Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework

SRI Summary Report AFOSR-3223
By Douglas C. Engelbart
October 1962Prepared for: Director of Information Sciences, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Washington DC, Contract AF 49(638)-1024 • SRI Project No. 3578 (AUGMENT,3906,)
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See also our
Field Guide to 'Augmenting Human Intellect'0

I. INTRODUCTION1

A. GENERAL1a

By "augmenting human intellect" we mean increasing the capability of a man to approach a complex problem situation, to gain comprehension to suit his particular needs, and to derive solutions to problems. Increased capability in this respect is taken to mean a mixture of the following: more-rapid comprehension, better comprehension, the possibility of gaining a useful degree of comprehension in a situation that previously was too complex, speedier solutions, better solutions, and the possibility of finding solutions to problems that before seemed insoluble. And by "complex situations" we include the professional problems of diplomats, executives, social scientists, life scientists, physical scientists, attorneys, designers—whether the problem situation exists for twenty minutes or twenty years. We do not speak of isolated clever tricks that help in particular situations. We refer to a way of life in an integrated domain where hunches, cut-and-try, intangibles, and the human "feel for a situation" usefully co-exist with powerful concepts, streamlined terminology and notation, sophisticated methods, and high-powered electronic aids.1a1
Man's population and gross product are increasing at a considerable rate, but the complexity of his problems grows still faster, and the urgency with which solutions must be found becomes steadily greater in response to the increased rate of activity and the increasingly global nature of that activity. Augmenting man's intellect, in the sense defined above, would warrant full pursuit by an enlightened society if there could be shown a reasonable approach and some plausible benefits.1a2
This report covers the first phase of a program aimed at developing means to augment the human intellect. These "means" can include many things—all of which appear to be but extensions of means developed and used in the past to help man apply his native sensory, mental, and motor capabilities—and we consider the whole system of a human and his augmentation means as a proper field of search for practical possibilities. It is a very important system to our society, and like most systems its performance can best be improved by considering the whole as a set of interacting components rather than by considering the components in isolation.1a3
This kind of system approach to human intellectual effectiveness does not find a ready-made conceptual framework such as exists for established disciplines. Before a research program can be designed to pursue such an approach intelligently, so that practical benefits might be derived within a reasonable time while also producing results of longrange significance, a conceptual framework must be searched out—a framework that provides orientation as to the important factors of the system, the relationships among these factors, the types of change among the system factors that offer likely improvements in performance, and the sort of research goals and methodology that seem promising.*1*1a4
In the first (search) phase of our program we have developed a conceptual framework that seems satisfactory for the current needs of designing a research phase. Section II contains the essence of this framework as derived from several different ways of looking at the system made up of a human and his intellect-augmentation means.1a5
The process of developing this conceptual framework brought out a number of significant realizations: that the intellectual effectiveness exercised today by a given human has little likelihood of being intelligence limited—that there are dozens of disciplines in engineering, mathematics, and the social, life, and physical sciences that can contribute improvements to the system of intellect-augmentation means; that any one such improvement can be expected to trigger a chain of coordinating improvements; that until every one of these disciplines comes to a standstill and we have exhausted all the improvement possibilities we could glean from it, we can expect to continue to develop improvements in this human-intellect system; that there is no particular reason not to expect gains in personal intellectual effectiveness from a concerted system-oriented approach that compare to those made in personal geographic mobility since horseback and sailboat days.1a6
The picture of how one can view the possibilities for a systematic approach to increasing human intellectual effectiveness, as put forth in Section II in the sober and general terms of an initial basic analysis, does not seem to convey all of the richness and promise that was stimulated by the development of that picture. Consequently, Section III is intended to present some definite images that illustrate meaningful possibilities deriveable from the conceptual framework presented in Section II—and in a rather marked deviation from ordinary technical writing, a good portion of Section III presents these images in a fiction-dialogue style as a mechanism for transmitting a feeling for the richness and promise of the possibilities in one region of the improvement space" that is roughly mapped in Section II.1a7
The style of Section III seems to make for easier reading. If Section II begins to seem unrewardingly difficult, the reader may find it helpful to skip from Section II-B directly to Section III. If it serves its purpose well enough, Section III will provide a context within which the reader can go back and finish Section II with less effort.1a8
In Section IV (Research Recommendations) we present a general strategy for pursuing research toward increasing human intellectual effectiveness. This strategy evolved directly from the concepts presented in Sections II and III; one of its important precepts is to pursue the quickest gains first, and use the increased intellectual effectiveness thus derived to help pursue successive gains. We see the quickest gains emerging from (1) giving the human the minute-by-minute services of a digital computer equipped with computer-driven cathode-ray-tube display, and (2) developing the new methods of thinking and working that allow the human to capitalize upon the computer's help. By this same strategy, we recommend that an initial research effort develop a prototype system of this sort aimed at increasing human effectiveness in the task of computer programming.1a9
To give the reader an initial orientation about what sort of thing this computer-aided working system might be, we include below a short description of a possible system of this sort. This illustrative example is not to be considered a description of the actual system that will emerge from the program. It is given only to show the general direction of the work, and is clothed in fiction only to make it easier to visualize.1a10
Let us consider an augmented architect at work. He sits at a working station that has a visual display screen some three feet on a side; this is his working surface, and is controlled by a computer (his "clerk") with which he can communicate by means of a small keyboard and various other devices.1a11
He is designing a building. He has already dreamed up several basic layouts and structural forms, and is trying them out on the screen. The surveying data for the layout he is working on now have already been entered, and he has just coaxed the clerk to show him a perspective view of the steep hillside building site with the roadway above, symbolic representations of the various trees that are to remain on the lot, and the service tie points for the different utilities. The view occupies the left two-thirds of the screen. With a "pointer," he indicates two points of interest, moves his left hand rapidly over the keyboard, and the distance and elevation between the points indicated appear on the right-hand third of the screen.1a12
Now he enters a reference line with his pointer, and the keyboard. Gradually the screen begins to show the work he is doing—a neat excavation appears in the hillside) revises itself slightly, and revises itself again. After a moment, the architect changes the scene on the screen to an overhead plan view of the site, still showing the excavation. A few minutes of study, and he enters on the keyboard a list of items, checking each one as it appears on the screen, to be studied later.1a13
Ignoring the representation on the display, the architect next begins to enter a series of specifications and data—a six-inch slab floor, twelve-inch concrete walls eight feet high within the excavation, and so on. When he has finished, the revised scene appears on the screen. A structure is taking shape. He examines it, adjusts it, pauses long enough to ask for handbook or catalog information from the clerk at various points, and readjusts accordingly. He often recalls from the "clerk" his working lists of specifications and considerations to refer to them, modify them, or add to them. These lists grow into an evermore-detailed, interlinked structure, which represents the maturing thought behind the actual design.1a14
Prescribing different planes here and there, curved surfaces occasionally, and moving the whole structure about five feet, he finally has the rough external form of the building balanced nicely with the setting and he is assured that this form is basically compatible with the materials to be used as well as with the function of the building.1a15
Now he begins to enter detailed information about the interior. Here the capability of the clerk to show him any view he wants to examine (a slice of the interior, or how the structure would look from the roadway above) is important. He enters particular fixture designs, and examines them in a particular room. He checks to make sure that sun glare from the windows will not blind a driver on the roadway, and the "clerk" computes the information that one window will reflect strongly onto the roadway between 6 and 6:30 on midsummer mornings.1a16
Next he begins a functional analysis. He has a list of the people who will occupy this building, and the daily sequences of their activities. The "clerk" allows him to follow each in turn, examining how doors swing, where special lighting might be needed. Finally he has the "clerk" combine all of these sequences of activity to indicate spots where traffic is heavy in the building, or where congestion might occur, and to determine what the severest drain on the utilities is likely to be.1a17
All of this information (the building design and its associated "thought structure") can be stored on a tape to represent the design manual for the building. Loading this tape into his own clerk, another architect, a builder, or the client can maneuver within this design manual to pursue whatever details or insights are of interest to him—and can append special notes that are integrated into the design manual for his own or someone else's later benefit.1a18
In such a future working relationship between human problem-solver and computer 'clerk,' the capability of the computer for executing mathematical processes would be used whenever it was needed. However, the computer has many other capabilities for manipulating and displaying information that can be of significant benefit to the human in nonmathematical processes of planning, organizing, studying, etc. Every person who does his thinking with symbolized concepts (whether in the form of the English language, pictographs, formal logic, or mathematics) should be able to benefit significantly.1a19

B. OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY1b

The objective of this study is to develop a conceptual framework within which could grow a coordinated research and development program whose goals would be the following: (1) to find the factors that limit the effectiveness of the individual's basic information-handling capabilities in meeting the various needs of society for problem solving in its most general sense; and (2) to develop new techniques, procedures, and systems that will better match these basic capabilities to the needs' problems, and progress of society. We have placed the following specifications on this framework:1b1
That it provide perspective for both long-range basic research and research that will yield practical results soon.1b1a
That it indicate what this augmentation will actually involve in the way of changes in working environment, in thinking, in skills, and in methods of working.1b1b
That it be a basis for evaluating the possible relevance of work and knowledge from existing fields and for assimilating whatever is relevant.1b1c
That it reveal areas where research is possible and ways to assess the research, be a basis for choosing starting points, and indicate how to develop appropriate methodologies for the needed research.1b1d
Two points need emphasis here. First, although a conceptual framework has been constructed, it is still rudimentary. Further search, and actual research, are needed for the evolution of the framework. Second, even if our conceptual framework did provide an accurate and complete basic analysis of the system from which stems a human's intellectual effectiveness, the explicit nature of future improved systems would be highly affected by (expected) changes in our technology or in our understanding of the human being.1b2

II. CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK2

A. GENERAL2a

The conceptual framework we seek must orient us toward the real possibilities and problems associated with using modern technology to give direct aid to an individual in comprehending complex situations, isolating the significant factors, and solving problems. To gain this orientation, we examine how individuals achieve their present level of effectiveness, and expect that this examination will reveal possibilities for improvement.2a1
The entire effect of an individual on the world stems essentially from what he can transmit to the world through his limited motor channels. This in turn is based on information received from the outside world through limited sensory channels; on information, drives, and needs generated within him; and on his processing of that information. His processing is of two kinds: that which he is generally conscious of (recognizing patterns, remembering, visualizing, abstracting, deducing, inducing, etc.), and that involving the unconscious processing and mediating of received and self-generated information, and the unconscious mediating of conscious processing itself.2a2
The individual does not use this information and this processing to grapple directly with the sort of complex situation in which we seek to give him help. He uses his innate capabilities in a rather more indirect fashion, since the situation is generally too complex to yield directly to his motor actions, and always too complex to yield comprehensions and solutions from direct sensory inspection and use of basic cognitive capabilities. For instance, an aborigine who possesses all of our basic sensory-mental-motor capabilities, but does not possess our background of indirect knowledge and procedure, cannot organize the proper direct actions necessary to drive a car through traffic, request a book from the library, call a committee meeting to discuss a tentative plan, call someone on the telephone, or compose a letter on the typewriter.2a3
Our culture has evolved means for us to organize the little things we can do with our basic capabilities so that we can derive comprehension from truly complex situations, and accomplish the processes of deriving and implementing problem solutions. The ways in which human capabilities are thus extended are here called augmentation means, and we define four basic classes of them:2a4
Artifacts—physical objects designed to provide for human comfort, for the manipulation of things or materials, and for the manipulation of symbols.2a4a
Language—the way in which the individual parcels out the picture of his world into the concepts that his mind uses to model that world, and the symbols that he attaches to those concepts and uses in consciously manipulating the concepts ("thinking").2a4b
Methodology—the methods, procedures, strategies, etc., with which an individual organizes his goal-centered (problem-solving) activity.2a4c
Training—the conditioning needed by the human being to bring his skills in using Means 1, 2, and 3 to the point where they are operationally effective.2a4d
The system we want to improve can thus be visualized as a trained human being together with his artifacts, language, and methodology. The explicit new system we contemplate will involve as artifacts computers, and computer-controlled information-storage, information-handling, and information-display devices. The aspects of the conceptual framework that are discussed here are primarily those relating to the human being's ability to make significant use of such equipment in an integrated system.2a5
Pervading all of the augmentation means is a particular structure or organization. While an untrained aborigine cannot drive a car through traffic, because he cannot leap the gap between his cultural background and the kind of world that contains cars and traffic, it is possible to move step by step through an organized training program that will enable him to drive effectively and safely. In other words, the human mind neither learns nor acts by large leaps, but by steps organized or structured so that each one depends upon previous steps.2a6
Although the size of the step a human being can take in comprehension, innovation, or execution is small in comparison to the over-all size of the step needed to solve a complex problem, human beings nevertheless do solve complex problems. It is the augmentation means that serve to break down a large problem in such a way that the human being can walk through it with his little steps, and it is the structure or organization of these little steps or actions that we discuss as process hierarchies.2a7
Every process of thought or action is made up of sub-processes. Let us consider such examples as making a pencil stroke, writing a letter of the alphabet, or making a plan. Quite a few discrete muscle movements are organized into the making of a pencil stroke; similarly, making particular pencil strokes and making a plan for a letter are complex processes in themselves that become sub-processes to the over-all writing of an alphabetic character.2a8
Although every sub-process is a process in its own right, in that it consists of further sub-processes, there seems to be no point here in looking for the ultimate bottom of the process-hierarchical structure. There seems to be no way of telling whether or not the apparent bottoms (processes that cannot be further subdivided) exist in the physical world or in the limitations of human understanding.2a9
In any case, it is not necessary to begin from the bottom in discussing particular process hierarchies. No person uses a process that is completely unique every time he tackles something new. Instead, he begins from a group of basic sensory-mental-motor process capabilities, and adds to these certain of the process capabilities of his artifacts. There are only a finite number of such basic human and artifact capabilities from which to draw. Furthermore, even quite different higher order processes may have in common relatively high-order sub-processes."2a10
When a man writes prose text (a reasonably high-order process), he makes use of many processes as sub-processes that are common to other high-order processes. For example, he makes use of planning, composing, dictating. The process of writing is utilized as a sub-process within many different processes of a still higher order, such as organizing a committee, changing a policy, and so on.2a11
What happens, then, is that each individual develops a certain repertoire of process capabilities from which he selects and adapts those that will compose the processes that he executes. This repertoire is like a tool kit, and just as the mechanic must know what his tools can do and how to use them, so the intellectual worker must know the capabilities of his tools and have good methods, strategies, and rules of thumb for making use of them. All of the process capabilities in the individual's repertoire rest ultimately upon basic capabilities within him or his artifacts, and the entire repertoire represents an inter-knit, hierarchical structure (which we often call the repertoire hierarchy).2a12
We find three general categories of process capabilities within a typical individual's repertoire. There are those that are executed completely within the human integument, which we call explicit-human process capabilities; there are those possessed by artifacts for executing processes without human intervention, which we call explicit-artifact process capabilities; and there are what we call the composite process capabilities, which are derived from hierarchies containing both of the other kinds.2a13
We assume that it is our H-LAM/T system (Human using Language, Artifacts, Methodology, in which he is Trained) that has the capability and that performs the process in any instance of use of this repertoire. Let us look within the process structure for the LAM/T ingredients, to get a better "feel" for our models. Consider the process of writing an important memo. There is a particular concept associated with this process—that of putting information into a formal package and distributing it to a set of people for a certain kind of consideration—and the type of information package associated with this concept has been given the special name of memorandum. Already the system language shows the effect of this process—i.e., a concept and its name.2a14
The memo-writing process may be executed by using a set of process capabilities (in intermixed or repetitive form) such as the following planning, developing subject matter, composing text, producing hard copy, and distributing. There is a definite way in which these sub-processes will be organized that represents part of the system methodology. Each of these sub-processes represents a functional concept that must be a part of the system language if it is to be organized effectively into the human's way of doing things, and the symbolic portrayal of each concept must be such that the human can work with it and remember it.2a15
If the memo is simple, a paragraph or so in length, then the first three processes may well be of the explicit-human type (i.e., it may be planned, developed) and composed within the mind) and the last two of the composite type. If it is a complex memo, involving a good deal of careful planning and development, then all of the sub-processes might well be of the composite type (e.g., at least including the use of pencil and paper artifacts)' and there might be many different applications of some of the process capabilities within the total process (i.e., successive drafts, revised plans).2a16
The set of sub-process capabilities discussed so far, if called upon in proper occasion and sequence, would indeed enable the execution of the memo-writing process. However, the very process of organizing and supervising the utilization of these sub-process capabilities is itself a most important sub-process of the memo-writing process. Hence, the sub-process capabilities as listed would not be complete without the addition of a seventh capability—what we call the executive capability. This is the capability stemming from habit, strategy, rules of thumb, prejudice, learned method, intuition, unconscious dictates, or combinations thereof, to call upon the appropriate sub-process capabilities with a particular sequence and timing. An executive process (i.e., the exercise of an executive capability) involves such sub-processes as planning, selecting, and supervising, and it is really the executive processes that embody all of the methodology in the H-LAM/T system.2a17
To illustrate the capability-hierarchy features of our conceptual framework, let us consider an artifact innovation appearing directly within the relatively low-order capability for composing and modifying written text, and see how this can affect a (or, for instance, your) hierarchy of capabilities. Suppose you had a new writing machine—think of it as a high-speed electric typewriter with some special features. You could operate its keyboard to cause it to write text much as you could use a conventional typewriter. But the printing mechanism is more complicated; besides printing a visible character at every stroke, it adds special encoding features by means of invisible selective components in the ink and special shaping of the character.2a18
As an auxiliary device, there is a gadget that is held like a pencil and, instead of a point, has a special sensing mechanism that you can pass over a line of the special printing from your writing machine (or one like it). The signals which this reading stylus sends through the flexible connecting wire to the writing machine are used to determine which characters are being sensed and thus to cause the automatic typing of a duplicate string of characters. An information-storage mechanism in the writing machine permits you to sweep the reading stylus over the characters much faster than the writer can type; the writer will catch up with you when you stop to think about what word or string of words should be duplicated next, or while you reposition the straightedge guide along which you run the stylus.2a19
This writing machine would permit you to use a new process of composing text. For instance, trial drafts could rapidly be composed from re-arranged excerpts of old drafts, together with new words or passages which you stop to type in. Your first draft could represent a free outpouring of thoughts in any order, with the inspection of foregoing thoughts continuously stimulating new considerations and ideas to be entered. If the tangle of thoughts represented by the draft became too complex, you would compile a reordered draft quickly. It would be practical for you to accommodate more complexity in the trails of thought you might build in search of the path that suits your needs.2a20
You can integrate your new ideas more easily, and thus harness your creativity more continuously, if you can quickly and flexibly change your working record. If it is easier to update any part of your working record to accommodate new developments in thought or circumstance, you will find it easier to incorporate more complex procedures in your way of doing things. This will probably allow you to accommodate the extra burden associated with, for instance, keeping and using special files whose contents are both contributed to and utilized by any current work in a flexible manner—which in turn enables you to devise and use even-more complex procedures to better harness your talents in your particular working situation.2a21
The important thing to appreciate here is that a direct new innovation in one particular capability can have far-reaching effects throughout the rest of your capability hierarchy. A change can propagate up through the capability hierarchy; higher-order capabilities that can utilize the initially changed capability can now reorganize to take special advantage of this change and of the intermediate higher-capability changes. A change can propagate down through the hierarchy as a result of new capabilities at the high level and modification possibilities latent in lower levels. These latent capabilities may previously have been unusable in the hierarchy and become usable because of the new capability at the higher level.2a22
The writing machine and its flexible copying capability would occupy you for a long time if you tried to exhaust the reverberating chain of associated possibilities for making useful innovations within your capability hierarchy. This one innovation could trigger a rather extensive redesign of this hierarchy; your way of accomplishing many of your tasks would change considerably. Indeed this process characterizes the sort of evolution that our intellect-augmentation means have been undergoing since the first human brain appeared.2a23
To our objective of deriving orientation about possibilities for actively pursuing an increase in human intellectual effectiveness, it is important to realize that we must be prepared to pursue such new-possibility chains throughout the entire capability hierarchy (calling for a system approach). It is also important to realize that we must be oriented to the synthesis of new capabilities from reorganization of other capabilities, both old and new, that exist throughout the hierarchy (calling for a "system-engineering" approach).2a24

