May 29, 2020

Our approach to augmenting intelligence

* key ideas, outlining the joint position of Pion Medvedeva and Danila Medvedev as of May 2020

Russian version:

0. Why augment our intelligence?

1. To solve global problems that are already known:

    • Climate
    • Poverty
    • Diseases
    • Wars
    • Death

2. To learn to live better by correcting problems in human activity:

    • Non-cooperative behaviour
    • Suboptimal problem solving
    • Incorrect recognition of tasks and selection of solutions

3. To solve future global problems that we don't know about yet.

The following is a guide to assessing the current state of your intelligence. It is still a draft, later, once we finish it, we will produce a user-friendly interactive version. But you can already use this version!

1. What is intelligence?

Intelligence is something (in people, computers and their groups) that is responsible for solving new problems. How much you can (1) come up with a solution, and (2) actually solve a problem that is different from the problems you have encountered before, so strong is your intelligence.

It should be noted that much of your intelligence is genetically determined, and not all of it develops easily and painlessly. All we can suggest here is the use of workarounds, such as exocortex.

Basic operations to be able to do with hybrid human-machine intelligence

  • Define the purpose of each specific thought action - goal setting
    • Good: you granularly reflect on what you're doing.
    • Bad: you often don't understand what you're doing and why.
      • Prescription: to dream half an hour a week.
      • Recipe: log life
      • Prescription: write a diary
  • Forgetting, throwing out unnecessary details, leaving only necessary ones - abstraction
    • Good: you can easily explain on your fingers the essence of what you think, throwing out insignificant details and people understand you.
    • Bad: When you try to explain something abstractly, people do not understand you at all.
      • Recipe: Ground. Always understand what piece of reality you mean or can mean.
      • Attention! You need other people or a coach to recognize
  • To check that the selected concepts and structures correspond to reality is to understand what you mean.
    • Good: you always know what you're talking about. Sometimes, when you listen to blurry speeches, you have a sense of "sticky swamp" or "rattle"...
    • Bad: You often talk blurry and you're OK with it. You don't understand what you're talking about has to do with a particular physical reality, or how.
      • Recipe: ground, give examples
      • Attention! You need other people or a coach to recognize
  • Compare thinking moves with other thinking moves to determine how well they produce the right result. For example, to check the reasoning for compliance with some canonical sample.
    • Good: you can check the reasoning for correctness, as well as highlight a pattern to say that two reasonings are made on the same scheme
    • Bad: you don't understand how to do what's described in "good".
      • Prescription: to study formal logic
      • Attention! You need other people or a coach to recognize
  • To reflexive your own thought operations
    • Good: you can name a dozen cognitive strategies that you use.
    • Bad: You don't know what kind of beast "cognitive strategy."
      • Recipe: Read more in the section "Solving problems".
  • Predict
    • Good: you know how to formulate beliefs about the world in the form of predictions.
    • Bad: you don't find yourself in the habit of thinking about the future and trying to predict the coming of certain events.
      • Prescription: read the course materials on ontology (free on or take the full course (for a fee)
  • Operate on structures (see Engelbart Conceptual Framework:
    • Unconsciously operate with mental structures (included in the basic delivery package, does not require activation)
    • Consciously operate on concept structures
      • Good: you know how to single out concepts, connect concepts, construct more complex concepts from the simple ones, make judgments about concepts, move on system levels. You can create concepts from other concepts, build hierarchies like ontologies, and use them. You know what mental models are (frameworks and patterns), you know how to use them consciously. You can accept other people's concept structures in order to adapt to your interlocutor.
      • Bad: your reasoning is fuzzy, connections are associative, narrative dominates, concept stamps. The use of concepts is unconscious.
        • Prescription: to study systemic thinking
        • Prescription: take a course in ontology.
        • Recipe: to train some logic, to solve problems about syllogisms.
    • Operate with all kinds of symbolic structures
      • Good: you have the skills of structured writing, the basics of visual literacy, you know how to use schemes, charts, graphs, tables and other symbolic structures. You are able to visualize concept structures from your head to external media. You know how to use computer thinking tools (editors, outliners, concept maps, databases and summary tables/BI) and you can easily master new tools.
      • Bad: You do not practice what is described as "good" and are not confident in your abilities, or you do not know how to do it well. You use a limited set of computer tools (Word, Excel, mindmap).
        • Prescription: read a textbook on visual thinking.
        • Prescription: Practice using concept maps, argument maps and other similar tools (not minmaps).
    • Use exocortex, i.e. physical tools to operate symbolic structures (contact the nearest neurocentre to connect and activate the exocortex)
    • Operate with the structure of your thinking and activity process
      • Good: you are able to distinguish the stages of thinking and activity processes (your own and others'), are well aware of the stage at which you are at each moment, can structure the processes in different ways. You can describe (symbolically) the structure of processes, including complex ones. You can restructure and optimize your thinking and activity processes depending on your goals, available resources, external events, etc. You can easily follow complex algorithms of thinking and activity obtained from outside. You are not confused by multilevel nesting in process structures (meta).
      • Bad: you think and act unconsciously, get confused in other people's algorithms, cannot describe the real or desirable algorithm of your actions or thinking.
        • Prescription: ask the coach

