Nirgal's Logs

Mind Wandering - Conscious Exploration - NetAlchemy - Cyber-Shamanism - Semantic Healing

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

From Cognitive Dissonance Detector to Mapping the Global Brain

Cognitive dissonance may be avoidable thanks to semantics tools.
The awareness of the knowledge of another self, and vice-versa may allow to detect such biases.

Imagine a learning system where you can tag each word and concept to express your understanding from low to high.
Learning through an interface builds a unique knowledge map for each individual in a semantic database.
Then, when individuals discuss certain matters, a speech-to-text interface inputs the words.
Each individual has like its smartphone connecting with others and comparing the knowledge trees to alarm in case of a possible cognitive dissonance when the called concepts are not similarly understood by each individual.
The software can then suggest concepts that can "fill the gap", or different approaches, meanings, to express the "conflictual" concept.
I depict a day-to-day scenario, but such software can also scan mails, chats, news...

So basically, comparing two individuals knowledges.
With an education system using such tool and scanning every word and concept written and read by its students...
The awareness and practial uses of such understanding of one's knowledge may open new ways to communicate and exchange knowledge as trackable data, ideas and concepts will have coordinates in space, time, and in the knowledge tree.

As hosts, servers, routers of this data, our species may start to look like a gigantic brain made of billions of active cells, carrying and processing bribes of data generated by zillions of brains over thousands of years.
The ability to track and map all this data flows, to computerize  so that we can manipulate, simulate, compare, program not only our knowledge, but also our flows of knowledge.

I digressed a bit, but i think such concept may have many other applications.


  1. Very nice post Nicolas! And how exciting the perspective of being able to understand ourselves and each other from wherever we come from, and develop semantic tools to do so. Lots of things come to mind.

    First, even before talking of dissonance and biases, we could acknowledge that there are differences. Differences in what is known and not known, differences in cognitive processing, and differences in world views. These differences indeed cause people to experience fear and threat and stress or anger facing the 'other', and as a result denial or conflictual attitudes in front of unusual situations, ideas or people. This phenomenon is also reinforced by the fact that we can't always assess these differences, assess what we know and don't know and how much we understand.

    There's a very interesting graph of phases and features of transition cycles in transition psychology that shows the stages people go through when faced with situations that threaten 'business as usual', here applied to personal events, it can be applied to many areas…

    When it comes to the known or unknown, or how much we may know about something, the Jahori window comes to mind.

    This approach puts a lot of focus on asking and telling for people to discover their own blind spots or walk each other through what they know and their cognitive preferences. Something that is found also in 'appreciative inquiry', 'action research' or 'action science' or in Dave Snowden's 'Cynefin model' to put the ladder of inference that you refer to in your post to work with a minimum of cognitive bias.

    Then there's all the discovery of how people function in Myers Briggs types of cognitive preferences and various spiral dynamics or action logics that may be controversial when used to put people in boxes, but are quite useful as a means to understand preferences and differences.

    Combining self discovery with self exposure in shared discovery 'conversation' is what the tools we are working to develop would need to facilitate.

    I will try and elaborate a bit more on all this in a post :)

  2. hanks Helene, i love the way you formulate this and the stuff you shared !
    Looking forward to read more. ;)