B. THE BASIC PERSPECTIVE2b

Individuals who operate effectively in our culture have already been considerably "augmented." Basic human capabilities for sensing stimuli, performing numerous mental operations, and for communicating with the outside world, are put to work in our society within a system—an H-LAM/T system—the individual augmented by the language, artifacts, and methodology in which he is trained. Furthermore, we suspect that improving the effectiveness of the individual as he operates in our society should be approached as a system-engineering problem—that is, the H-LAM/T system should be studied as an interacting whole from a synthesis-oriented approach.2b1
This view of the system as an interacting whole is strongly bolstered by considering the repertoire hierarchy of process capabilities that is structured from the basic ingredients within the H-LAM/T system. The realization that any potential change in language, artifact, or methodology has importance only relative to its use within a process' and that a new process capability appearing anywhere within that hierarchy can make practical a new consideration of latent change possibilities in many other parts of the hierarchy—possibilities in either language, artifacts, or methodology—brings out the strong interrelationship of these three augmentation means.2b2
Increasing the effectiveness of the individual's use of his basic capabilities is a problem in redesigning the changeable parts of a system. The system is actively engaged in the continuous processes (among others) of developing comprehension within the individual and of solving problems; both processes are subject to human motivation, purpose, and will. To redesign the system's capability for performing these processes means redesigning all or part of the repertoire hierarchy. To redesign a structure, we must learn as much as we can of what is known about the basic materials and components as they are utilized within the structure; beyond that, we must learn how to view, to measure, to analyze, and to evaluate in terms of the functional whole and its purpose. In this particular case, no existing analytic theory is by itself adequate for the purpose of analyzing and evaluating over-all system performance; pursuit of an improved system thus demands the use of experimental methods.2b3
It need not be just the very sophisticated or formal process capabilities that are added or modified in this redesign. Essentially any of the processes utilized by a representative human today—the processes that he thinks of when he looks ahead to his day's work—are composite processes of the sort that involve external composing and manipulating of symbols (text, sketches, diagrams, lists, etc.). Many of the external composing and manipulating (modifying, rearranging) processes serve such characteristically "human" activities as playing with forms and relationships to ask what develops, cut-and-try multiple-pass development of an idea, or listing items to reflect on and then rearranging and extending them as thoughts develop.2b4
Existing, or near-future, technology could certainly provide our professional problem-solvers with the artifacts they need to have for duplicating and rearranging text before their eyes, quickly and with a minimum of human effort. Even so apparently minor an advance could yield total changes in an individual's repertoire hierarchy that would represent a great increase in over-all effectiveness. Normally the necessary equipment would enter the market slowly; changes from the expected would be small, people would change their ways of doing things a little at a time, and only gradually would their accumulated changes create markets for more radical versions of the equipment. Such an evolutionary process has been typical of the way our repertoire hierarchies have grown and formed.2b5
But an active research effort, aimed at exploring and evaluating possible integrated changes throughout the repertoire hierarchy, could greatly accelerate this evolutionary process. The research effort could guide the product development of new artifacts toward taking long-range meaningful steps; simultaneously competitively minded individuals who would respond to demonstrated methods for achieving greater personal effectiveness would create a market for the more radical equipment innovations. The guided evolutionary process could be expected to be considerably more rapid than the traditional one.2b6
The category of "more radical innovations" includes the digital computer as a tool for the personal use of an individual. Here there is not only promise of great flexibility in the composing and rearranging of text and diagrams before the individual's eyes but also promise of many other process capabilities that can be integrated into the H-LAM/T system's repertoire hierarchy.2b7

C. DETAILED DISCUSSION OF THE H-LAM/T SYSTEM2c

1. The Source of Intelligence2c1

When one looks at a computer system that is doing a very complex job, he sees on the surface a machine that can execute some extremely sophisticated processes. If he is a layman, his concept of what provides this sophisticated capability may endow the machine with a mysterious power to sweep information through perceptive and intelligent synthetic thinking devices. Actually, this sophisticated capability results from a very clever organizational hierarchy so that pursuit of the source of intelligence within this system would take one down through layers of functional and physical organization that become successively more primitive.2c1a
To be more specific, we can begin at the top and list the major levels down through which we would pass if we successively decomposed the functional elements of each level in search of the "source of intelligence." A programmer could take us down through perhaps three levels (depending upon the sophistication of the total process being executed by the computer) perhaps depicting the organization at each level with a flow chart. The first level down would organize functions corresponding to statements in a problem-oriented language (e.g., ALGOL or COBOL), to achieve the desired over-all process. The second level down would organize lesser functions into the processes represented by first-level statements. The third level would perhaps show how the basic machine commands (or rather the processes which they represent) were organized to achieve each of the functions of the second level.2c1b
Then a machine designer could take over, and with a block diagram of the computer's organization he could show us (Level 4) how the different hardware units (e.g., random-access storage, arithmetic registers, adder, arithmetic control) are organized to provide the capability of executing sequences of the commands used in Level 3. The logic designer could then give us a tour of Level 5, also using block diagrams, to show us how such hardware elements as pulse gates, flip-flops, and AND, OR, and NOT circuits can be organized into networks giving the functions utilized at Level 4. For Level 6 a circuit engineer could show us diagrams revealing how components such as transistors, resistors, capacitors, and diodes can be organized into modular networks that provide the functions needed for the elements of Level 5.2c1c
Device engineers and physicists of different kinds could take us down through more layers. But rather soon we have crossed the boundary between what is man-organized and what is nature-organized, and are ultimately discussing the way in which a given physical phenomenon is derived from the intrinsic organization of sub-atomic particles, with our ability to explain succeeding layers blocked by the exhaustion of our present human comprehension.2c1d
If we then ask ourselves where that intelligence is embodied, we are forced to concede that it is elusively distributed throughout a hierarchy of functional processes—a hierarchy whose foundation extends down into natural processes below the depth of our comprehension. If there is any one thing upon which this 'intelligence depends' it would seem to be organization. The biologists and physiologists use a term "synergism" to designate (from Webster's Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition) the "...cooperative action of discrete agencies such that the total effect is greater than the sum of the two effects taken independently..." This term seems directly applicable here, where we could say that synergism is our most likely candidate for representing the actual source of intelligence2c1e
Actually, each of the social, life, or physical phenomena we observe about us would seem to derive from a supporting hierarchy of organized functions (or processes), in which the synergistic principle gives increased phenomenological sophistication to each succeedingly higher level of organization. In particular, the intelligence of a human being, derived ultimately from the characteristics of individual nerve cells, undoubtedly results from synergism.2c1f

2. Intelligence Amplification2c2

It has been jokingly suggested several times during the course of this study that what we are seeking is an "intelligence amplifier." (The term is attributed originally to W. Ross Ashby[2,3]. At first this term was rejected on the grounds that in our view one's only hope was to make a better match between existing human intelligence and the problems to be tackled, rather than in making man more intelligent. But deriving the concepts brought out in the preceding section has shown us that indeed this term does seem applicable to our objective.2c2a
Accepting the term "intelligence amplification" does not imply any attempt to increase native human intelligence. The term "intelligence amplification" seems applicable to our goal of augmenting the human intellect in that the entity to be produced will exhibit more of what can be called intelligence than an unaided human could; we will have amplified the intelligence of the human by organizing his intellectual capabilities into higher levels of synergistic structuring. What possesses the amplified intelligence is the resulting H-LAM/T system, in which the LAM/T augmentation means represent the amplifier of the human's intelligence.2c2b
In amplifying our intelligence, we are applying the principle of synergistic structuring that was followed by natural evolution in developing the basic human capabilities. What we have done in the development of our augmentation means is to construct a superstructure that is a synthetic extension of the natural structure upon which it is built. In a very real sense, as represented by the steady evolution of our augmentation means, the development of "artificial intelligence" has been going on for centuries.2c2c

3. Two-Domain System2c3

The human and the artifacts are the only physical components in the H-LAM/T system. It is upon their capabilities that the ultimate capability of the system will depend. This was implied in the earlier statement that every composite process of the system decomposes ultimately into explicit-human and explicit-artifact processes. There are thus two separate domains of activity within the H-LAM/T system: that represented by the human, in which all explicit-human processes occur; and that represented by the artifacts, in which all explicit-artifact processes occur. In any composite process, there is cooperative interaction between the two domains, requiring interchange of energy (much of it for information exchange purposes only). Figure 1 depicts this two-domain concept and embodies other concepts discussed below.2c3a
Figure-1. The Two Sides of the H-LAM/T System
Where a complex machine represents the principal artifact with which a human being cooperates, the term "man-machine interface" has been used for some years to represent the boundary across which energy is exchanged between the two domains. However, the "man-artifact interface" has existed for centuries, ever since humans began using artifacts and executing composite processes.2c3b
Exchange across this "interface" occurs when an explicit-human process is coupled to an explicit-artifact process. Quite often these coupled processes are designed for just this exchange purpose, to provide a functional match between other explicit-human and explicit-artifact processes buried within their respective domains that do the more significant things. For instance, the finger and hand motions (explicit human processes) activate key-linkage motions in the typewriter (couple to explicit-artifact processes). But these are only part of the matching processes between the deeper human processes that direct a given word to be typed and the deeper artifact processes that actually imprint the ink marks on the paper.2c3c
The outside world interacts with our H-LAM/T system by the exchange of energy with either the individual or his artifact. Again, special processes are often designed to accommodate this exchange. However, the direct concern of our present study lies within the system, with the internal processes that are and can be significantly involved in the effectiveness of the system in developing the human's comprehension and pursuing the human's goals.2c3d

