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Thinking About Thinking

Image via Wade M / Flickr

Oh hey, it’s been a while. I haven’t carved out time to write lately because I have been busy thinking about thinking and it has been rather time consuming. When I mentioned to my longtime HR friend Joan that I wish I could get paid for just thinking, rather than thinking and doing – she suggested a career as a Professor. I don’t think so, at this stage in the game the time and associated debt for a PhD would wreck my golden years plan. I’ll just keep writing what I think here, hope you like it and collect that monthly Paypal deposit for advertising that buys my coffee.

Here are some of the things I have been thinking about lately:

edX – Take one of these free courses (or any MOOC) on something that will enrich your life. I’m taking (as if this will be a huge surprise) Think101x The Science of Everyday Thinking. I haven’t taken a college class since 1989.. umm it’s changed a bit and all for the better. Maybe if I could have taken for credit classes in pajamas on the couch I would have that PhD today.

Moral judgments – There’s this whole position that morality is divinely inspired and I actually don’t agree, have never agreed. So I think it’s awesome that the month I’m thinking about thinking, CNN posts about How your brain makes moral judgments. Prisons and jails are warehouses for the mentally ill with over 64% of inmates suffering from disorders (not only is that number way old IMO it’s way low). Not all brains work the same but they are all measured by the same societal standards and social norms. The system isn’t “broken” it simply has never been any good. We need to come up with another plan to help those who need it, and keep people safe.

Narcissism – What type of narcissist must one be to crank up their qualifications on a resume? I’m not talking about the typical embellishing we all know often goes on – I’m talking resume crack for a 5 year X 1m+ contract.

During the search for a new men’s basketball coach, an agreement in principle was reached by USF and candidate Steve Masiello. The agreement was pending a verification of credentials. Through the verification process it was determined the candidate’s credentials could not be substantiated and therefore he did not meet the requirements for the position. – bleacher report

If I can’t be paid for just thinking because I’m not a PhD Steve, you can’t be the coach because you didn’t graduate Kentucky. But I can be a speaker at conferences and seminars and you can coach high school and community leagues for much less or no money.

The ways people sabotage their opportunities for success – Leave it to Reader’s Digest funnies to highlight some of the best examples of candidate ineptitude.

An individual applied for a customer-service job, and when asked what he might not like about the job, he said, ‘Dealing with people’.

It’s amazing when people come in for an interview and say, ‘Can you tell me about your business?’ Seriously, people. There’s an Internet. Look it up.

Systems one and two and their bearing on decision making – Most of us have our mundane daily living routines well thought out and fairly down pat. But it only takes one poor decision to land you up in a dreadful or even fatal circumstance. Yeah, it could be life or death for sure, but more likely it’s decisions about timing, finances, health, influences and relationships. I’ve done okay with decision making all except for one category. I’m just taking that thinking course and hoping Daniel Kahneman figures out how to send me real telepathic messages to keep me focused.

I have also been thinking about NEPA BlogCon 2014, what it will mean if the Russians re-establish a naval base in Cuba, and if the Catholic Church will attract more converts because of Suor Cristina, who concocted a very devious scheme to get out of the convent to appear on The Voice Italy in the name of evangelization.

Click here for 8 hours of nature sounds to help you think…

 


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Image via Wade M / Flickr

Oh hey, it’s been a while. I haven’t carved out time to write lately because I have been busy thinking about thinking and it has been rather time consuming. When I mentioned to my longtime HR friend Joan that I wish I could get paid for just thinking, rather than thinking and doing – she suggested a career as a Professor. I don’t think so, at this stage in the game the time and associated debt for a PhD would wreck my golden years plan. I’ll just keep writing what I think here, hope you like it and collect that monthly Paypal deposit for advertising that buys my coffee.

Here are some of the things I have been thinking about lately:

edX – Take one of these free courses (or any MOOC) on something that will enrich your life. I’m taking (as if this will be a huge surprise) Think101x The Science of Everyday Thinking. I haven’t taken a college class since 1989.. umm it’s changed a bit and all for the better. Maybe if I could have taken for credit classes in pajamas on the couch I would have that PhD today.