Levels of intellectual development (by F. Chalais)

Take the domains in which you are doing something, and decide for each of them individually what level you have. Then pull your intelligence up to learn how to set and solve more and more complex problems, because this is the only way you can finally solve the complex world problems that were discussed above in this document.

Levels, read from the bottom up, that is, from the top is the best:

  • I can set and solve any problem on a global scale...
    • You set yourself a task: you want people not to conflict and live together. How do you solve it - I do not know and it is not in this document, but somehow you solve :).
  • I can solve a previously unknown problem in an unknown domain...
    • For example, your skills in writing contracts you were able to apply to conflict resolution - you roughly translated from your past practice that people somehow agreed on something, and then someone did something unexpected. You don't apply the knowledge itself, but rather patterns of how people make agreements, and, for example, what happens if you break them.
      Maybe you've read in the agreements that you've seen before that people compensate each other for all kinds of losses if they break the agreement, and you can apply this knowledge in the neighboring area - in conflict resolution.
  • I can solve a new problem in a familiar domain...
    • For example, you need to make a new contract with a new contractor. You have a rough idea of how to make contracts, and you do it based on your own task in the familiar domain.
  • I can deal with a well-defined task if I've solved very similar ones.
    • For example, if you were asked to check the contract at all - you already know how to check the details, but you have also started to check if the list of works is correct, if your name is correct and so on. Sometimes you can still read the terms of the contract and tell if you are satisfied with it.
  • I can only handle the tasks that I've been taught to do.
    • For example, if you were taught to check if the company details in the contract are correct - you know where to look, know what to look for, know how to determine success and failure, and what to do in both cases.

To develop intelligence, you need someone to throw tasks that will stimulate it.

Until a certain point it is done by the existing environment and specially trained people, but then you have to do it yourself. The development of intelligence is potentially infinite, and certainly not limited to the solution of known problems - to formulate some problems as solvable problems, perhaps so far, just no one had enough intelligence.

The tasks should be new to you: in their parts, the whole, in the formulation itself, and so on.

For this purpose, you should devote time not only to solving problems, but also to searching for them.

2. Useful concepts for setting up the practice of working on the intellect

(decomposition of intelligence as a set of skills and practices)

ABC - model

  • A. Activities around the world
  • B. Performance improvement
  • C. Better ways to improve

Focus and save time by optimizing strategies to achieve goals that are important to you, not everyone.

Plasts or skill levels that are worth developing

A failure at some level is usually caused by a deficit at a lower level.

Reading from the bottom to the top is the best:

  • The ability to build common mental models with humanity
    • Good: you have models that are obviously loose with a lot of people...
    • Bad: you don't know how to communicate and align your mental models with others'.
      • Prescription: join the OI community
  • Ability to cooperate between participants of different projects
    • Good: you have a mutually beneficial relationship with people from other projects, such as the professional community.
    • Bad: you have the feeling that someone else's success means your failure.
      • Recipe: Develop your growth orientation and also learn about game theory.
  • Possession and/or ability to learn a bunch of applied practices that your field needs
    • Good: you are competent in your field and make fewer professional mistakes than your colleagues.
    • Bad: you systematically misjudge your level of competence and do not achieve key skills. Your colleagues are working on it or remodeling it for you.
      • Prescription: make a picture of the competencies in your field, if necessary - ask your colleagues. Draw up a training plan and stick to it.
  • Ability to cooperate within the project
    • Good: you can work together, be part of an organization - including leadership.
    • Bad: Somehow the general work isn't going, the assignments are lost, the case isn't moving.
      • Prescription: familiarize yourself with the models of organizations from the disciplines of "system management" and "system leadership".
  • Ability to model reality and communicate models to other people, and correctly parse messages with other people's models
    • Good: you have little or no communication failures. You manage to defend your interests, understand and not hurt others without needing
    • Bad: you often have an unfounded conflict (then it turns out that it was a "misunderstanding") and/or are dissatisfied with how your interests in communication are realized.
      • Prescription: check out non-violent communication and/or see a psychologist.
  • Task management (including managing your self-training)
    • Good: you work at a constant productive rhythm, happy with your performance
    • Bad: you are not satisfied with your performance, tired, working too much or too little. Always no time and/or effort.
      • Recipe: familiarize yourself with business practices. We recommend books by David Allen, as well as our groups.
  • Attention management
    • Good: you can concentrate and distribute your attention as you like.
    • Bad: you get distracted, you don't do business, you don't spend a lot of time on the Internet.
      • Prescription: meditation, checklists, awareness practices, groups