4. Concepts, Symbols, and a Hypothesis2c4

Before we pursue further direct discussion of the H-LAM/T system, let us examine some background material. Consider the following historical progression in the development of our intellectual capabilities:2c4a
(1) Concept Manipulation—Humans rose above the lower forms of life by evolving the biological capability for developing abstractions and concepts. They could manipulate these concepts within their minds to a certain extent, and think about situations in the abstract. Their mental capabilities allowed them to develop general concepts from specific instances, predict specific instances from general concepts, associate concepts, remember them, etc. We speak here of concepts in their raw, unverbalized form. For example, a person letting a door swing shut behind him suddenly visualizes the person who follows him carrying a cup of hot coffee and some sticky pastries. Of all the aspects of the pending event, the spilling of the coffee and the squashing of the pastry somehow are abstracted immediately, and associated with a concept of personal responsibility and a dislike for these consequences. But a solution comes to mind immediately as an image of a quick stop and an arm stab back toward the door, with motion and timing that could prevent the collision, and the solution is accepted and enacted. With only non-symbolic concept manipulation, we could probably build primitive shelter, evolve strategies of war and hunt, play games, and make practical jokes. But further powers of intellectual effectiveness are implicit in this stage of biological evolution (the same stage we are in today).2c4a1
(2) Symbol Manipulation—Humans made another great step forward when they learned to represent particular concepts in their minds with specific symbols. Here we temporarily disregard communicative speech and writing, and consider only the direct value to the individual of being able to do his heavy thinking by mentally manipulating symbols instead of the more unwieldly concepts which they represent. Consider, for instance, the mental difficulty involved in herding twenty-seven sheep if, instead of remembering one cardinal number and occasionally counting, we had to remember what each sheep looked like, so that if the flock seemed too small we could visualize each one and check whether or not it was there.2c4a2
(3) Manual, External, Symbol Manipulation—Another significant step toward harnessing the biologically evolved mental capabilities in pursuit of comprehension and problem solutions came with the development of the means for externalizing some of the symbol-manipulation activity, particularly in graphical representation. This supplemented the individual's memory and ability to visualize. (We are not concerned here with the value derived from human cooperation made possible by speech and writing, both forms of external symbol manipulation. We speak of the manual means of making graphical representations of symbols—a stick and sand, pencil and paper and eraser, straight edge or compass, and so on.) It is principally this kind of means for external symbol manipulation that has been associated with the evolution of the individual's present way of doing his concept manipulation (thinking).2c4a3
It is undoubtedly true that concepts which people found useful ended up being symbolized in their language, and hence that the evolution of language was affected by the concepts the people developed and used. However, Korzybski[4] and Whorf[5] (among others) have argued that the language we use affects our thinking to a considerable extent. They say that a lack of words for some types of concepts makes it hard to express those concepts, and thus decreases the likelihood that we will learn much about them. If this is so, then once a language has begun to grow and be used, it would seem reasonable to suspect that the language also affects the evolution of the new concepts to be expressed in that language.2c4b
Apparently there are counter-arguments to this; e.g., if a concept needs to be used often but its expression is difficult, then the language will evolve to ease the situation. However, the studies of the past decade into what are called "self-organizing" systems seem to be revealing that subtle relationships among its interacting elements can significantly influence the course of evolution of such a system. If this is true, and if language is (as it seems to be) a part of a self-organizing system, then it seems probable that the state of a language at a given time strongly affects its own evolution to a succeeding state.2c4c
For our conceptual framework, we tend to favor the view that a language does exert a force in its own evolution. We observe that the shift over the last few centuries in matters that are of daily concern to the individual has necessarily been forced into the framework of the language existing at the time, with alterations generally limited to new uses for old words, or the coining of new words. The English language since Shakespeare has undergone no alteration comparable to the alteration in the cultural environment; if it had, Shakespeare would no longer be accessible to us. Under such evolutionary conditions, it would seem unlikely that the language we now use provides the best possible service to our minds in pursuing comprehension and solving problems. It seems very likely that a more useful language form can be devised.2c4d
The Whorfian hypothesis states that "the world view of a culture is limited by the structure of the language which that culture uses." But there seems to be another factor to consider in the evolution of language and human reasoning ability. We offer the following hypothesis, which is related to the Whorfian hypothesis: Both the language used by a culture, and the capability for effective intellectual activity are directly affected during their evolution by the means by which individuals control the external manipulation of symbols. (For identification, we will refer to this as the Neo-Whorfian hypothesis.)2c4e
If the Neo-Whorfian hypothesis could be proved readily, and if we could see how our means of externally manipulating symbols influence both our language and our way of thinking, then we would have a valuable instrument for studying human-augmentation possibilities. For the sake of discussion, let us assume the Neo-Whorfian hypothesis to be true, and see what relevant deductions can be made.2c4f
If the means evolved for an individual's external manipulation of his thinking-aid symbols indeed directly affect the way in which he thinks, then the original Whorfian hypothesis would offer an added effect. The direct effect of the external-symbol-manipulation means upon language would produce an indirect effect upon the way of thinking via the Whorfian-hypothesis linkage. There would then be two ways for the manner in which our external symbol manipulation was done to affect our thinking.2c4g
One way of viewing the H-LAM/T system changes that we contemplate—specifically, integrating the capabilities of a digital computer into the intellectual activity of individual humans—is that we are introducing new and extremely advanced means for externally manipulating symbols. We then want to determine the useful modifications in the language and in the way of thinking that could result. This suggests a fourth stage to the evolution of our individual-human intellectual capability:2c4h
(4) Automated external symbol manipulation—In this stage, symbols with which the human represents the concepts he is manipulating can be arranged before his eyes, moved, stored, recalled, operated upon according to extremely complex rules—all in very rapid response to a minimum amount of information supplied by the human, by means of special cooperative technological devices. In the limit of what we might now imagine, this could be a computer, with which we could communicate rapidly and easily, coupled to a three-dimensional color display within which it could construct extremely sophisticated images—with the computer being able to execute a wide variety of processes upon parts or all of these images in automatic response to human direction. The displays and processes could provide helpful services—we could imagine both simple and exotic varieties—and could involve concepts that we have never yet imagined (as the pre-graphic thinker of Stage 2 would be unable to predict the bar graph, the process of long division, or a card file system).2c4h1
These hypotheses imply great richness in the new evolutionary spaces opened by progressing from Stage 3 to Stage 4. We would like to study the hypotheses further, examining their possible manifestations in our experience, ways of demonstrating their validity, and possible deductions relative to going to Stage 4.2c4i
In search of some simple ways to determine what the Neo-Whorfian hypothesis might imply, we could imagine some relatively straightforward means of increasing our external symbol-manipulation capability and try to picture the consequent changes that could evolve in our language and methods of thinking. Actually, it turned out to be simpler to invert the problem and consider a change that would reduce our capability for external symbol manipulation. This allowed an empirical approach which proved both simple and effective. We thus performed the following experiment:2c4j
Brains of power equal to ours could have evolved in an environment where the combination of artifact materials and muscle strengths were so scaled that the neatest scribing tool (equivalent to a pencil, possible had a shape and mass as manageable as a brick would be to us-assuming that our muscles were not specially conditioned to deal with it. We fastened a pencil to a brick and experimented. Figure 2 shows the results, compared with typewriting and ordinary pencil writing. With the brick pencil, we are slower and less precise. If we want to hurry the writing, we have to make it larger. Also, writing the passage twice with the brick-pencil tires the untrained hand and arm.2c4k
How would our civilization have matured if this had been the only manual means for us to use in graphical manipulation of symbols? For one thing, the record keeping that enables the organization of commerce and government would probably have taken a form so different from what we know that our social structure would undoubtedly have evolved differently. Also, the effort in doing calculations and writing down extensive and carefully reasoned argument would dampen individual experimentation with sophisticated new concepts, to lower the rate of learning and the rate of useful output, and perhaps to discourage a good many people from even working at extending understanding. The concepts that would evolve within our culture would thus be different, and very likely the symbology to represent them would be different—much more economical of motion in their writing It thus seems very likely that our thoughts and our language would be rather directly affected by the particular means used by our culture for externally manipulating symbols, which gives little intuitive substantiation to our Neo-Whorfian hypothesis.2c4l
Figure-2. Experimental Results of Tying a Brick to a Pencil to "De-Augment" the Individual.
To reflect further upon the implications of this hypothesis, the following hypothetical artifact development can be considered, representing a different type of external symbol manipulation that could have had considerable effect. Suppose that our young technology of a few generations ago had developed an artifact that was essentially a high speed, semi-automatic table-lookup device—cheap enough for almost everyone to afford and small and light enough to be carried on the person. Assume that the individual cartridges sold by manufacturers (publishers) contained the look-up information, that one cartridge could hold the equivalent of an unabridged dictionary, and that a one-paragraph definition could always be located and displayed on the face of the device by the average practiced individual in less than three seconds. The fortunes of technological invention, commercial interest, and public acceptance just might have evolved something like this.2c4m
If it were so very easy to look things up, how would our vocabulary develop, how would our habits of exploring the intellectual domains of others shift, how might the sophistication of practical organization mature (if each person can so quickly and easily look up applicable rules), how would our education system change to take advantage of this new external symbol-manipulation capability of students and teachers (and administrators)?2c4n
The significance to our study of the discussion in this section lies in the perspective it gives to the ways in which human intellectual effectiveness can be affected by the particular means used by individuals for their external symbol manipulation. It seems reasonable to consider the development of automated external symbol manipulation means as a next stage in the evolution of our intellectual power.2c4o

