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Author Topic: Computers and steps  (Read 1183 times)
dree12
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October 20, 2011, 09:11:15 PM
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During one of my courses, the professor was attempting to explain how to view foriegn characters when they look like boxes. His instructions were:

Click "View"
Click the language you are trying to view

These instuctions, obviously, don't work in any browser or OS. But what is it that makes him recall these? Humans are good at figuring things out, but it seems we aren't so good at recalling how we figured them out (I, myself, admit to many hazy instructions - that seems to be simply the way we work).

So, how does this apply remotely to bitcoin? It doesn't (aside from the obvious 90% of the world not being able to use it). Is there a reason I'm missing that we seem incapable of remembering the steps to do these simple tasks?
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BitcoinPorn
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October 20, 2011, 09:16:51 PM
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I believe using search engines leads to memory loss.  There are studies.

theymos
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October 20, 2011, 09:21:44 PM
 #3

He was probably thinking of changing character encoding. This can fix problems with broken characters.

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October 20, 2011, 10:41:52 PM
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My apologies for the long post here, but I just had a test on this type of info in my psychology class last week >_>

Part of it could be an aspect of memory itself.  You've got two distinct types of long-term memory, explicit and implicit.  Explicit would be things like "I remember what I was doing on New Year's Eve" but implicit could be things like "I can type a phrase on the keyboard but I can't state the bottom row of the keyboard from memory without looking".  The implicit part here could explain why we know how to do something but find it difficult to explain WHY we know it.

As for forgetting, there are a couple different theories as to why we forget things.  One theory is that we never really remembered it in the first place.  For instance, if you tried right now to draw the back face of a penny, you couldn't do it fully.  You'd get basic shapes and characteristics, but you won't remember the details of what exactly is placed where.  This is called "encoding failure".  Another theory is the decay theory, like a leaky bucket, and if you don't periodically refresh a memory, it will be lost.  While this theory is mostly discredited, it's believed to play a small role in forgetting.

There's also the interference theory, where either old information interferes with the forming of a new memory, or vice versa.  In this case, perhaps the professor later learned something else that involved the View menu (changing font size, or like theymos said, changing the character encoding), and it interfered with his old memory of fixing the boxes.

Other memory distortions include terms such as "the misinformation effect" (new postevent information influences your memory of the event itself), "source confusion" (misremembering the source of the memory), the idea of "schemas" (current knowledge influencing what is remembered), and the idea of being able to completely fabricate false memories.

All that said, I'd suspect it's the interference theory in this case, but who knows what the actual reason was.  Also this:  http://xkcd.com/627/
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October 20, 2011, 10:45:02 PM
 #5

I believe using search engines leads to memory loss.  There are studies.

If a search engine is an index of the internet, then my brain has become a meta-index of the internet. All I have to remember is what key words to type into Google and a significant portion of human knowledge awaits me. Now all that's left is to speed up this process, and to speed up the process at which I can consume said knowledge...
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October 21, 2011, 04:12:59 AM
 #6

During one of my courses, the professor was attempting to explain how to view foriegn characters when they look like boxes. His instructions were:

Click "View"
Click the language you are trying to view

These instuctions, obviously, don't work in any browser or OS. But what is it that makes him recall these? Humans are good at figuring things out, but it seems we aren't so good at recalling how we figured them out (I, myself, admit to many hazy instructions - that seems to be simply the way we work).

So, how does this apply remotely to bitcoin? It doesn't (aside from the obvious 90% of the world not being able to use it). Is there a reason I'm missing that we seem incapable of remembering the steps to do these simple tasks?

Human memory abilities are shockingly bad, to the point that we nearly always remembered things that happened to us incorrectly. Therefore, we use heuristics to rebuild experiences, knowledge and memories from patterns we observe on a daily basis, limiting the knowledge we are actually required to store.

This also helps us with solving new problems to. Say I put a new operating system in front of you, one of my own design. I say "change the language to Chinese". The first thing you are going to do is search for some kind of Control Panel or System settings menu, followed by looking for a "language" or "accessibility" submenu and will continue using similar terms and concepts until you find the option to change the language.

What would happen if you had strictly concrete knowledge without the ability to use heuristics to memorize patterns, assuming you had only used the professor's imagined OS? The first thing you would do is look for the "View" button, and upon not finding it wouldn't be able to continue with the task of changing the language to Chinese.

As a species, we have traded the ability to have exact and perfect memorization for the ability to (somewhat inaccurately) reconstruct old knowledge while having the ability to construct new knowledge from past experiences.


Your professor has likely only had to do this task once or twice, and has therefor not trained himself enough to reconstruct all/most of the process from memory.
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October 21, 2011, 07:55:14 AM
 #7

I experienced a similar thing to what the OP describes yesterday.  I was creating a database and had a problem with linking the tables and I couldn't for the life of me recall how I'd solved the problem in the past - even though I recalled encountering the same problem in the past and finding a solution.

There's a fascinating UK series on the human brain and memory is very interesting in its own right.  There seems to be some pretty compelling research indicating that when we recall events we aren't actually recalling those events directly but instead recalling our memory of them - and that when we "resave" them after recalling them they are often changed in some way (so the more often we recall something, the more distorted our memory of the event becomes).

All I can say is that this is Bitcoin. I don't believe it until I see six confirmations.
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October 21, 2011, 08:46:18 AM
 #8

My memory has some funny quirks.  I can know people for years and not be able to tell you their eye colour.  I wouldn't be able to tell you whether someone I talked to an hour ago was wearing jewellery unless my attention had been specifically drawn to it.  And yet I remember people's speech patterns with astonishing accuracy as well as how they move.

My brain clearly has a preference for certain types of information but there seems to be no particular reason for that preference.  And what's even more confusing is that while I don't recall events very well visually, I remember other information best if I was exposed to it in written form.

All I can say is that this is Bitcoin. I don't believe it until I see six confirmations.
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October 21, 2011, 08:55:02 PM
 #9

My memory has some funny quirks.  I can know people for years and not be able to tell you their eye colour.  I wouldn't be able to tell you whether someone I talked to an hour ago was wearing jewellery unless my attention had been specifically drawn to it.  And yet I remember people's speech patterns with astonishing accuracy as well as how they move.

My brain clearly has a preference for certain types of information but there seems to be no particular reason for that preference.  And what's even more confusing is that while I don't recall events very well visually, I remember other information best if I was exposed to it in written form.

I'd say the first part there is a combination of "encoding failure" and "selective attention" - as demonstrated in this Youtube video (hopefully you haven't seen it before, and don't read the video description first) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJG698U2Mvo

Another similar aspect is known as "change blindness" and while it doesn't really apply here, there's another fascinating video demonstrating it - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38XO7ac9eSs
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October 21, 2011, 08:57:44 PM
 #10

I believe using search engines leads to memory loss.  There are studies.
Is this why I keep forgetting what naked women look like?

I am an employee of Ripple.
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October 21, 2011, 09:19:13 PM
 #11

I believe using search engines leads to memory loss.  There are studies.

Those studies weren't so much about memory as they were about reasoning skills and basically getting mentally 'lazy' since we learn that everything can be figured out by pointing and clicking.

I have had that problem my whole life. Even with easy mathematics I reach for the calculator.

I am living example of this. Search engines made my brain lazy.
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October 22, 2011, 03:59:03 PM
 #12



I'd say the first part there is a combination of "encoding failure" and "selective attention" - as demonstrated in this Youtube video (hopefully you haven't seen it before, and don't read the video description first) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJG698U2Mvo


where we not supposed to notice it? by the way I counted 13 not fifteen but then again I was distracted by a simian chest thump

dominus mysteria
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