Make the process of intellectual stimulation inseparable from your life.

  • Strategize, find the problem.
    • Good: you see alternative (counterfactual) worlds and scenarios, you see a tree of possible ways of developing the situation, you know how to choose between alternatives by different criteria. You can always imagine how to improve the situation.
    • Bad: you prefer the status quo, you lack imagination, you do not understand what can be different, you take the world for granted.
      • Prescription: Imagination training or a creative thinking curriculum (such as Creative Week)
  • When you find a problem, figure out why it happened.
    • Good: you are good at distinguishing causes and effects, do not confuse correlation and cause-and-effect relationships, know how to use the "5 why" method, draw cause-and-effect diagrams, know what an intervening variable (confounder) is, understand how a set of causes can cause a problem.
    • Bad: You have not specifically trained in working with cause-and-effect models. Most likely, you do not know how to deal with it well enough.
      • Prescription: at least a little immerse yourself in serious theory.
  • To formalize a problem.
    • Good: you know how to find and formulate a contradiction (on TRIZ), you can formulate the ideal end result.
    • Bad: you tend to fight symptoms or find too expensive solutions without understanding what the problem is.
      • Prescription: listen to the introduction to TRIZ (e.g. "Creative Week").
  • Look for a wide range of solutions
    • Good: you can name 50 applications for a paper clip or 20 ways to measure the height of a beacon with a barometer.
    • Bad: you stop at the first idea.
      • Prescription: read the basics of TRIZ and creativity ("Creative Week").
      • Prescription: to practice a structured process of finding solutions.
  • Rate each of them by criteria:
        • importance
        • how you do with it
        • how others will deal with it.
          and so on.
    • Good: you know the mathematical methods of optimization, you know what the minimax is, you can easily switch between alternative scenarios in your mind.
    • Bad: you get lost if you have to make a choice, try to take everything into account and try to avoid any losses.
      • Prescription: to read about cognitive distortions.
  • To calculate probabilities, to predict, to choose a solution.
    • Good: you know the tools of probability theory, know how to use the Bayesian formula, have heard about the real options method, you are familiar with the basics of project quantification methods, you can calculate NPV.
    • Bad: you don't know how to calculate probabilities and believe that an eagle is likely to fall out after a series of consecutive "tails" drops.
      • Recipe: take Bayesianism.
      • Prescription: take a micro-course in probability theory.
      • Prescription: to learn how to evaluate projects.
  • Plan the execution.
    • Good: you are able to develop quality plans at the strategic and tactical level, you are good at decomposing tasks, you are able to estimate the time and labor intensity of task performance, you are able to prescribe alternative scenarios for plan implementation.
    • Bad: you only focus on the next action that you choose intuitively.
      • Recipe: you learn the introductory course on management.
  • Collect resources
    • Good: you are always easy to find sources of resources, able to adapt existing resources to the task, you are comfortable to request resources and help from others.
    • Bad: You get lost if you are not provided with everything you need to solve the problem.
      • Prescription: ask the coach
  • Execute
    • Good: you have a good command of time management, know how to manage your motivation, effectively organize your workflow, including time boxing, task grouping, effective rest. You usually cope with the volume of work that was planned.
    • Bad: you suffer from prostration, or perfectionism. You're losing motivation and discipline.
      • Prescription: to work with Zareshay Bot.
      • Prescription: to establish a diet, rest, sleep, take care of themselves, perhaps talk to a therapist or coach.
  • Learn from mistakes
    • Good: you have mastered the "base loop" (PDCA-cycle) well, use checklists, regularly optimize processes, rarely repeat errors twice.
    • Bad: every problem situation for you is aural, you constantly extinguish fires, often the same. You feel that you don't have enough resources to do a good job (no time to sharpen the axe).
      • Prescription: Work on this problem with your coach or psychologist.

