What to Do about the Four Pieces Limit

This is probably the most pressing problem in software – how to improve the ability of a person to handle complex tasks.

For some tasks, we can take them away from a person – dangerous manoeuvres in military and rescue helicopters, pilot override in commercial jets. It is a blow to the pilot’s ego, but reliability in life-critical situations …

For other tasks, we can’t take the task away, so we have to augment the person’s ability. A person is very good when focusing on a facet of a problem, not so good at keeping a large, complex problem “live” in their head.

Having a machine read the text and hold it “live” has two major advantages.

Everybody can see which definition is being used for every word or wordgroup, and can argue the case that a different definition should be used. A good way to get a tyro up to speed. 

The machine will have built a structure from the text that can be activated, so questions like “What happens if do this” can be easily answered. The machinery the machine has built can be run, and results observed – particularly results where only imaginary data exists.

By playing with a working model of the text, a great deal of insight can be gained before “cutting steel”.