5. Capability Repertoire Hierarchy2c5

The concept of our H-LAM/T system possessing a repertoire of capabilities that is structured in the form of a hierarchy is most useful in our study. We shall use it in the following to tie together a number of considerations and concepts. There are two points of focus in considering the design of new repertoire hierarchies: the materials with which we have to work, and the principles by which new capability is constructed from these basic materials.2c5a
a. Basic Capabilities2c5b
"Materials" in this context are those capabilities in the human and in the artifact domains from which all other capabilities in the repertoire hierarchy must be constructed. Each such basic capability represents a type of functional component with which the system can be built, and a thorough job of redesigning the system calls for making an inventory of the basic capabilities available. Because we are exploring for perspective, and not yet recommending research activities, we are free to discuss and define in more detail what we mean by "basic capability", without regard to the amount of research involved in making an actual inventory.2c5b1
The two domains, human and artifact, can be explored separately for their basic capabilities. In each we can isolate two classes of basic capability; these classes are distinguished according to whether or not the capability has been put to use within out augmentation means. The first class (those in use) can be found in a methodical manner by analyzing present capability hierarchies. For example, select a given capability, at any level in the hierarchy, and ask yourself if it can be usefully changed by any means that can be given consideration in the augmentation research contemplated. If it can, then it is not basic but it can be decomposed into an eventual set of basic capabilities. As you proceed down through the hierarchy, you will begin to encounter capabilities that cannot be usefully changed, and these will make up your inventory of basic capabilities. Ultimately, every such recursive decomposition of a given capability in the hierarchy will find every one of its branching paths terminated by basic capabilities. Beginning such decomposition search with different capabilities in the hierarchy will eventually uncover all of those basic capabilities used within that hierarchy or augmentation system. Many of the branching paths in the decomposition of a given higher-order capability will terminate in the same basic capability, since a given basic capability will often be used within many different higher-order capabilities.2c5b2
Determining the class of basic capabilities not already utilized within existing augmentation systems requires a different exploration method. Examples of this method occur in technological research, where analytically oriented researchers search for new understandings of phenomena that can add to the research engineer's list of things to be used in the synthesis of better artifacts.2c5b3
Before this inventorying task can be pursued in any specific instance, some criteria must be established as to what possible changes within the H-LAM/T system can be given serious consideration. For instance, some research situations might have to disallow changes which require extensive retraining, or which require undignified behavior by the human. Other situations might admit changes requiring years of special training, very expensive equipment, or the use of special drugs.2c5b4
The capability for performing a certain finger action, for example, may not be basic in our sense of the word. Being able to extend the finger a certain distance would be basic but the strength and speed of a particular finger motion and its coordination with higher actions generally are usefully changeable and therefore do not represent basic capabilities. What would be basic in this case would perhaps be the processes whereby strength could be increased and coordinated movement patterns learned, as well as the basic movement range established by the mechanical-limit loci of the muscle-tendon-bone system. Similar capability breakdowns will occur for sensory and cognitive capabilities.2c5b5
b. Structure Types2c5c
1) General2c5c1
The fundamental principle used in building sophisticated capabilities from the basic capabilities is structuring—the special type of structuring (which we have termed synergetic) in which the organization of a group of elements produces an effect greater than the mere addition of their individual effects. Perhaps "purposeful" structuring (or organization) would serve us as well, but since we aren't sure yet how the structuring concept must mature for our needs, we shall tentatively stick with the special modifier, "synergetic." We are developing a growing awareness of the significant and pervasive nature of such structure within every physical and conceptual thing we inspect, where the hierarchical form seems almost universally present as stemming from successive levels of such organization.2c5c1a
The fundamental entities that are being structured in each and every case seems to be what we could call processes, where the most basic of physical processes (involving fields, charges, and momenta associated with the dynamics of fundamental particles) appear to be the hierarchical base. There are dynamic electro-optical-mechanical processes associated with the function of our artifacts (as well as metabolic, sensory, motor) and cognitive processes of the human, which we find to be relatively fundamental components within the structure of our H-LAM/T system—and each of these seems truly to be ultimately based (to our degree of understanding) upon the above mentioned basic physical processes. The elements that are organized to give fixed structural form to our physical objects—e.g., the "element" of tensile strength of a material-are also derived from what we could call synergetic structuring of the most basic physical processes.2c5c1b
But at the level of the capability hierarchy where we wish to work, it seems useful to us to distinguish several different types of structuring—even though each type is fundamentally a structuring of the basic physical processes. Tentatively we have isolated five such types—although we are not sure how many we shall ultimately want to use in considering the problem of augmenting the human intellect, nor how we might divide and subdivide these different manifestations of physical-process structuring. We use the terms "mental structuring," "concept structuring," "symbol structuring," "process structuring," and "physical structuring."2c5c1c
2) Mental Structuring2c5c2
Mental structuring is what we call the internal organization of conscious and unconscious mental images, associations, or concepts (or whatever it is that is organized within the human mind) that somehow manages to provide the human with understanding and the basis for such as judgment, intuition, inference, and meaningful action with respect to his environment. There is a term used in psychology, cognitive structure, which so far seems to represent just what we want for our concept of mental structure, but we will not adopt it until we become more sure of what the accepted psychological meaning is and of what we want for our conceptual framework.2c5c2a
For our present purpose, it is irrelevant to worry over what the fundamental mental "things" being structured are, or what mechanisms are accomplishing the structuring or making use of what has been structured. We feel reasonably safe in assuming that learning involves some kind of meaningful organization within the brain, and that whatever is so organized or structured represents the operating model of the individual's universe to the mental mechanisms that derive his behavior. And further, our assumption is that when the human in our H/LAM system makes the key decision or action that leads to the solution of a complex problem, it will stem from the state of his mental structure at that time. In this view then, the basic purpose of the system's activity on that problem up to that point has been to develop his mental structure to the state from which the mental mechanisms could derive the key action.2c5c2b
Our school systems attest that there are specific experiences that can be given to a human that will result in development of his mental structure to the point where the behavior derived there from by his mental mechanisms shows us that he has gained new comprehension—in other words, we can do a certain amount from outside the human toward developing his mental structure. Independent students and researchers also attest that internally directed behavior on the part of an individual can directly aid his structure-building process.2c5c2c
We don't know whether a mental structure is developed in a manner analogous to (a) development of a garden, where one provides a good environment, plants the seeds, keeps competing weeds and injurious pests out, but otherwise has to let natural processes take their course, or to (b) development of a basketball team, where much exercise of skills, patterns, and strategies must be provided so that natural processes can slowly knit together an integration, or to (c) development of a machine, where carefully formed elements are assembled in a precise, planned manner so that natural phenomena can immediately yield planned function. We don't know the processes, but we can and have developed empirical relationships between the experiences given a human and the associated manifestations of developing comprehension and capability, and we see the near-future course of the research toward augmenting the human's intellect as depending entirely upon empirical findings (past and future) for the development of better means to serve the development and use of mental structuring in the human.2c5c2d
We don't mean to imply by this that we renounce theories of mental processes. What we mean to emphasize is that pursuit of our objective need not wait upon the understanding of the mental processes that accomplish (what we call) mental structuring and that derive behavior therefrom. It would be to ignore the emphases of our own conceptual framework not to make fullest use of any theory that provided a working explanation for a group of empirical data. What's more, our entire conceptual framework represents the first pass at a "theoretical model with which to organize our thinking and action."2c5c2e
3) Concept Structuring2c5c3
Within our framework we have developed the working assumption that the manner in which we seem to be able to provide experiences that favor the development of our mental structures is based upon concepts as a "medium of exchange." We view a concept as a tool that can be grasped and used by the mental mechanisms, that can be composed, interpreted, and used by the natural mental substances and processes. The grasping and handling done by these mechanisms can often be facilitated if the concept is given an explicit "handle" in the form of a representative symbol. Somehow the mental mechanisms can learn to manipulate images (or something) of symbols in a meaningful way and remain calmly confident that the associated conceptual manipulations are within call.2c5c3a
Concepts seem to be structurable, in that a new concept can be composed of an organization of established concepts. For present purposes, we can view a concept structure as something which we might try to develop on paper for ourselves or work with by conscious thought processes, or as something which we try to communicate to one another in serious discussion. We assume that, for a given unit of comprehension to be imparted, there is a concept structure (which can be consciously developed and displayed) that can be presented to an individual in such a way that it is mapped into a corresponding mental structure which provides the basis for that individual's "comprehending" behavior. Our working assumption also considers that some concept structures would be better for this purpose than others, in that they would be more easily mapped by the individual into workable mental structures, or in that the resulting mental structures enable a higher degree of comprehension and better solutions to problems, or both.2c5c3b
A concept structure often grows as part of a cultural evolution—either on a large scale within a large segment of society, or on a small scale within the activity domain of an individual. But it is also something that can be directly designed or modified, and a basic hypothesis of our study is that better concept structures can be developed—structures that when mapped into a human's mental structure will significantly improve his capability to comprehend and to find solutions within his complex-problem situations.2c5c3c
A natural language provides its user with a ready-made structure of concepts that establishes a basic mental structure, and that allows relatively flexible, general-purpose concept structuring. Our concept of language as one of the basic means for augmenting the human intellect embraces all of the concept structuring which the human may make use of.2c5c3d
4) Symbol Structuring2c5c4
The other important part of our "language" is the way in which concepts are represented—the symbols and symbol structures. Words structured into phrases, sentences, paragraphs, monographs—charts, lists, diagrams, tables, etc. A given structure of concepts can be represented by any of an infinite number of different symbol structures, some of which would be much better than others for enabling the human perceptual and cognitive apparatus to search out and comprehend the conceptual matter of significance and/or interest to the human. For instance, a concept structure involving many numerical data would generally be much better represented with Arabic rather than Roman numerals and quite likely a graphic structure would be better than a tabular structure.2c5c4a
But it is not only the form of a symbol structure that is important. A problem solver is involved in a stream of conceptual activity whose course serves his mental needs of the moment. The sequence and nature of these needs are quite variable, and yet for each need he may benefit significantly from a form of symbol structuring that is uniquely efficient for that need.2c5c4b
Therefore, besides the forms of symbol structures that can be constructed and portrayed, we are very much concerned with the speed and flexibility with which one form can be transformed into another, and with which new material can be located and portrayed.2c5c4c
We are generally used to thinking of our symbol structures as a pattern of marks on a sheet of paper. When we want a different symbol-structure view, we think of shifting our point of attention on the sheet, or moving a new sheet into position. But another kind of view might be obtained by extracting and ordering all statements in the local text that bear upon consideration A of the argument—or by replacing all occurrences of specified esoteric words by one's own definitions. This sort of "view generation" becomes quite feasible with a computer-controlled display system, and represents a very significant capability to build upon.2c5c4d
With a computer manipulating our symbols and generating their portrayals to us on a display, we no longer need think of our looking at the symbol structure which is stored—as we think of looking at the symbol structures stored in notebooks, memos, and books. What the computer actually stores need be none of our concern, assuming that it can portray symbol structures to us that are consistent with the form in which we think our information is structured.2c5c4e
A given concept structure can be represented with a symbol structure that is completely compatible with the computer's internal way of handling symbols, with all sorts of characteristics and relationships given explicit identifications that the user may never directly see. In fact, this structuring has immensely greater potential for accurately mapping a complex concept structure than does a structure an individual would find it practical to construct or use on paper.2c5c4f
The computer can transform back and forth between the two-dimensional portrayal on the screen, of some limited view of the total structure, and the aspect of the n-dimensional internal image that represents this "view." If the human adds to or modifies such a "view," the computer integrates the change into the internal-image symbol structure (in terms of the computer's favored symbols and structuring) and thereby automatically detects a certain proportion of his possible conceptual inconsistencies.2c5c4g
Thus, inside this instrument (the computer) there is an internal-image, computer-symbol structure whose convolutions and multi-dimensionality we can learn to shape to represent to hitherto unattainable accuracy the concept structure we might be building or working with. This interna1 structure may have a form that is nearly incomprehensible to the direct inspection of a human (except in minute chunks).2c5c4h
But let the human specify to the instrument his particular conceptual need of the moment, relative to this internal image. Without disrupting its own internal reference structure in the slightest, the computer will effectively stretch, bend, fold, extract, and cut as it may need in order to assemble an internal substructure that is its response, structured in its own internal way. With the set of standard translation rules appropriate to the situation, it portrays to the human via its display a symbol structure designed for his quick and accurate perception and comprehension of the conceptual matter pertinent to this internally composed substructure.2c5c4i
No longer does the human work on stiff and limited symbol structures, where much of the conceptual content can only be implicitly designated in an indirect and distributed fashion. These new ways of working are basically available with today's technology—we have but to free ourselves from some of our limiting views and begin experimenting with compatible sets of structure forms and processes for human concepts, human symbols, and machine symbols.2c5c4j
5) Process Structuring2c5c5
Essentially everything that goes on within the H-LAM/T system and that is of direct interest here involves the manipulation of concept and symbol structures in service to the mental structure. Therefore, the processes within the H-LAM/T system that we are most interested in developing are those that provide for the manipulation of all three types of structure. This brings us to the fourth category of structuring, process structuring.2c5c5a
