Extending intelligence

Obtaining an appointment at a municipal office here in Berlin can be a distant dream. You have to check their website regularly for open slots. No sooner than these slots appear do people snap them up like a shoal of piranhas.

Since I did not enjoy visiting the website every 15 minutes or so, I wrote a computer script to do that and email me whenever it found an empty slot. That script performed the repetitive task so that my intellect was freed up to do something else.

Since the earliest of time, we humans have realized the limitations of our working memory and figured several ways to store away bits of our intelligence to play it back on command. From scribing hymns on clay tablets to writing machine learning algorithms, we have come a long way.

Extending our working memory can happen in various ways

  • To-do lists
  • Checklists
  • Reminders
  • Habits and routines
  • Outsourcing a task
  • Computer scripts

Our intelligence and memory may be limited. But there are limitless imaginative ways in which we can make up for this deficit.

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