Moral judgments – There’s this whole position that morality is divinely inspired and I actually don’t agree, have never agreed. So I think it’s awesome that the month I’m thinking about thinking, CNN posts about How your brain makes moral judgments. Prisons and jails are warehouses for the mentally ill with over 64% of inmates suffering from disorders (not only is that number way old IMO it’s way low). Not all brains work the same but they are all measured by the same societal standards and social norms. The system isn’t “broken” it simply has never been any good. We need to come up with another plan to help those who need it, and keep people safe.

Narcissism – What type of narcissist must one be to crank up their qualifications on a resume? I’m not talking about the typical embellishing we all know often goes on – I’m talking resume crack for a 5 year X 1m+ contract.

During the search for a new men’s basketball coach, an agreement in principle was reached by USF and candidate Steve Masiello. The agreement was pending a verification of credentials. Through the verification process it was determined the candidate’s credentials could not be substantiated and therefore he did not meet the requirements for the position. – bleacher report

If I can’t be paid for just thinking because I’m not a PhD Steve, you can’t be the coach because you didn’t graduate Kentucky. But I can be a speaker at conferences and seminars and you can coach high school and community leagues for much less or no money.

The ways people sabotage their opportunities for success – Leave it to Reader’s Digest funnies to highlight some of the best examples of candidate ineptitude.

An individual applied for a customer-service job, and when asked what he might not like about the job, he said, ‘Dealing with people’.

It’s amazing when people come in for an interview and say, ‘Can you tell me about your business?’ Seriously, people. There’s an Internet. Look it up.

Systems one and two and their bearing on decision making – Most of us have our mundane daily living routines well thought out and fairly down pat. But it only takes one poor decision to land you up in a dreadful or even fatal circumstance. Yeah, it could be life or death for sure, but more likely it’s decisions about timing, finances, health, influences and relationships. I’ve done okay with decision making all except for one category. I’m just taking that thinking course and hoping Daniel Kahneman figures out how to send me real telepathic messages to keep me focused.

I have also been thinking about NEPA BlogCon 2014, what it will mean if the Russians re-establish a naval base in Cuba, and if the Catholic Church will attract more converts because of Suor Cristina, who concocted a very devious scheme to get out of the convent to appear on The Voice Italy in the name of evangelization.

Click here for 8 hours of nature sounds to help you think…

 


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What is thinking?

There has been a tsunami of articles related to cognition over the last decade. How does your pet think? How (or should) we build thinking machines? How can you think better? How can intelligence itself be boosted? Etc.

This got me thinking about thinking, so I became involved in several discussions on LinkedIn and Google+ on how we should view the thinking process. Below is a short definition, one that includes many animals as well as, perhaps, computing devices today and/or in the future:

Thinking is the process of assimilating sensory information, integrating it into existing internal models of reality (or creating new models derived from old ones),  generating inferences about the past, future and present based on those models, and using those inferences as more input that can be assimilated into internal models via continuing feedback loops.

Artist: Robert Fludd;
From Wikimedia Commons

That’s pretty succinct for a complex idea, though I’m sure it oversimplifies things. For example, infants are likely born with a certain amount of “hard-wiring” that allows them to interpret the world in basic ways even before they’ve developed many internal models about how the world works.  Still, I’d argue that this definition gets at what we mean by thinking, whether it relates to bugs, birds, elephants or hominids.

What’s the point? Well, cognition is quickly becoming the name of the game in modern society in nearly any discipline you can name: learning, information science, bioethics, research, analytics, innovation, marketing, justice, genetics, etc.

A lot of what we will be doing in the future is trying to answer hard questions about thinking:

  • What (and how) do our customers think?
  • How are employees making decisions?
  • How can we make learning more efficient and effective?
  • How can we make machines that are better at solving problems?
  • How can we understand what is in the minds of criminals so that we can reduce crime and make better decisions in our justice systems?
  • How should we view and treat other thinking animals on the planet?
  • How does cognition interact with genetics?
  • Does it make sense to look at cybernetic approaches to enhancing thinking and comprehension?

To have better discussions around these and similar questions, we’ll need to develop better and more understandable cross-disciplinary definitions of terms such as thinking, consciousness (which seems to be a kind of attention to thinking), and comprehension. So, let the brainstorming begin.

Author: Solipsist;
From Wikimedia Commons.


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