As we are currently using it, the term process structuring includes the organization, study, modification, and execution of processes and process structures. Whereas concept structuring and symbol structuring together represent the language component of our augmentation means, process structuring represents the methodology component (plus a little more, actually). There has been enough previous discussion of process structures that we need not describe the notion here, beyond perhaps an example or two. The individual processes (or actions) of my hands and fingers have to be cooperatively organized if the typewriter is to do my bidding. My successive actions throughout my working day are meant to cooperate toward a certain over-all professional goal.2c5c5b
Many of the process structures are applied to the task of organizing, executing, supervising, and evaluating other process structures. Many of them are applied to the formation and manipulation of symbol structures (the purpose of which will often be to support the conceptual labor involved in process structuring).2c5c5c
6) Physical Structuring2c5c6
Physical structuring, the last of the five types which we currently use in our conceptual framework, is nearly self-explanatory. It pretty well represents the artifact component of our augmentation means, insofar as their actual physical construction is concerned.2c5c6a
7) Interdependence and Regeneration2c5c7
A very important feature to be noted from the discussion in this section bears upon the interdependence among the various types of structuring which are involved in the H-LAM/T system, where the capability for doing each type of structuring is dependent upon the capability for doing one or more of the other types of structuring. (Assuming that the physical structuring of the system remains basically unchanged during the system's operation, we exclude its dependence upon other factors in this discussion.)2c5c7a
This interdependence actually has a cyclic, regenerative nature to it which is very significant to us. We have seen how the capability for mental structuring is finally dependent, down the chain, upon the process structuring (human, artifact, composite) that enables symbol-structure manipulation. But it also is evident that the process structuring is dependent not only upon basic human and artifact process capabilities, but upon the ability of the human to learn how to execute processes—and no less important, upon the ability of the human to select, organize, and modify processes from his repertoire to structure a higher-order process that he can execute. Thus, a capability for structuring and executing processes is partially dependent upon the human's mental structuring, which in turn is partially dependent upon his process structuring (through concept and symbol structuring), which is partially dependent upon his mental structuring, etc.2c5c7b
All of this means that a significant improvement in symbol-structure manipulation through better process structuring (initially perhaps through much better artifacts) should enable us to develop improvements in concept and mental-structure manipulations that can in turn enable us to organize and execute symbol-manipulation processes of increased power. To most people who initially consider the possibilities for computer-like devices augmenting the human intellect, it is only the one-pass improvement that comes to mind, which presents a picture that is relatively barren compared to that which emerges when one considers this regenerative interaction.2c5c7c
We can confidently expect the development of much more powerful concepts pertaining to the manner in which symbol structures can be manipulated and portrayed, and correspondingly more complex manipulation processes that in the first pass would have been beyond the human's power to organize and execute without the better symbol, concept, and mental structuring which his augmented system provided him. These new concepts and processes, beyond our present capabilities to use and thus never developed, will provide a tremendous increased-capability payoff in the future development of our augmentation means.2c5c7d
c. Roles and Levels2c5d
In the repertoire hierarchy of capabilities possessed by the H-LAM/T system, the human contributes many types of capability that represent a wide variety of roles. At one time or another he will be the policy maker, the goal setter, the performance supervisor, the work scheduler, the professional specialist, the clerk, the janitor, the entrepreneur, and the proprietor (or at least a major stockholder) of the system. In the midst of some complex process, in fact, he may well be playing several roles concurrently—or at least have the responsibility of the roles. For instance, usually he must be aware of his progress toward a goal (supervisor), he must be alert to the possibilities for changing the goal (policy maker, planner), and he must keep records for these and other roles (clerk).2c5d1
Consider a given capability (Capability 1) at some level in the repertoire hierarchy. There seems to be a sort of standard grouping of lower-order capabilities from which this is composed, and these exist in two classes—what we might call the executive class and what we might call the direct-contributive class. In the executive class of capabilities we find those used for comprehending, planning, and executing the process represented by Capability 1. In the direct-contributive class we find the capabilities organized by the executive class toward the direct realization of Capability 1. For example, when my telephone rings, I execute the direct-contributive processes of picking up the receiver and saying hello. It was the executive processes that comprehended the situation, directed a lower-order executive-process that the receiver be picked up and, when the receiver was in place (first process accomplished), directed the next process, the saying hello. That represents the composition of my capability for answering the phone.2c5d2
For a low-level capability, such as that of writing a word with a pencil, both the executive and the direct-contributive subprocesses during actual execution would be automatic. This type of automatic capability need only be summoned by a higher executive process in order for trained automatic responses to execute it.2c5d3
At a little higher level of capability, more of the conscious conceptual and executive capabilities become involved. To call someone on the telephone, I must consciously comprehend the need for this process and how I can execute it, I must consciously pick up the directory and search for the name and telephone number, and I must consciously direct the dialing of the number.2c5d4
At a still higher level of capability, the executive capabilities must have a degree of power that unaided mental capabilities cannot provide. In such a case, one might make a list of steps and check each item off as it is executed. For an even more complex process, comprehending the particular situation in which it is to be executed, even before beginning to plan the execution, may take months of labor and a very complex organization of the system's capabilities.2c5d5
Imagining a process as complex as the last example brings us to the realization that at any particular moment the H-LAM/T system may be in the middle of executing a great number of processes. Assume that the human is in the middle of the process of making a telephone call. That telephone call is a subprocess in the middle of the process of calling a committee meeting. But calling a committee meeting is a subprocess in the middle of the process of determining a budgetary policy, which is in turn but a subprocess in the middle of the process of estimating manpower needs, and so on.2c5d6
Not only does the human need to play various roles (sometimes concurrently) in the execution of any given process, but he is playing these roles for the many concurrent processes that are being executed at different levels. This situation is typical for any of us engaged in reasonably demanding types of professional pursuits, and yet we have never received explicit training in optimum ways of carrying out any but a very few of the roles at a very few of the levels. A well-designed H-LAM/T system would provide explicit and effective concepts, terms, equipment, and methods for all these roles, and for their dynamic coordination.2c5d7
d. Model of Executive Superstructure2c5e
It is the repertoire hierarchy of process capabilities upon which the ultimate capability of the H-LAM/T system rests. This repertoire hierarchy is rather like a mountain of white-collar talent that sits atop and controls the talents of the workers. We can illustrate this executive superstructure by considering it as though it were a network of contractors and subcontractors in which each capability in the repertoire hierarchy is represented by an independent contractor whose mode of operation is to do the planning, make up specifications, subcontract the actual work, and supervise the performance of his subcontractors. This means that each subcontractor does the same thing in his turn. At the bottom of this hierarchy are those independent contractors who do actual "production work."2c5e1
If by some magical process the production workers could still know just what to do and when to do it even though the superstructure of contractors was removed from above them, no one would know the difference. The executive superstructure is necessary because humans do not operate by magic, but even a necessary superstructure is a burden. We can readily recognize that there are many ways to organize and manage such a superstructure, resulting in vastly different degrees of efficiency in the application of the workers' talents.2c5e2
Suppose that the activity of the production workers was of the same nature as the activity of the different contractors, and that this activity consisted of gaining comprehension and solving problems. And suppose that there was only so much applicable talent available to the total system. The question now becomes how to distribute that talent between superstructure and workers to get the most total production. The efficiency of organization within the superstructure is now doubly important so that a minimum of talent in the superstructure produces a maximum of organizational efficiency in directing the productivity of the remaining talent.2c5e3
In the situation where talent is limited, we find a close parallel to our H-LAM/T system in its pursuit of comprehension and problem solutions. We obtain an even closer parallel if we say that the thinking, planning, supervising, record keeping, etc., for each contractor is actually done by a single individual for the whole superstructure, time-sharing his attention and talents over these many tasks. Today this individual cannot be depended upon to have any special training for many of these roles; he is likely to have learned them by cut and try and by indirect imitation.2c5e4
A complex process is often executed by the H-LAM/T system in a multi-pass fashion (i.e., cut and try). In really complex situations, comprehension and problem solutions do not stand waiting at the end of a straightforward path; instead, possibilities open up and plans shift as comprehension grows. In the model using a network of contractors, this type of procedure would entail a great deal of extra work within the superstructure—each contractor involved in the process would have the specifications upon which he bid continually changed, and would continually have to respond to the changes by restudying the situation, changing his plans, changing the specifications to his subcontractors, and changing his records. This is a terrific additional burden, but it allows a freedom of action that has tremendous importance to the effectiveness the system exhibits to the outside world.2c5e5
We could expect significant gains from automating the H-LAM/T system if a computer could do nothing more than increase the effectiveness of the executive processes. More human time, energy, and productive thought could be allocated to direct-contributive processes, which would be coordinated in a more sophisticated, flexible and efficient manner. But there is every reason to believe that the possibilities for much-improved symbol and process structuring that would stem from this automation will directly provide improvements in both the executive and direct-contributive processes in the system.2c5e6
e. Flexibility in the Executive Role2c5f
The executive superstructure is a necessary component in the H-LAM/T system, and there is finite human capability which must be divided between executive and direct-contributive activities. An important aspect of the multi-role activity of the human in the system is the development and manipulation of the symbol structures associated with both his direct-contributive roles and his executive roles.2c5f1
When the system encounters a complex situation in which comprehension and problem solutions are being pursued, the direct-contributive roles require the development of symbol structures that portray the concepts involved within the situation. But executive roles in a complex problem situation also require conceptual activity—e.g., comprehension, selection, supervision—that can benefit from well-designed symbol structures and fast, flexible means for manipulating and displaying them. For complex processes, the executive problem posed to the human (of gaining the necessary comprehension and making a good plan) may be tougher than the problem he faced in the role of direct-contributive worker. If the flexibility desired for the process hierarchies (to make room for human cut-and-try methods) is not to be degraded or abandoned, the executive activity will have to be provided with fast and flexible symbol-structuring techniques.2c5f2
The means available to humans today for developing and manipulating these symbol structures are both laborious and inflexible. It is hard enough to develop an initial structure of diagrams and text, but the amount of effort required to make changes is often prohibitively great; one settles for inflexibility. Also, the kind of generous flexibility that would be truly helpful calls for added symbol structuring just to keep track of the trials, branches, and reasoning thereto that are involved in the development of the subject structure; our present symbol-manipulation means would very soon bog down completely among the complexities that are involved in being more than just a little bit flexible.2c5f3
We find that the humans in our H-LAM/T systems are essential working continuously within a symbol structure of some sort, shifting their attention from one structure to another as they guide and execute the processes that ultimately provide them with the comprehension and the problem solutions that they seek. This view increases our respect for the essential importance of the basic capability of composing and modifying efficient symbol structures. Such a capability depends heavily upon the particular concepts that are isolated and manipulated as entities, upon the symbology used to represent them, upon the artifacts that help to manipulate and display the symbols, and upon the methodology for developing and using symbol structures. In other words, this capability depends heavily upon proper language, artifacts, and methodology, our basic augmentation means.2c5f4
When the course of action must respond to new comprehension, new insights and new intuitive flashes of possible explanations or solutions, it will not be an orderly process. Existing means of composing and working with symbol structures penalize disorderly processes very heavily, and it is part of the real promise in the automated H-LAM/T systems of tomorrow that the human can have the freedom and power of disorderly processes.2c5f5
f. Compound Effects2c5g
Since many processes in many levels of the hierarchy are involved in the execution of a single higher-level process of the system, any factor that influences process execution in general will have a highly compounded total effect upon the system's performance. There are several such factors which merit special attention.2c5g1
Basic human cognitive powers, such as memory intelligence, or pattern perception can have such a compounded effect. The augmentation means employed today have generally evolved among large statistical populations, and no attempt has been made to fit them to individual needs and abilities. Each individual tends to evolve his own variations, but there is not enough mutation and selection activity, nor enough selection feedback, to permit very significant changes. A good, automated H-LAM/T system should provide the opportunity for a significant adaptation of the augmentation means to individual characteristics. The compounding effect of fundamental human cognitive powers suggests further that systems designed for maximum effectiveness would require that these powers be developed as fully as possible—by training, special mental tricks, improved language, new methodology.2c5g2
In the automated system that we contemplate, the human should be able to draw on explicit-artifact process capability at many levels in the repertoire hierarchy; today, artifacts are involved explicitly in only the lower-order capabilities. In the future systems, for instance, it should be possible to have computer processes provide direct and significant help in his processes at many levels. We thus expect the effect of the computer in the system to be very much compounded. A great deal of richness in the future possibilities for automated H-LAM/T systems is implied here—considerably more than many people realize who would picture the computer as just helping them do the things they do now. This type of compounding is related to the reverberating waves of change discussed in Section II-A.2c5g3
Another factor can exert this type of compound effect upon over-all system performance: the human's unconscious processes. Clinical psychology seems to provide clear evidence that a large proportion of a human's everyday activity is significantly mediated or basically prompted by unconscious mental processes that, although "natural" in a functional sense, are not rational. The observable mechanisms of these processes (observable by another, trained person) includes masking of the irrationality of the human's actions which are so affected, so that few of us will admit that our actions might be irrational, and most of us can construct satisfying rationales for any action that may be challenged.2c5g4
Anything that might have so general an effect upon our mental actions as is implied here, is certainly a candidate for ultimate consideration in the continuing development of our intellectual effectiveness. It may be that the first stages of research on augmenting the human intellect will have to proceed without being able to do anything about this problem except accommodate to it as well as possible. This may be one of the very significant problems whose solution awaits our development of increased intellectual effectiveness.2c5g5

