TED Conversations

Raymond Ie

Web / Sofware developer,

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We need better tools for cooperation - not just better tools for our existing ways of communicating.

I realize how difficult it would be to change an existing language, but I'm not proposing REPLACEMENT, I'm proposing augmentation of communication between individuals and/or groups aided by software.

I believe that many (if not most) of the world's big problems are due to the inability of HUMANS TO COOPERATE WITH EACH OTHER.

While there are certainly many other factors that inhibit cooperation in any given situation, if verbal language was involved in an attempt to reach cooperation, the inherent features of the language itself must play a significant role. And I'm not talking about across 2 different languages, but within a single language, such as English.

In my attempt to clearly express this very idea, I am limited not only by my personal inadequacies in language, but also by the language skills of any reader, and the inherent properties of the verbal language itself.

I believe we could develop software tools that could facilitate the transmission of thought from one mind to another, minimizing the loss of fidelity caused by the medium (language) and the participants' competency over that medium.

The world has scientists and engineers that improve upon existing technologies in the physical and social sciences, and the organizations/funding, and systems to fuel innovation in those areas, but there doesn't seem to be any efforts to improve our abilities to cooperate.

There's education for improving people's abilities to use the existing languages we have, but not for how to improve the language itself. There's billions of $ invested in technologies to make it easier for us to communicate MORE, but not necessarily better.


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    Mar 2 2011: This is a good question, but perhaps the issue is not so much technology or software, but better understanding of the cultural divides between folks. I see these divides within higher education. Each discipline has differing methodologies and expectations. Some are open and others closed to new and different communication means.

    I have moderated workshops where we have spent the first day just developing an understanding of how the different communities work and then trying to create a common vocabulary so we can move forward to a common goal.

    Cultural differences, varied vocabulary, and expectations need to be flattened or modified into a level playing field then collaboration can be more productive.

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