"Every perception is to some degree an act of creation, and every act of memory is to some degree an act of imagination."

-- Gerald Edelman, Second Nature: Brain Science and Human Knowledge
1 Isn't this what the tech industry does? Isn't there a lot of ongoing progress on tools for thought?Why not work on artificial general intelligence (AGI) or brain-computer interfaces (BCI) instead?Isn't this what the tech industry does? Isn't there a lot of ongoing progress on tools for thought?How can we develop transformative tools for thought?2020-10-18JournalBut consider our most fundamental tools for thought – language, writing, music, etc. Those are public goods. No-one owns language; to the extent that it is owned (trademarks and so on) it may actually limit the utility of language. These tools are all about introducing fundamental new mental representations and mental operations. Those aren't owned by any company, they're patterns owned by humanity. This argument makes it seem likely that many of the most fundamental and powerful tools for thought do suffer the public goods problem. And that means tech companies focus elsewhere; it means many imaginative and ambitious people decide to focus elsewhere; it means we haven't developed the powerful practices needed to do work in the area, and a result the field is still in a pre-disciplinary stage. The result, ultimately, is that it means the most fundamental and powerful tools for thought are undersupplied. Continue reading…