III. EXAMPLES AND DISCUSSION3

A. BACKGROUND3a

The conceptual structure which we have evolved to orient and guide the pursuit of increasing man's intellectual effectiveness has been described in the foregoing sections in a rather general and abstract fashion. In this section we shall try to develop more concrete images of these concepts, of some of the future possibilities for augmentation, and of the relationship between these different concepts and possibilities.3a1
It must be borne in mind that a great deal of study and invention is yet to be done in developing the improved augmentation means that are bound to come, and that the examples which we present in this report are intended only to show what is meant by the generalizations which we use, and to provide a feeling on the part of the reader for the richness and power of the improvements we can likely develop in our augmentation means. Many of the examples are realizable today (in fact, some have been realized) and most of the rest are reasonably straightforward extrapolations into the near future. We predict that what actually develops in the new augmentation means will be consistent with our conceptual framework, but that the particulars will be full of surprises.3a2
Each of the examples will show a facet of how the little steps that the human can take with his sensory-mental-motor apparatus can be organized cooperatively with the capabilities of artifacts to accomplish significant things in the way of achieving comprehension and solving problems. This organization, as we have shown in Section II, can be viewed as the five different types of structuring which we outlined, where much of the structuring that goes on in the human's total problem solving activity is for the purpose of building a mental structure which in a way "puts the human up where he can see what is going on and can point the direction to move next."3a3
An early paper, offering suggestions toward augmenting the human intellect, that fits well and significantly within the framework which we have developed was written by Vannevar Bush[6] in 1945. Indeed, it fits so well, and states its points so nicely, that it was deemed appropriate to our purpose here to summarize it in detail and to quote from it at considerable length.3a4

