Focus, short-term memory and familiarity

As we live our lives, we gain experiences that are recorded in short-term memory and then transferred to our global search repository – our long term memory. Cognitive psychologists and neuroscientists are exploring these mechanisms.  I want to discuss an emulation framework that can be represented and improved in computers.

Hypothesis: We can represent our choices as rows and we can pre-consider the many contexts under which we might make choices.  I’d like to do this repeatedly in two dimensional tables.  That is one with rows and columns.  Such tables are often given labeling information in the first column and the first row, as shown at the top of this post.

The ‘table’  helps us to be more careful about context scope.  Many people may not consider changes in situation just as important as strategies and plans that they create, yet they should be tightly interwoven in the creation process.  Otherwise, we’ll devolve to same old situation, same option chosen.  The literature calls this satisficing.

This idea is in direct opposition to operations research and the field of decision theory which attempts to maximize gain even in only partially known situations.

Intuitively, considering more choices slows the decision process, but often lessens the likelihood of being surprised.  There are a number of day-to-day situations where re-thinking our past responses seems worthwhile.

To use a table alone, presupposes that all of the information for context and strategy selection are at the same ‘level.’  Often, there is a zooming in (examining more detail) and zooming out (checking why we are making the current decision that our brains do reasonably well.  But computers don’t.

So I will be describing how to build better computational brains – so we humans can perform better.



Finite, yet hopeful

I will be exploring numerous strategies to better human-computer symbiosis.  I am not attempting to generate artificial intelligence, but intelligent augmentation of humans.  Something that can leverage human minds by extending their senses, providing just in time information, monitoring an individual’s forecasting and preferred strategies using incoming real world data.  Even though I am not a psychologist, I recognize that much of what I will do will be addressing documented cognitive limitations.  So I will continue to read HealthyMemory’s blog as a source of new problems and decision making/transactional memory aid strategies.


Regardless of one’s philosophy, we recognize that humankind is finite in this expansive universe.  I will refer to prior thought leaders of a mostly western philosophical heritage inter-mixed with a Judeo-Christian perspective on classification, instantiation, and association.

I am greatly indebted to many hours of conversation with and Professor Emeritus Tom Kakovitch of the University of the District of Columbia, who discovered the fifth force in physics.