Some scales that you should diagnose and try to pump yourself up

  • Planning
    • Good: you regularly record or otherwise record your plans and execute them.
    • Bad: your plans are often unfeasible.
      • Prescription: find out what's in the way of planning; fix it. This usually concerns the ability to predict and the ability to estimate resources, but there are other things.
  • Execution of plans
    • Good: you've been working hard to achieve your goals regularly.
    • Bad: You're throwing halfway through.
      • Recipe: social support, possibly fixing the level of attention management
  • Awareness
    • Good: you understand what you are doing and why, and you can reflex your strategies.
    • Bad: You cannot reflex your strategies or often realize that you are rowing in the wrong place too late.
      • Prescription: groups at the end of the page
  • Agency
    • Good: you know what you want to do in life, and your goals are built from the level of small daily to the level of global (sometimes with a fog, but at least approximately in the direction fit).
    • Bad: you feel that your life is meaningless and you don't know what you want from it.
      • Prescription: groups at the end of the page
  • Estimates
    • Good: you can quantify such hard-to-define things as how you feel or how useful an outcome is to you. You can estimate the probabilities.
    • Bad: you cannot quantify complex things that are not quantized explicitly. You can't estimate the probabilities
      • Prescription: "How to Measure Anything" book by D. Hubbard
  • Communication
    • Good: you have little or no communication failures. You manage to defend your interests, understand and not hurt others without needing
    • Bad: you often have an unfounded conflict (then it turns out that it was a "misunderstanding") and/or are dissatisfied with how your interests in communication are realized.
      • Prescription: check out non-violent communication and/or see a psychologist.
  • Self-training
    • Good: you know how to understand what competence you lack, and develop it. You treat mistakes with self-support and research interest...
    • Bad: you think if you fail, it's a disaster. You don't take on things that you can't do perfectly. You have perfectionism and it makes you uncomfortable...
      • Recipe: Develop a growth mindset, join our groups.

3. What to start studying right now

Intelligence is multi-faceted, look at your intelligence from different angles, assess them, find out what can be improved.

In terms of basic thought operations...

  • Basic operations to be able to do with hybrid human-machine intelligence

By level of intellect development

  • Levels of intellectual development (F. Chalet)
    Take the domains in which you are doing something, and decide for each of them individually what level you have. Then pull your intelligence up to learn how to set and solve more and more complex problems, because this is the only way you can finally solve the complex world problems that were discussed earlier in this document.
  • Questions that will help you think about where you are about to be.
    • List the main areas in which you are doing something.
    • List the tasks that you're doing there.
      • How variable are they?
      • How often do you see new ones?
      • Does it happen that you set your own goals?
    • Has it ever happened that you have willingly changed a domain to a much larger one?
  • How do you pull your intellect up: diagnose yourself in other cuts, keep it in your head, reflexive your life goals.

In the ABC section.

  • Use the ABC framework by Doug Engelbart
  • A good resource ratio is 80:15:5. If it's different, think about fixing it, or ask your coach.

In the section of intellectual strata.

  • It is necessary to develop skills of higher strata

Errors at a certain level are usually caused by a deficit at a lower level.

In the context of a problem-solving

  • Make the process of intellectual stimulation inseparable from your life.

In the context of intelligence diagnostic scales.

  • Some scales that are definitely worth diagnosing and trying to pump yourself up

4. What we want to do, hopefully with your help

We are going to reach as many people as possible, so that intellectual skills training will eventually be available and then compulsory.

We are going to bring people together to solve global problems caused by lack of intellect.

5. How to join?

Come to the community if you share what we've written above. For this:

  • Diagnose yourself by your intelligence skills.
  • Present your strategies to the public
  • When you enter a chat room, write #intro and #au_int, let's talk!

Bring light to the masses - send this text to interested friends.

6. Our next steps

  1. To make sure that we recommend the best possible way to fill some of the gaps in the development of intelligence.
  2. To create training materials where they are not available or insufficient.
  3. To make these training materials as accessible as possible and disseminate them as widely as possible. Formats:
  4. To count all those interested in the topic at this early stage, to form a community, to define roles in it (the document is almost ready!) - to speed up the work. Please write to @pionmedvedeva or @danila_medvedev if you want to get involved.