Albert Einstein famously said: "Never memorize something you can look up."
Einstein was referring to facts like a phone number, but why memorize anything?
Can a computer save everything you would normally memorize and allow you to access it as fast as retrieving memories?
Traditional "Artificial Intelligence" focuses on creating neural networks and expert systems to allow computers to
store patterns of information so they can perform human-like tasks.
Why can't anyone have their own personal pattern database that saves:
- All the data you receive or create in your lifetime?
- Any pattern of Objects you ever observe?
A personal pattern database can function like as extension of your own visual memory patterns.
Since many of the patterns we need to remember involve digital information, a personal pattern database must
be able to store patterns of actual notes, bookmarks, emails, files and data.
If the ability to save and retrieve complex patterns of data is a measure of intelligence, then a person
with a well organized personal pattern database could have a nearly unlimited "artificial intelligence."
Creating a personal pattern database requires a complete change to how we approach
collecting, learning, navigating and managing the information we need over a lifetime.
A Lifetime of Data Patterns to Remember
Our information intensive world contains more patterns of data than any mind can possibly store.
Professionals in many fields are often expected to memorize:
- Mechanical, electrical, biological and information systems.
- Contracts, finances, organizations, schedules and requirements.
- Theories, data, patterns, rules, laws and exceptions.
...and then get up tomorrow and do it all again for 30+ years.
Associations that we observe between people, things, data and abstractions are temporarily stored as patterns of Objects in
our short-term memory.
Observed patterns are committed to long-term memory when we observe the pattern many times or realize the
pattern will be important to remember.
Many people just assume that if they do not remember a pattern, then it must not have been important.
Some people live in an "information bubble" in which they ignore any new pattern of data that contradicts
the patterns they have already observed.
All of this leads to the uncomfortable conclusion: "People remember less than one in a million
of the patterns they observe in a lifetime."
Managing vs Finding Patterns
A single forgotten connection can be critical.
Finding patterns requires collecting data Objects and Associations before you see the full pattern.
You learn to identify key patterns by developing judgment
and an eagerness to learn.
One approach to managing patterns is to search
the entire countryside for patterns.
Companies use large databases to find patterns in data stored
by billions of people.
Storing Personal Data
It seems like common sense to put key data where you can easily find it later.
Most information systems store data without regard to how it will be found later.
Pattern Management requires that you:
- Save key data and Associations.
- Associate key Objects to help find them.
Files, Data & Links
Most people end up creating their own "personal database" by manually cobbling together a set of
on-line services, local databases, local computer files and paper documents.
Personal data stored in on-line services can be modified, moved, shared, deleted, blocked and sold at the
discretion of an on-line service provider.
A terabyte of solid state drive storage now costs well under $100, so you can easily store any data
you might need for a lifetime at very little cost.
A database server can run transparently in the background of a tablet computer and draw patterns of Objects
faster than a human can retrieve the same data pattern from their own memory.
Creating and maintaining a personal database is a life long commitment and the earlier you start the more data
you will have access to later in life.
Manage Stored Patterns
Most information systems only support linear narrative and hierarchy as the primary patterns for organizing information.
The human mind uses millions of much more complex visual pattern management techniques than just these two.
Everyone uses visual patterns at a subconscious level to remember patterns of Objects. One measure of human intelligence is
the ability to consciously store and manage memorized patterns.
Some of the most basic skills for memorized patterns are the ability to:
- Edit or delete Objects from an existing memorized pattern.
- Associate memorized patterns to new Objects and associate new Objects to memorized patterns.
- Memorize a pattern of Objects from the elements described in a linear narrative.
- Sort memorized Objects in a hierarchy and add new Objects to the sorted hierarchy.
Imagine trying to:
- Undo memorizing an Object, Association or entire pattern.
- Filter and sort a memorized Objects by a new more complex set of criteria.
- Recite a linear narrative of memorized Objects forward or backward starting from any point.
- Navigate every Object you know by visualizing its Associations to other Objects.
Experts in a specific fields can achieve these and many other pattern management mental skills given extensive practice
and mental discipline.
Pattern databases manage this large volume of small patterns of data so that
people can focus on managing the larger more important patterns.