Random thoughts on memory v.s. creativity

Creativity is so high-level presentation to human beings, though many scientist believe some animals may have similar capability.  After running through some recent readings, I have some random thoughts(or creativities) on the linkage between memory and creativity:

  • Memory is distributed over different areas in brain(though some argues some memories store as a whole
  • The recalling of memory is a kind of creation in new details
  • The animals without stable long term memory ay have creativities as well
  • The brain construct different type of psychophysical fictions from not-so-accurate memories then “emerges” creativity

What would be future smart watch?

Many smart watches will appear in market in the coming two years ,however, nobody really knows how those SW work and help your life, or giving you more distractions like many other devices.  It’s for sure many of them will die as well, for their over-engineered designs.

My answer to future smart watches?  Simple and neat functions, but not full-fledged like mobile phone or tablet today, nor previous PC on your wrist.

What the most powerful natural feature of a watch is it’s persistency of being with you, all the time if you didn’t take it off.  You can see it immediately whenever you popup a need of some information, e.g. the current time.  It can be called “immediate access”.  The most frequently used functions about time/space/people should be the more intimate function to our human being. It is why watches kept being a useful gadget for centuries.

We can try to make a watch more useful by just integrating calendar, contacts, locations(maps) into one small devices instead of making a full functioned mobile phone -like device.  With calendar, people can sync up with their desktop counterparts, to schedule and be reminded. With contacts management, we can find out who I should meet or schedule with Calendar; With location, I can easily find where I’m or search for my destination.  All the three functions can be supportive to each other, so you can easily find out if next week you are in Beijing, who should you meet , so you can propose them with just few swipes and finger pushes.

The device can be very useful just for such regular functions though they are all fundamental.  With a swift hardware/software synergization, some amazing new functions can emerge. E.g. we can totally eliminate today’s business card by using this tool. For two businessmen, they only need move closer to each other, with a simple finger tap, their contact information can be exchange in a second.  


Why there should be less other functions with a smart watch?  Because you may ignore those killer applications if you have too many other functions with one device. With many games, you will forget/ignore the very powerful book readers application on the devices. With camera apps, you will strongly rely on it to take pictures; with social networks, you can not help refreshing your timeline all the time.  The real critical information around your life, time/space/people will be eclipsed.

Device creators/designers, if not bothered by those full-functioned design, can be unleashed a lot to put more efforts on sharpen the limited functions, to be more killing. The cost of the devices, will be dramatically effective on those critical functions, instead of being wasteful on those unnecessary functions.

The operating system, which can choose simpler ones instead of energy-consuming ones like Android.  For Microsoft, they never can repeat their success on desktop, just because they want to copy the tedious desktop operating system into small devices.

elephants and neuroscience

In The Dhammapada, Buddha compared his desires to an elephant and his discipline to a human trainer:

In days gone by this mind of mine used to stray wherever selfish desire or lust or pleasure would lead it. Today this mind does not stray and is under the harmony of control, even as a wild elephant is controlled by the trainer.

  • Oxytocin isn’t just the “love hormone.” And dopamine isn’t merely “the reward neurotransmitter.” And serotonin isn’t just the “happy chemical.”
  • It’s an elegant way to understand the primary structure of the human brain. The old parts of the brain are like the elephant: A simple yet powerful creature, ruled by primal emotion and desires. The new brain (or prefrontal cortex) is the rider: Smarter and more rational but easily overpowered.
  • One paper published by a Duke University researcher in 2006 found that more than 40 percent of the actions people performed each day weren’t actual decisions, but habits.
  • 3 ways elephants and neuroscience can help you make better decisions - The Week

It’s very interesting to link up some recent memes together with this metaphor, which related to “rational v.s. emotional”(by Michio Kaku), “depress v.s. happy”(How to raise happy kids), “artistic v.s. logical”(Yan Peiming), “devil v.s. angel”(Sharism talk in Shanghai). etc. etc. All reflecting the paradox part in one intelligent individual, and eventually is intelligence v.s. complexity.