49 Years ago. The World Was so Much Different Then…or was it?

Left: 1971 Rhein Mein Germany; Right: 2020 Huntsville, Alabama

I remember when the picture on the left was taken. I am standing next to my friend Fritz Thomas. I don’t remember who took the picture but I remember posing for it as though it was yesterday. This month I put my uniform back on for the first time in 49 years. I don’t know what I was expecting. The boots I wore in the service were the most comfortable shoes I ever wore. In fact, I wore them after I got out of the Air Force for several years until they finally wore out completely. Fritz and I both were sent to Korat, Thailand in 1972 to be part of the 388 Combat Support Group. I’ll never forget that Fritz met me at the side of the C-130 when I landed at Korat on the flight from Da-Nang Vietnam. We were both aircraft electricians and for a time both worked in the flight line battery shop at Korat. In 1972 the Air Force started spraying around the perimeter of their bases in Thailand with Agent Orange. When the 50-gallon drums were emptied of rainbow herbicide they brought them to us so we could use them for battery acid and soda water. As a result of that direct exposure, 49 years later we both have Parkinson’s disease and we stay in touch as much as we can. Continue reading “49 Years ago. The World Was so Much Different Then…or was it?”

PART II: The Impact of Important New Upgrades to Cognitive Load Theory on The Performance of Warriors Using Hi-Tech Systems

Introduction

In part I of this blog I laid the foundation for my claim that the Military needs to fully understand the recent upgrades to cognitive load theory (CLT) or risk wasting money, time and the performance improvements promised by new military technology. We followed the development of the theory from its genesis by John Sweller (1988) through 2012 when upgrades, based on research in the field of evolutionary educational psychology (Geary, 2008; Paas & Sweller, 2012) suggested that different kinds of information (social and cultural) are handled differently in working memory. Finally, we introduced new research that found that cognitive load could be actively controlled through the addition of specific visual stimuli that takes advantage of the brain’s bias towards socially-relevant information (Bevilacqua, Paas & Krigbaum, 2016: Bevilacqua 2017). It was also found that this bias works differently for males and females (Bevilacqua, 2017; Castro-Alonzo, et al., 2019). Continue reading “PART II: The Impact of Important New Upgrades to Cognitive Load Theory on The Performance of Warriors Using Hi-Tech Systems”

PART I: The Impact of Important New Upgrades to Cognitive Load Theory on The Performance of Warriors Using Hi-Tech Systems

Background

When John Sweller wrote his seminal paper on Cognitive Load Theory (CLT) in 1988 (Sweller, 1988) he was primarily interested in the differences in how experts and novices approached problem solving for learning and education. As the community of interest grew, researchers realized that how the information was presented to a learner (problem-solver) could help to guide problem solving and therefore improve learning and retention. This research occurred at a time when the age of digital communications and computer usage was exploding across the globe. During this time Researchers such as Richard Mayer (Mayer & Moreno, 2003) attempted to develop heuristics that would help people optimize the display of digital information for learners. Still others (Lavie, 2010; Lavie, Hirst, de Fockert, & Viding, 2004) started looking at the other side of the equation, i.e., human attention and understanding, to try to understand how that attribute of the human eye-brain system could best be guided to make more efficient use of the displayed information (Figure 1). That research determined that to focus attention on the desired information, the distracting effects of all other information must be reduced or removed. This led to more research in ways to optimize low cognitive load learning and work environments. Continue reading “PART I: The Impact of Important New Upgrades to Cognitive Load Theory on The Performance of Warriors Using Hi-Tech Systems”

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: Part 5: CORE Toolset

In this series I am writing several blog articles about Artificial Intelligence. This week’s article, the last in the series, introduces the CORE toolset that can be used by the Government under an existing license to meet most of its AI/ML needs. Continue reading “Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: Part 5: CORE Toolset”

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: Part 1: Defining Artificial Intelligence

In this series, I am writing several blog articles about Artificial Intelligence. We finally have enough processing power and memory to accomplish great things. However, after 40 years of working in this field I am amazed at what some companies are trying to sell as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. The purpose of these articles is to help the reader sift through the hype and discriminate real AI/ML from useless marketing that lacks real substance. This week’s articles concentrate on a simple but important aspect of the AI/ML problem….What is the REAL definition of AI and ML? Continue reading “Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: Part 1: Defining Artificial Intelligence”

How to Design and Build an Artificially-Intelligent Brain…(But Why?)

Introduction: Hints From Cognitive Load Theory and Evolutionary Psychology

Cognitive Load Theory attempts to understand how human working memory processes and stores information entering the brain through the sensory channels (Sweller). Research has shown that human working memory imposes limits on a human’s ability to store information (Baddeley & Hitch, 1974; Cowan, 2010; Miller, 1956) as well as the length of time it can be stored (Peterson & Peterson, 1959). According to this theory, working memory, therefore acts like a filter for sensory data, allowing it to be pre-processed before being passed on to long-term memory for longer term encoding and storage(Bartlett, 1932). Continue reading “How to Design and Build an Artificially-Intelligent Brain…(But Why?)”

A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread, and Thou. Three theories that explain almost everything we want to know in simple terms: PART 3, Thou – Who art Thou?

This series of posts attempts to explain everything you want to know in simple terms using part of a well-known verse from the Rubiayat of Omar Khayyam as a mental anchor (i.e., A jug of wine, a loaf of bread and Thou). The idea of using a mental anchor helps you to anchor this new information in your long-term memory by purposely connecting it to a schema (stored memory map) that you already have stored there. In the first two posts I used wine as the first anchor to explain that the brain’s constant evolutionary-driven need to protect you forms the basis of almost all of your behaviors…why you do what you do. In part two I put on my Physics hat and explained how we exist in both the time domain and the timeless domain simultaneously using the analog of a loaf of bread. This explains “where” we do what we do. Part three of this series will attempt to explain “Thou” i.e. , who are we”. Having the answers to these three important questions, Why do we do what we do, Where do we do what we do, and who are we, I will offer an answer that summarizes everything in simple terms. Continue reading “A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread, and Thou. Three theories that explain almost everything we want to know in simple terms: PART 3, Thou – Who art Thou?”