Welcome to the Intelligence Augmentation Newsletter.
Figure 1 Mindmap of topics included in version 2 of the intelligence augmentation newsletter
Why Intelligence Augmentation?
I recognize that intelligence augmentation sounds technical and might conjure up thoughts of brain surgery, the Borg, or robots. Why did I pick this awkward terminology? I wanted to put the emphasis first on intelligence in all its various forms mentioned in the previous version of this newsletter. This is in contrast to the widely publicized discussions about artificial intelligence futures which narrowly focus on a specific implementation of machine intelligence to the exclusion of alternative and complementary types of intelligence. Augmentation appeals to my engineering perspective that it is possible to develop intelligence and enhance it through both technical and non-technical means. The growth mindset (mentioned in last month’s newsletter) suggests that we can develop all forms of intelligence. This broader view of intelligence might also be crucial if we ever discover other types of intelligence in the universe.
Figure 2 Venn Diagram of Different Sources of Intelligence Including Animals.
Intelligence augmentation combines myriad sources and types of intelligence in many different combinations. All the different sources of intelligence in total could be considered universal intelligence. For example, I think animal intelligence is often overlooked because we consider it inferior to human intelligence but that is not the point. Intelligence augmentation reframes the perspective from competition to consider animal intelligence as a specialized type of intelligence that could complement and enhance human intelligence. For example, animals can process input from senses like smell to achieve results beyond what is possible by humans alone. I would be interested in hearing about any examples you have on how animal intelligence can augment human intelligence. We could add alien intelligence to the model when the first contact is made.
Call of the Wild
Speaking of animal intelligence, one of my favorite books from my youth was “Call of the Wild”. The point of view comes from the lead character which is a dog. The movie version with Harrison Ford was released February 21, 2020. I haven’t seen the movie yet myself but based on the book I expect it to be very good.
Kwik Limitless Venn Diagram
By coincidence I recently created another venn diagram for a book by Jim Kwik called “Limitless” that is being published April 28, 2020. (In the queue are many more venn diagrams).
Figure 3 Mindset + Motivation + Methods = Limitless
The concept of the book is that you can reach your potential by combining mindset, motivation, and methods. When you combine mindset and motivation, you have inspiration (heart). Motivation and methods are implementations (hands). Methods and mindset provide ideation (head). When you combine all three to the max you can be limitless.
I first met Jim Kwik at a March 2015 Brendon Burchard 3 day High Performance Academy in San Diego where Jim was a guest speaker. (Independent review of HPA) At the time Jim focussed on memory augmentation and speed reading. After 30 years of consulting, he is now publishing his first book, which he describes as 3 books in one on how mindset, motivation, and methods combined make you limitless. I consider this a form of human intelligence augmentation.
Toastmaster Love Theme
This month I was the Toastmaster emcee at my local Orléans Raconteurs club and the theme I chose was Love. There is too much polarization and hate in the world. Nobody wins if we respond by hating back. We need to talk more about what we love. It is important to recognize what we have in common, what is good, and encourage both. I like a quote often attributed to Mahatma Gandhi:
“ Be the change you wish to see in the world”
This quote suggests two things:
- starting on yourself before trying to influence others.
- The best way to influence others is to be a role model.
This is something Stephen Covey emphasized in his distinction of the difference between the circle of influence vs the circle of concern. We shouldn’t underestimate the potential impact of even a small amount of influence, but being distracted by concerns that we aren’t able or willing to effect results in stressful distractions.
Actually, some fact checking by the aptly named Professor Buzzkill has shown that the “Be the change you wish to see in the world” is incorrectly attributed to Gandhi.
Excerpt from Professor Buzzkill’s blog:
The earliest instance of this quote comes from 1970, and its author was a school teacher in Brooklyn named Arleen Lorrance. Ms. Lorrance taught at Thomas Jefferson High School, which was going through difficult times in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Local poverty and violence were having very negative effects on the school and the students there. Ms. Lorrance started something called The Love Project as a way to improve the lives and education of the students at Thomas Jefferson High. The idea was that, if kids growing up in a rough neighborhood had an oasis of calm and acceptance at the school, it would improve their lives as well as their learning, and they would bring these positive benefits out into the community every day when they left school.
The concept of “be the change you wish to see in the world,” began in a report about The Love Project written by Ms. Lorrance, and published in an education reform text. The first two sentences of her report were, “One way to start a preventative program is to be the change you wish to see happen. That is the essence and substance of the simple and successful endeavor of The Love Project.”
According to school reports and newspaper articles from the time, The Love Project was a great success at Thomas Jefferson and the school was transformed in a very positive way for the rest of the 1970s. So we have Ms. Lorrance to thank both for the concept of “be the change you wish to see…” as well as the practical and immediate effects it had in Brooklyn.
And that leads me to my final thought here. You know, Buzzkillers, that we admire Gandhi very much here at the Institute, both as a thinker and as a leader. But when it comes to a true story that’ll put a smile on my face and make me think about a visionary putting positive change into practice, give me that Brooklyn high school teacher every time.
I couldn’t agree more with Professor Buzzkill that the truth is better than fiction and the thought is more important than whether a famous person said it.
Another one of my favourite quotes about change, is also often mis-attributed to Gandhi:
“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win”
That famous quote often mis-attributed to Gandhi, especially by politicians, was investigated by one of the original fact checking sites snopes.com. They determined that the closest source of a similar quote was in a speech by union leader Nicholas Klein in 1914.
Follow the Money
On a side note, I lament the current state of the snopes site which is now heavily sprinkled with ads. In an effort to be transparent and reduce potential bias these type of sites are trying to rely on broadly based donations. One clue to a potential source of bias is if the majority of funding comes from a single source. Wikipedia has been somewhat successfully able to maintain the standards of being a non-profit without advertising but the presence of excessive ads on snopes shows their funding struggles which compromises to some extent their independence and to a great extent the design and focus of the site. If this matters to you, you might want to consider a small donation to help them to provide their service without charges or having to rely on advertising. That organizations can be successfully supported by small broadly based donations has been identified as a critical success factor for ethical public services and government.
For example, Lawrence Lessig has written several books and has been influential in a campaign (American Anti-Corruption Act) related to this topic in an attempt to eliminate US government corruption due to campaign financing by lobbyists. Kickstarter and similar initiatives have allowed startups to introduce products by small donations from potential customers instead of the normal venture capital funding.
In the Queue
Fact Checking Services
There is a lot of misinformation being circulated (not just in quotes), especially on social networks, so what services are available to separate facts from lies is something we all need to know to make intelligent decisions.
What do I Want, What Do You Want, What Do We Want, and Why does it Matter?
These might be the most important questions of all if we are to progress towards happiness and well being.
I am hoping this could be the start of a long and mutually beneficial relationship. Perhaps it can even grow into your membership in a lifelong learning community of personal and/or business development to thrive in our rapidly evolving brave new world.
I will be publishing updates at least once a month on what I am thinking, seeing, and doing. I would also like to hear back from you so we can establish a dialogue.
Which topics are most useful to you? Which other topics related to intelligence would you prefer?
What suggestions do you have for improvement?
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