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Machine versus Human Intelligence

Much work on search, retrieval and interpretation is caught between the Scylla of restrictive taxonomies and the Charybdis of the semantic web. Too much of IT practice is based on the assumption that the human brain is a "limited capacity information processing device" (A-Level psychology text book) and that language has a common structure and meaning.

Dave Snowden and Cognitive Edge use semi-constrained signifier sets, allowing humans to tell and index their own material within a loose structure. This work enables the pattern basis of human intelligence to be augmented by information processing power, without losing the insights that are essentially human in nature.

Messy Coherence

A key aspect of living with complexity; The point is that you can the structure which was there, depending on the degree of disintegration it may or may not still fulfil its original purpose Its sticky, you can be woven into its pattern or you can fly through the gaps. It has beauty even as it disintegrates, it cannot be rebuilt but has to be replaced with something that will in its turn fade.

The metaphor carries with it the concepts of transience, but is also of purpose and for a time solidity. Depending on the context they can last for days, months or even years before they have to be rebuilt. Its not the best metaphor for an organisation, but it is a good metaphor for thinking about degrees of coherence.

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