0.485237 (positive:0.222977)), François Viète:City (0.451571 (positive:0.418405)), IA:StateOrCounty (0.441184 (positive:0.404022)), Einstein:Person (0.411521 (positive:0.728951)), A.N. Whitehead:Person (0.404572 (neutral:0.000000)), natural language:FieldTerminology (0.371150 (negative:-0.731393)), Aristotle:Person (0.358369 (neutral:0.000000)), four hundred years:Quantity (0.358369 (neutral:0.000000))

Gottfried Leibniz (0.939618): dbpedia | opencyc | yago
Mathematics (0.918064): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Writing (0.853711): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Linguistics (0.794126): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
20th century (0.785464): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Paper (0.773061): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Philosophy (0.764348): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Bertrand Russell (0.695695): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc | yago

 IA or AI?
Electronic/World Wide Web>Blog:  Emden, Maarten van (October 9, 2015), IA or AI?, A Programmer's Place, Retrieved on 2015-11-13
  • Source Material []
  • Folksonomies: artificial intelligence ai intelligence augmentation ia