Friday, January 16, 2009

or maybe a balanced binary tree

At breakfast, I was chatting with "Lenny" about meetings. In particular, we discussed meetings that leave you feeling drained vs. ones that don't take up energy.

Lenny: "It's different when you're meeting with someone new. That's more draining."

Me: "That's true. Because you are creating a new entry in your memory, rather than appending to an existing entry."

Lenny: "Yes, it's expensive to make a new entry."

Me: "Deletion is also time-consuming."

Lenny: "Human memory must be a sorted linked list."

6 comments:

Robin Xu said...

It seems to me that people who work in Google or do anything that has to do with programming have their brains permanently set at that. Just look at the way you guys talk....

ArC said...

"That's more draining."

I thought that was an introvert vs extrovert thing, if M-B pop-psych web pages have taught me anything. Maybe some extroverts find it less strenuous to make a new entry than to read from an old one. {handwaves}

More seriously, I think it's about compatibility. (Not necessarily romantic.) Dealing with someone you don't click with takes more energy, and more so if they're new to you and you both haven't built up a mental model of each other to smooth over the incompatibilities. So I don't think this is about memory, not really.

That said, the science of long term memory vs short term is certainly fascinating.

writer said...

I have this theory that many human memory or thinking systems resemble computer systems because the people who designed them were subconsciously aware that the human mind worked a certain way, and so computer systems are actually designed to work like human memory, with varying levels of cache, read/write semantics, etc.

John K. Lin said...

@Writer - actually, current computer systems, at least according to Jeff Hawkins (creator of the PalmPilot), are not currently designed to mimic the the human mind...

http://www.numenta.com/ and http://www.onintelligence.org for more info...

@Robin Xu - not everyone at Google has conversations like Niniane...

grin said...

@ArC: It's obvious that it takes more energy to handle someone you dislike. The list is much longer. :-)

ArC said...

Surely human memory is more like an associative array?