|November 21, 1999|
03 00050 61 99112101
Department of Classics
University of Natal
King George V Avenue
DURBAN, South Africa 4041
|Subject:||Improving Alphabet Technology|
Thanks very much for your letter on November 16, 1999, responding to my inquiry about your web page on the alphabet, and asking how you can help.
Over the past 15 years or so, I have developed POIMS technology that advances the power of the alphabet for leveraging human acuity. The technology evolved to explain a software program I developed called the Schedule Diary System (SDS). Traditional use of the alphabet evolved rules of grammar, punctuation and text assembled in letters, memos, reports, articles and books. Unlike conventional wordprocessing that aids traditional use of the alphabet, POIMS supports a continual knowledge stream organized by chronology and subjects, that more closely reflects human intelligence processes. Whereas, the alphabet ushered in a new power of analysis that changed modes of human thought from orality to literacy, intelligence improves organization, alignment, analysis, summary connected to detail and feedback. This requires an extended set of rules and functions for using the alphabet to integrate time and information, as reflected by the schedule and diary elements of SDS that manages past, present and future in a single process.
As with the alphabet beginning about 700 BC or so, it will take time for this new method to be absorbed by existing culture. For one thing, exposing the light of human intelligence brings to the conscious span of attention a lot of details and complexity which normally are hidden in the subconscious mind. Understandably, busy people hard at work are initially shocked and dismayed upon seeing for the first time the complexity they face. Andy Grove, Chairman of Intel Corporation, points out that executives are unable and unwilling to recognize the magnitude of the problems they face. Like the ancients, they want to expedite using oral communication, because it seems fast and easy. People are not aware that orality accelerates meaning drift, which causes mistakes, crisis, loss and conflict; but, that gaining skill with the tools of POIMS technology brings added power to manage the complexity of daily details in life and work. This rests on the proposition that gaining control of lower levels of organic structure yields exponentially increased power.
Therefore, like the alphabet, transitioning to a new method of knowledge work initially requires a new type of scribe, i.e., a new class of people trained with new skills to apply them for a group, such as a department, project, etc. Today, the Internet distributes information efficiently. However, generating useful intelligence, requires tools to implement POIMS technology, and the skills to apply them. This requires creating a new academic discipline in the same way that architects, accountants, software engineers, doctors and all the rest have been added to the departments of universities.
This would be a composite course that covers communication, history, cognitive science and technology. I have called this prospective skill or discipline, Communication Metrics, to signify adding structure to language, similar to cost and schedule control in the business world. Since communication is the predicate to action, adding metrics to this activity has a much bigger impact on success than do traditional management science methods.
Your work in the classics contributes historical context to the evolution of knowledge tools and human modes of thought. I argue that POIMS lifts the capacity to think, remember and communicate, similar to first speech, language, poetry and then the alphabet, noted by Havelock as the complete solution to a problem in an earlier time, which has never required further improvement. Precisely because Havelock correctly explained the situation that has existed for 2,000 years, it is difficult for people to grasp that it is even possible to apply the alphabet in a fundamentally different manner to generate intelligence, rather than mere information. People are becoming aware that technology applying traditional alphabet technology needs a solution for a new problem: information overload. Yet, like Prometheus, initially people tend to banish the light giver. So there is a lot of work to do explaining and demonstrating that technology can improve use of the alphabet to leverage human cognition in growing new knowledge.
I have applied for a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to help develop the commercial market for SDS which implements POIMS. Whether or not NSF makes an award, it is essential to bring POIMS into the conversation at universities, as an advance in knowledge methodology. To illustrate, I recently commented on a paper by a friend's son in high school. You should be able to recognize a significant leap in the power of this method for learning in the classroom, and for decision making in the board rooms and meetings of the corporate world and government. Our friends in technology speak of a virtual office, a repository of knowledge, business intelligence, knowledge management, enterprise management, and so on, yet really have no inkling of how to accomplish these lofty aims, or even what they mean. They have lost their way because it has been so long ago that our culture busied itself with creating tools to enhance human cognition, which is the fundamental job of the alphabet. Accordingly, your work in classical studies can help us work through the painful transition from the apogee of the information age, to a new beginning in the knowledge revolution.
To conclude, please review POIMS, and the record on November 8 analysing Hutch's paper on Prometheus. Let me know if you see the potential for a new model of literacy to generate intelligence, rather than mere information.A caution! On the first read, do not follow any links, and if you do, do not read more than a paragraph or two before returning to the prior level, otherwise people tend to get lost in the links, which in fact reflect the near infinite connections of the human mind. Additionally, encourage students to explain POIMS based on interacting with the record and reviewing my paper on the New World Order Needs Old Time Religion.
Thanks again for asking what you can do to help. Moving civilization forward is a big job. Maybe more than you anticipated in asking how you can help. I appreciate your interest.