The Build Up
It starts as a craze. With ever cheaper computing power, and terabytes of portable storage, people are recording everything and anything. It's not long before someone hooks up a subvocal recorder to their 'iPod', along with a primitive precursor of what will in time become an AI Neural Interface and downloading the capture daily to a more powerful computer for analysis.
- But what to make of the huge quantities of data captured? Conventional data mining software is only able to present a fraction of the many links and correlations that could be uncovered. A solution comes from an unlikely quarter. Graphical software for analysis of biochemical pathways.
- The mind maps produced show connections. They share something of the quality of primitive paper based mind maps, hence the name. However, they are different by orders of magnitude. The images are dense, complex, dynamic flowing diagrams, just as advanced computer biochemical pathway diagrams are. You can 'follow an idea' along a pathway, seeing how it transforms and changes, seeing how it interacts with other ideas. You can label an idea cluster, and then see how that 'label' spreads through the system. You can change the background conditions and see how the system reacts as a whole.
All very pretty, but what are they useful for?
- At one level it is just a very geeky kind of thing to do. People with high IQ's post the images of their own minds on their websites, and point to subtle fractal patterns in their thoughts as evidence of their own abilities.
- Others study the patterns and find remarkable correlations between recurring patterns and personality types.
- People who meditate show one set of patterns - that some would claim resemble a mandala.
- Successful businessmen show strong patterns too: most usually, but not always, of a very structured, active kind.
- Artists and writers often develop 'flowing' and smooth or chaotic, jumbled patterns, according to their particular styles.
Anyway, it's a craze. Everyone is doing it.
- From being a toy, in time the mind map becomes a tool. It becomes possible to look at ones thinking objectively, to debug it as if it were a program with many of the features of modern multi-processor programming. It's not that it was impossible to do that before, it is just that the visual presentation makes it far easier to do, and even fun. The jolt that one gets from cleaning up a parasitic thought cycle and making thought free flowing is a huge motivation for people to keep working at it. Scarily, people are becoming brighter.
- Equally scarily, computers are becoming brighter, too. This early mind map technology is one of the enabling technologies for the phone bots which can take your call in your absence. Of course these early AI's have limited originality, but even that is starting to change.
And then, a total wild card ...
- Researchers at Boston Memorial hospital experiment with reprogramming the implant a blind man is using to 'see' with. It gives him inner vision, that is the ability to see his own mind map in real time.
- The resolution, detail and immediacy of the experience are far more profound than is achievable with conventional viewing techniques. The result is unexpected ... as the man works through the patterns improving them ... making them more aesthetically to his taste ... by making changes in his own thinking ... the shift is not a small shift ...
- Eidetic memory comes easily.
- IQ shoots through the ceiling.
- The guy, a musician by profession, is composing music that outshines Bach, Beethoven and the Beatles.
This is a taste of what is to come, just a flukey once off at this moment in time, but enough to motivate cognoscientists to research harder and more effectively. Perhaps it's fortunate that it's not a magic procedure for boosting intelligence. Perhaps it's fortunate that it takes time, over five decades in fact, to refine the techniques, giving humanity time to adjust to the changes. Even once the procedure is refined and working well, it takes hard work, and it produces such spectacular results for only 5% of the population. Even so, that's a huge change for humanity.