Manfred's Life.

Bit by Bit.

Cognitive Shortcuts: The Secret to Efficient Perception and Coding

“The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.” - Robertson Davies

Our brain is a master of optimization. It constantly processes vast amounts of information, filtering out the noise and focusing on what’s important. This is particularly evident in how we perceive visual and auditory information, and even in how we code.

Vision: The Art of Seeing

Vision works by light entering our eyes and being converted into electrical signals that our brain can interpret. However, our brain doesn’t process all the visual information it receives. Instead, it takes shortcuts, focusing on key details and filling in the gaps based on our past experiences and expectations.

This is how optical illusions work. They trick our brain into seeing things that aren’t there or perceiving things differently than they actually are. Magicians also exploit these shortcuts, using misdirection and sleight of hand to create illusions.

Understanding these processes can help us optimize visual information. For example, codecs compress images and videos by removing unnecessary details, reducing the file size without significantly impacting the perceived quality. The more we understand how vision works, the better we can optimize and use it.

Language: The Power of Words

Language works in a similar way. When we listen to someone speak, our brain doesn’t process each word individually. Instead, it takes shortcuts, focusing on key words and using context to understand the meaning.

This is why we can hear our name in a crowd, even if everyone is talking at the same time. Our brain is tuned to recognize certain sounds and patterns, allowing us to pick out relevant information from a sea of noise.

Reading also involves shortcuts. We don’t read every letter of every word. Instead, we recognize the shape of the word as a whole. This allows us to read in a diagonal or skim through a text, quickly absorbing the main ideas without having to read every word.

Understanding these processes can help us optimize language processing. For example, speed reading techniques teach us to minimize subvocalization and focus on groups of words, increasing our reading speed without sacrificing comprehension. The more we understand how language works, the better we can optimize and use it.

Coding: The Symphony of Shortcuts

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” - Aristotle

Just as with vision and language, coding also involves a series of shortcuts. When you’re familiar with a programming language like Golang, which is designed with simplicity and clarity in mind, you don’t have to think about every little detail. Your brain recognizes patterns and structures, allowing you to write code more efficiently.

This is also true when reading log files or stack traces. Instead of reading every line, you learn to recognize patterns and focus on the key information. Over time, you develop a kind of ‘code intuition’, allowing you to quickly identify issues and understand how different parts of the codebase interact.

The same applies when using libraries. Once you’re familiar with a library, you don’t need to constantly refer to the documentation. You start making shortcuts, using the library more efficiently, and coding more complex things quickly. A Platform of Shared Commons

This is what I envision for the platform. I see it becoming a shared commons of well-known, widely used libraries. Thanks to its high level of transparency and auditability, it will be a platform where most users are experts, capable of building complex systems with ease.

The idea is to create a platform where the cognitive complexity is low, but the potential for creation is high. A platform where users don’t just consume content, but actively contribute to it, building on the work of others and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible.

The Future: Superpowers and Progress

With, I believe we can give users something akin to superpowers. As they become more familiar with the platform and its libraries, they’ll be able to build more complex systems more quickly. They’ll be able to make shortcuts, leveraging their knowledge and expertise to push their digital lives forward.

But it’s not just about individual progress. By fostering a community of experts, we can push humanity forward. We can enable more complex coordination, collaboration, and innovation. We can create a platform that not only adapts to the needs of its users, but also evolves with them, continually offering new possibilities and opportunities.

In conclusion, the principles of perception and optimization apply not just to vision and language, but also to coding. By understanding these principles, we can create platforms that are not only efficient and powerful, but also intuitive and accessible. Platforms that empower users, foster collaboration, and push the boundaries of what’s possible.

Last updated on 9 Oct 2023
 Edit on GitHub