I read the first 120 pages of Joseph Carrabis’ new book “Reading Virtual Minds Volume 1” last night and polished it off this morning while sitting at the airport.
The book certainly forced me to think about being really aware of being aware of how hard I was thinking. I was engaged the whole way though, and in the end, I asked “wholly shit, what just happened there?”
I spent the better part of the night dreaming about it (always a sign that something upstairs is getting restructured).
I’ll write about the experience without spoiling it for you.
Joseph tells the story about how NeuroCognitivePsychoLingualAnthropology came to be. In spite of how long that word is, the book is very accessible, readable, useful, and intensely personal. The love leaps off many pages. (And one page where the middle finger literally leaps off the page. It’s not directed at the reader and it’s refreshingly honest.)
I’m taking away more than a few things that’ll become part of my every day speech.
The first is how NextStage’s machine runs. Joseph explains the principles of how it works specifically and uses accessible metaphors to expand. Those with an appreciation for collective intelligence and algorithm design will want to pay attention to how he explains it: it’s superior.
The second relates to political science and some of the social ills (suppressed political participation) that a good colleague has been trying to understand for the better part of a decade. There are applications of the technology that could explain what we think we’re seeing in the Canadian Election Study (CES). While I hope that Elections Canada and SSHIRC continue to fund the CES, NextStage offers a method of predicting a breakout election and perhaps a compelling explanation for turnout suppression. I haven’t been more inspired since reading “How Institutions Evolve”.
The third goes to marketing. It’s generally accepted that people think differently. But how differently? And do those differences matter? And if so in which contexts? The book gives a concrete example of how much and how it matters to marketers. The notion of intensity channels is a useful and accessible schema for quantifying those differences and acting upon them.
The fourth goes to changes to how we define experience design. On this point, you really need to read the book for yourself.
The next three takeaways are far more personal.
The first deals with a preference of mediums. One NextStage dimension is ‘visual’, and it explains a lot about me. I’d sooner go over to somebody’s desk and talk before writing an email before sending a text message before picking up the phone. In that preference order. And this includes literally hunting somebody own in a large office to find them in person. If the person is remote, I’d much rather use email. I’m that visual. So whether that means looking a digital signal, composed entirely of words with no tone: at least I can see the shapes of the words and the patterns. Thankfully the world is coming around with video chat.
The second deals with being intuitive and filters. Thankfully, Joseph uses as much common vocabulary as possible. We all know what we’re talking about when it comes to filters. There’s a reason why it’s acceptable to fart in certain social situations and it’s utterly unacceptable to so happen so much as speak a run-on sentence in another: even though they’re both forms of passing gas. There’s a certain degree of self-awareness that goes with it: that a big part of understanding how others are reacting also involves the kinds of signals that you’re giving off.
The third will be the subject of future blog posts.
Just go get the book. It’s a very good read and most of the people I know who read this space will find it valuable.