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Conceptual Engineering - tools that match how human minds work


(TR Amat) #1

Overview: This comes out of more than thirty years work on a secure, distributed, information handling system. Mixed in with this is bits from psychology, ergonomics and philosophy. It’s become clear that humans work with concepts, in fact a net of connected ones, and this is the approach taken in dealing with problems, and communicating new things. All this argues for tools that handle a net, or mesh-work, of concepts. There are also elements of how humans ‘model’ situations, and others (humans).

We have many information management tools, some of which are highly specialised in the areas they work in, but very few tools for managing concepts. This can be hard to think about, because you’re operating on a ‘meta’ (or maybe a meta-meta) level. There are things like ‘mind maps’, but these often seem to work better on paper, rather than as a computer application.

Considerable work has been done towards creating a ‘meta tool’ for what we’re calling here ‘conceptual engineering’. This has the potential to be used in a wide number of areas, including adaptive user-interface development, secure storage of (personal) data, and even things like role-playing games!

There would seem to be considerable potential in developing and using such a tool to develop ideas about, and to create, a ‘better future’, or, at least the tools which might lead to such. As always, the question is: are you willing to spare some attention for this?


(Michael Hrenka) #2

This reminds me of a TED talk about an analysis method that uses an algorithm that analyses paths in a “semantic space of words” within a text:

Representing how humans actually model something sounds like a very ambitious task. I guess a neuroscience approach might reveal a lot about how humans actually think.

Yes, and I really wonder what reasons are responsible for that. It would be more natural to assume that mind maps work better with dedicated software than “by hand”.

This sounds interesting. How does that “meta tool” work, and how is it connected to the various different applications you are mentioning here?

Yes, in principle. There are some very interesting tools out there that might already do almost exactly that what you want, but many of those tools are hardly known or used.


(Shalin Siriwaradhana) #3

Mind maps works better in a computer application when the diagram is drawn collaboratively. For an example if a team (marketing/Design/Development) is collaboratively developing a concept or a product they can contribute to a single mind map. This way various ideas are generated. That is because mins maps are a great tool for brainstorming. You can check these mind map templates that was worked on few ideas that I mentioned above.