This report has treated one over-all view of the augmentation of human
intellect. In the report the following things have been done: (1) An hypothesis
has been presented. (2) A conceptual framework has been constructed. (3)
A "picture" of augmented man has been described. (4) A research
approach has been outlined. These aspects will be re viewed here briefly:
- An hypothesis has been stated that the intellectual effectiveness of
a human can be significantly improved by an engineering-like approach toward
redesigning changeable components of a system.
- A conceptual framework has been constructed that helps provide a way
of looking at the implications and possibilities surrounding and stemming
from this hypothesis. Briefly, this framework provides the realization
that our intellects are already augmented by means which appear to have
the following characteristics:
- The principal elements are the language artifacts, and methodology
that a human has learned to use.
- The elements are dynamically interdependent within an operating system.
- The structure of the system seems to be hierarchical, and to be best
considered as a hierarchy of process capabilities whose primitive components
are the basic human capabilities and the functional capabilities of the
artifacts--which are organized successively into ever-more-sophisticated
- The capabilities of prime interest are those associated with manipulating
symbols and concepts in support of organizing and executing processes from
which are ultimately derived human compre hension and problem solutions.
- The automatlon of the symbol manipulation associated with the minute-by-minute
mental processes seems to offer a logical next step in the evolution of
our intellectual capability.
- A picture of the implications and promise of this framework has been
described, based upon direct human communication with a computer. Here
the many ways in which the computer could be of service, at successive
levels of augmented capability, have been brought out. This picture is
fanciful, but we believe it to be conservative and representative of the
sort of rich and significant gains that are there to be pursued.
- An approach has been outlined for testing the hypothesis of Item (1)
and for pursuing the "rich and significant gains" which we feel
are promised. This approach is designed to treat the redesign of a capability
hierarchy by reworking from the bottom up, and yet to make the research
on augmentation means progress as fast as possible by deriving practically
usable augmentation systems for real-world problem solvers at a maximum
rate. This goal is fostered by the recommendation of incorporating positive
feedback into the research development--i.e., concentrating a good share
of the basic-research attention upon augmenting those capabilities in a
human that are needed in the augmentation-research workers The real-world
applications would be pursued by designing a succession of systems for
specialists, whose progression corresponds to the increasing generality
of the capabilities for which coordinated augmentation means have been
evolved. Consideration is given in this rather global approach to providing
potential users in different domains of intellectualactivity with the basic
general-purpose augmentation system from which they themselves can construct
the special featuresof a system to match their job, and their ways of working--or
it could be used on the other hand by researchers who want to pursue the
development of sepcial augmentation systems for special fields.