1. What Vannevar Bush proposed in 19453a5

He wrote as World War II was coming to an end, and his principal purpose seemed to be to offer new professional objectives to those scientists who were soon to be freed from war-motivated research and development. It would seem that he also wished to induce a general recognition of a growing problem—storage, retrieval, and manipulation of information for and by intellectual workers—and to show the possibilities he foresaw for scientific development of equipment which could significantly aid such workers in facing this problem. He summarized the situation: "...There is a growing mountain of research...The investigator is staggered by the findings and conclusions of thousands of other workers. Professionally our methods of transmitting and reviewing the results of research are generations old...truly significant attainments become lost in the mass of the inconsequential...The summation of human experience is being expanded at a prodigious rate, and the means we use for threading through the consequent maze to the momentarily important item is the same as was used in the days of square-rigged ships."3a5a
Then he brought out some general considerations for hope: "... But there are signs of a change as new and powerful instrumentalities come into use...Photocells...advanced photography...thermionic tubes... cathode ray tubes...relay combinations...there are plenty of mechanical aids with which to effect a transformation in scientific records." And he points out that devices which we commonly use today—e.g., a calculating machine or an automobile—would have been impossibly expensive to produce in earlier eras of our technological development. "...The world has arrived at an age of cheap complex devices of great reliability and something is bound to come of it."3a5b
In six and a half pages crammed full of well-based speculations, Bush proceeds to outline enough plausible artifact and methodology developments to make a very convincing case for the augmentation of the individual intellectual worker. Extension of existing photographic techniques to give each individual a continuously available miniature camera for recording anything in view and of interest, and to realize a high-quality 100:1 linear reduction ratio for micro-record files for these photographs and published material; voice-recognition equipment (perhaps requiring a special language) to ease the process of entering new self-generated material into the written record—these are to provide the individual with information-generating aid.3a5c
For the detailed manipulation of mathematical and logical expressions, Bush projects computing aids (which have been surpassed by subsequent development) that allow the individual to exercise a greater proportion of his time and talents in the tasks of selecting data and the appropriate transformations and processes which are to be executed, leaving to the machinery the subsequent execution. He suggests that new notation for our verbal symbols (perhaps binary) could allow character recognition devices to help even further in the information-manipulation area, and also points out that poor symbolism ("...the exceedingly crude way in which mathematicians express their relationships. They employ a symbolism which grew like Topsy and has little consistency; a strange fact in that most logical field.") stands in the way of full realization of machine help for the manipulations associated with the human's real time process of mathematical work. And "...Then, on beyond the strict logic of the mathematician, lies the application of logic in everyday affairs. We may some day click off arguments on a machine with the same assurance that we now enter sales on a cash register."3a5d
Then " ..So much for the manipulation of ideas and their insertion into the record. Thus far we seem to be worse off than before—for we can enormously extend the record; yet even in its present bulk we can hardly consult it. This is a much larger matter than merely the extraction of data for the purposes of scientific research; it involves the entire process by which man profits by his inheritance of acquired knowledge The prime action of use is selection, and here we are halting indeed. There may be millions of fine thoughts, and the account of the experience on which they are based, all encased within stone walls of acceptable architectural form; but if the scholar can get at only one a week by diligent search, his syntheses are not likely to keep up with the current scene." He goes on to discuss possible developments that could allow very rapid (in the human's time frame) selection of unit records from a very large file—where the records could be dry-process photographic micro-images upon which the user could add information at will.3a5e
Bush goes on to say, "The real heart of the matter of selection, however, goes deeper than a lag in the adoption of mechanisms...Our ineptitude in getting at the record is largely caused by the artificiality of systems of indexing." He observes the power of the associative recall which human memory exhibits, and proposes that a mechanization of selection by association could be realized to considerable advantage. He spends the last two pages (a quarter of his article) describing a device embodying this capability, and points out some features of its use and of its likely effect. This material is so relevant and so well put that I quote it in its entirety:3a5f
"Consider a future device for individual use, which is a sort of mechanized private file and library. It needs a name, and to coin one at random, "memex" will do. A memex is a device in which an individual stores all his books, records, and communications, and which is mechanized so that it may be consulted with exceeding speed and flexibility. It is an enlarged intimate supplement to his memory.3a5f1
"It consists of a desk, and while it can presumably be operated from a distance, it is primarily the piece of furniture at which he works. On the top are slanting translucent screens, on which material can be projected for convenient reading. There is a keyboard, and sets of buttons and levers. Otherwise it looks like an ordinary desk.3a5f2
"In one end is the stored material. The matter of bulk is well taken care of by improved microfilm. Only a small part of the interior of the memex is devoted to storage, the rest to mechanism. Yet if the user inserted 5000 pages of material a day it would take him hundreds of years to fill the repository, so he can be profligate and enter material freely.3a5f3
"Most of the memex contents are purchased on microfilm ready for insertion. Books of all sorts, pictures, current periodicals, newspapers, are thus obtained and dropped into place. Business correspondence takes the same path. And there is provision for direct entry. On the top of the memex is a transparent platen. On this are placed longhand notes, photographs, memoranda, all sort of things. When one is in place, the depression of a lever causes it to be photographed onto the next blank space in a section of the memex film, dry photography being employed.3a5f4
"There is, of course, provision for consultation of the record by the usual scheme of indexing. If the user wishes to consult a certain book, he taps its code on the keyboard, and the title page of the book promptly appears before him, projected onto one of his viewing positions. Frequently-used codes are mnemonic, so that he seldom consults his code book; but when he does, a single tap of a key projects it for his use. Moreover, he has supplemental levers. On deflecting one of these levers to the right he runs through the book before him, each page in turn being projected at a speed which just allows a recognizing glance at each. If he deflects it further to the right, he steps through the book 10 pages at a time; still further at 100 pages at a time. Deflection to the left gives him the same control backwards.3a5f5
"A special button transfers him immediately to the first page of the index. Any given book of his library can thus be called up and consulted with far greater facility than if it were taken from a shelf. As he has several projection positions, he can leave one item in position while he calls up another. He can add marginal notes and comments, taking advantage of one possible type of dry photography, and it could even be arranged so that he can do this by a stylus scheme, such as is now employed in the telautograph seen in railroad waiting rooms, just as though he had the physical page before him.3a5f6
"All this is conventional, except for the projection forward of present-day mechanisms and gadgetry. If affords an immediate step, however, to associative indexing, the basic idea of which is a provision whereby any item may be caused at will to select immediately and automatically another. This is the essential feature of the memex. The process of tying two items together is the important thing.3a5f7
"When the user is building a trail, he names it, inserts the name in his code book, and taps it out on his keyboard. Before him are the two items to be joined, projected onto adjacent viewing positions. At the bottom of each there are a number of blank code spaces, and a pointer is set to indicate one of these on each item. The user taps a single key, and the items are permanently joined. In each code space appears the code word. Out of view, but also in the code space, is inserted a set of dots for photocell viewing; and on each item these dots by their positions designate the index number of the other item.3a5f8
"Thereafter, at any time, when one of these items is in view, the other can be instantly recalled merely by tapping a button below the corresponding code space. Moreover, when numerous items have been thus joined together to form a trail, they can be reviewed in turn, rapidly or slowly, by deflecting a lever like that used for turning the pages of a book. It is exactly as though the physical items had been gathered together to form a new book. It is more than this, for any item can be joined into numerous trails.3a5f9
"The owner of the memex, let us say, is interested in the origin and properties of the bow and arrow. Specifically he is studying why the short Turkish bow was apparently superior to the English long bow in the skirmishes of the Crusades. He has dozens of possibly pertinent books and articles in his memex. First he runs through an encyclopedia, finds and interesting but sketchy article, leaves it projected, Next, in a history, he finds another pertinent item, and ties the two together. Thus he goes, building a trail of many items. Occasionally he inserts a comment of his own, either linking it into the main trail or joining it by a side trail to a particular item. When it becomes evident that the elastic properties of available materials had a great deal to do with the bow, he branches off on a side trail which takes him through textbooks on elasticity and tables of physical constants. He inserts a page of longhand analysis of his own. Thus he builds a trail of his interest through the maze of materials available to him.3a5f10
"And his trails do not fade. Several years later, his talk with a friend turns to the queer ways in which a people resist innovations, even of vital interest. He has an example, in the fact that the outranged Europeans still failed to adopt the Turkish bow. In fact he has a trail on it. A touch brings up the code book. Tapping a few keys projects the head of the trail. A lever runs through it at will, stopping at interesting items, going off on side excursions. It is an interesting trail, pertinent to the discussion. So he sets a reproducer in action, photographs the whole trail out, and passes it to his friend for insertion in his own memex, there to be linked into the more general trail.3a5f11
"Wholly new forms of encyclopedias will appear, ready-made with a mesh of associative trails running through them, ready to be dropped into the memex and there amplified. The lawyer has at his touch the associated opinions and decisions of his whole experience, and of the experience of friends and authorities. The patent attorney has on call the millions of issued patents, with familiar trails to every point of his client's interest. The physician, puzzled by its patient's reactions, strikes the trail established in studying an earlier similar case, and runs rapidly through analogous case histories, with side references to the classics for the pertinent anatomy and histology. The chemist, struggling with the synthesis of an organic compound, has all the chemical literature before him in his laboratory, with trails following the analogies of compounds, and side trails to their physical and chemical behavior.3a5f12
"The historian, with a vast chronological account of a people, parallels it with a skip trail which stops only at the salient items, and can follow at any time contemporary trails which lead him all over civilization at a particular epoch. There is a new profession of trail blazers, those who find delight in the task of establishing useful trails through the enormous mass of the common record. The inheritance from the master becomes, not only his additions to the world's record, but for his disciples the entire scaffolding by which they were erected.3a5f13
"Thus science may implement the ways in which man produces, stores, and consults the record of the race. It might be striking to outline the instrumentalities of the future more spectacularly, rather than to stick closely to the methods and elements now known and undergoing rapid development, as has been done here. Technical difficulties of all sorts have been ignored, certainly, but also ignored are means as yet unknown which may come any day to accelerate technical progress as violently as did the advent of the thermionic tube. In order that the picture may not be too commonplace, by reason of sticking to present-day patterns, it may be well to mention one such possibility, not to prophesy but merely to suggest, for prophecy based on extension of the known has substance, while prophecy founded on the unknown is only a doubly involved guess.3a5f14
"All our steps in creating or absorbing material of the record proceed through one of the senses—the tactile when we touch keys, the oral when we speak or listen, the visual when we read. Is it not possible that some day the path may be established more directly?3a5f15
"We know that when the eye sees, all the consequent information is transmitted to the brain by means of electrical vibrations in the channel of the optic nerve. This is an exact analogy with the electrical vibrations which occur in the cable of a television set: they convey the picture from the photocells which see it to the radio transmitter from which it is broadcast. We know further that if we can approach that cable with the proper instruments, we do not need to touch it; we can pick up those vibrations by electrical induction and thus discover and reproduce the scene which is being transmitted, just as a telephone wire may be tapped for its message.3a5f16
"The impulses which flow in the arm nerves of a typist convey to her fingers the translated information which reaches her eye or ear, in order that the fingers may be caused to strike the proper keys. Might not these currents be intercepted, either in the original form in which information is conveyed to the brain, or in the marvelously metamorphosed form in which they then proceed to the hand?3a5f17
"By bone conduction we already introduce sounds into the nerve channels of the deaf in order that they may hear. Is it not possible that we may learn to introduce them without the present cumbersomeness of first transforming electrical vibrations to mechanical ones, which the human mechanism promptly transforms back to the electrical form? With a couple of electrodes on the skull the encephalograph now produces pen-and-ink traces which bear some relation to the electrical phenomena going on in the brain itself. True, the record is unintelligible, except as it points out certain gross misfunctioning of the cerebral mechanism; but who would now place bounds on where such a thing may lead?3a5f18
"In the outside world, all forms of intelligence, whether of sound or sight, have been reduced to the form of varying currents in an electric circuit in order that they may be transmitted. Inside the human frame exactly the same sort of process occurs. Must we always transform to mechanical movements in order to proceed from one electrical phenomenon to another? It is a suggestive thought, but it hardly warrants prediction without losing touch with reality and immediateness.3a5f19
"Presumably man's spirit should be elevated if he can better review his shady past and analyze more completely and objectively his present problems. He has built a civilization so complex that he needs to mechanize his record more fully if he is to push his experiment to its logical conclusion and not merely become bogged down part way there by overtaxing his limited memory. His excursion may be more enjoyable if he can reacquire the privilege of forgetting the manifold things he does not need to have immediately at hand, with some assurance that he can find them again if they prove important.3a5f20
"The applications of science have built man a well-supplied house, and are teaching him to live healthily therein. They have enabled him to throw masses of people against another with cruel weapons. They may yet allow him truly to encompass the great record and to grow in the wisdom of race experience. He may perish in conflict before he learns to wield that record for his true good. Yet, in the application of science to the needs and desires of man, it would seem to be a singularly unfortunate stage at which to terminate the process, or to lose hope as to the outcome.3a5f21

2. Comments Related to Bush's Article3a6

There are many significant items in the article, but the main ones upon which we shall comment here will be those relative to the use and implications of his Memex. The associative trails whose establishment and use within the files he describes at some length provide a beautiful example of a new capability in symbol structuring that derives from new artifact-process capability, and that provides new ways to develop and portray concept structures. Any file is a symbol structure whose purpose is to represent a variety of concepts and concept structures in a way that makes them maximally available and useful to the needs of the human's mental-structure development—within the limits imposed by the capability of the artifacts and human for jointly executing processes of symbol-structure manipulation. The Memex allows a human user to do more conveniently (less energy, more quickly) what he could have done with relatively ordinary photographic equipment and filing systems, but he would have had to spend so much time in the lower-level processes of manipulation that his mental time constants of memory and patience would have rendered the system unusable in the detailed and intimate sense which Bush illustrates.3a6a
The Memex adds a factor of speed and convenience to ordinary filing-system (symbol-structuring) processes that would encourage new methods of work by the user, and it also adds speed and convenience for processes not generally used before. Making it easy to establish and follow the associative trails makes practical a new symbol-structuring process whose use can make a significant difference in the concept structuring and bssic methods of work. It is also probable that clever usage of associative-trail manipulation can augment the human's process structuring and executing capabilities so that he could successfully make use of even more powerful symbol-structure manipulation processes utilizing the Memex capabilities. An example of this general sort of thing was given by Bush where he points out that the file index can be called to view at the push of a button, which implicitly provides greater capability to work within more sophisticated and complex indexing systems3a6b
Note, too, the implications extending from Bush's mention of one user duplicating a trail (a portion of his structure) and giving it to a friend who can put it into his Memex and integrate it into his own trail (structure). Also note the "wholly new forms of encyclopedia", the profession of "trail blazers," and the inheritance from a master including "the entire scaffolding" by which such additions to the world's record were erected. These illustrate the types of changes in the ways in which people can cooperate intellectually that can emerge from the augmentation of the individuals. This type of change represents a very significant part of the potential value in pursuing research directly on the means for making individuals intellectually more effective.3a6c

3. Some Possibilities with Cards and Relatively Simple Equipment3a7

A number of useful new structuring processes can be made available to an individual through development and use of relatively simple equipment that is mostly electromechanical in nature and relatively cheap. We can begin developing examples of this by describing the hand operated, edge-notched card system that I developed and used over the past eight years.3a7a
a. An Existing Note and File System3a7b
The "unit records" here, unlike those in the Memex example, are generally scraps of typed or handwritten text on IBM-card sized edge-notchable cards. These represent little "kernels" of data, thought, fact, consideration, concepts, ideas, worries, etc., that are relevant to a given problem area in my professional life. Each such specific problem area has its notecards kept in a separate deck, and for each such deck there is a master card with descriptors associated with individual holes about the periphery of the card. There is a field of holes reserved for notch coding the serial number of a reference from which the note on a card may have been taken, or the serial number corresponding to an individual from whom the information came directly (including a code for myself, for self-generated thoughts).3a7b1
None of the principles of indexing or sorting used here is new: coordinate-indexing descriptors with direct coding on edge notched cards, with needle-sort retrieval. Mainly what is new is the use of the smaller units of information, in restricted-subject sets (notedecks) so that I gain considerable flexibility in the manipulations of my thought products at the level at which I actually work