The above is actually actually a stock photo, but I did write the following
All Judeo-Christian religions require that a person be saved from their human shortcomings. My trashcan is my own, personal, Jesus
-Intro for my admissions essay to The Evergreen State College.
I justified this by explaining that my Simple Human garbage can has a humane design and then set about casting my ire consumer goods which cause undue physical and cognitive burden. I was accepted.
Moral conviction drives me to apply myself to social justice and environmental issues. If I had it my way, I would be doing transformational usability work for the likes of Method, Simple Human, OXO, Apple, Netflix, Facebook, and others. However, the longer I am in politics, the more I realize the importance of money, which compounds my desire to to just throw myself into a single project.
Here is one idea of many.
A Cognizer applies oneself to commit a Pattern to memory, so that the Cognizer would recognize future examples of the Pattern or be able to reproduce it.
With 300 students, in a class, essays, research projects, and even short answer test questions are out of the question. Those of us with poor memory are left unable to demonstrate our intellectual capacity.
Thankfully, in the late 1800′s, there was a crazy Russian that memorized volumes of random characters, tracked when he forgot them, and calculated the best time to practice them again. In the nineties, a Polish programmer iterated on his Russian brethren’s work and created SuperMemo -flashcard software that imbues one with super-human memorization skills. Sadly, SuperMemo stuck in a 90′s software and business and has terrible usability to boot.
Enter Cognizer a cloud based flashcard system with awesome usability based on college students sharing decks for different courses. The system would grow incrementally, course-by-course and then university-by-university, allowing for focused effort on iterative design instead of infrastructure.
At first, because of the controlled growth, course information such as instructors, books, and standardized lesson plans would be manually entered or scraped from university websites until professor’s offered a standard set as study aids. Eventually, an A/B testing back-end would allow professor’s and TA’s to implement a continual improvement cycle by testing course material such as, written examples, illustrations, and even basic course pedagogy. Combine a Creative Commons licensing scheme and open-source textbooks testing… there is little value that textbook publishers could offer which Cognizer wouldn’t provide for free.
The monetary value of the system would come not from ad-revenue, but selling the commercial-use licensing of the semantic information. Each deck is associated with a specific course, each card could be tagged with a controlled vocabulary, and (via learning algorithms and A/B testing) each question with an answer or fact. Bing, Google, and Yahoo have been trying to offer semantic natural language queries for a long time, with kindergartener results. How much would multiple versions of verified natural language question/answer pairs for every question asked on every major university course assignment and test be worth?
P.S. Evergreen offered me admission, I’m glad I chose UW.