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A Cybertruck for the Mind

Last updated on December 6, 2019


More Powerful Neural Interactions

For it to be possible to reach Mars and to keep our life on Earth sustainable, it is clear a lot has to change within technical innovations and how we as humans relate to each other. It is also clear that much of the important knowledge we will need to work with is stored as text, and that our interactions with text will need radical upgrades to carry our minds and our communication to the stars.

We can not only communicate better with more richly interactive text, it can also help us think by expanding our cognitive space–using the occipital lobe to augment our prefrontal cortex–like using a GPU to augment our CPU if you will.

You are working on giving us Neuralink which promises powerful potential. Even a direct neural connection will still need to interact with something of course–it will still need to interact with stored knowledge in some symbolic form with some sort of grammar to produce rich meaning. Text will continue to be an important part of intellectual and emotional life.

Interactions with Symbols

Our text interactions are still largely mired in the analog ways of looking and we need to unleash true digital text. If you pardon the analogy, this is like going from petrol to electric, this is like going from truck to cyber. I don’t mean that just as a riff on your awesome new vehicle (I drive an S by the way–thank you!).
­The word ‘cyber’ has roots in the greek kybernetes which means ‘steersman’ and this is indeed the dream of cyberspace; a place of free navigation. Paper-legacy based interactions do not allow for this, to put it mildly.
In 1968 my friend and mentor Doug Engelbart gave the world ‘the mother of all demos’ where he, in the words of one onlooker “flew through cyberspace with both hands”. Much of what he showed the world has been dumbed down to commercial shop demoes where the user expects to be an expert immediately. There is little in the Microsoft Office suite that can develop a deep literacy and skill like what an athlete, professional driver or pilot can develop with their vehicles.


What we can achieve can provide us with the means to analytically read, view and connect in powerful ways:

  • Instantly look anything up, not just in Google or Wikipedia
  • View text in flexible ways to speed up comprehension & analysis as graphs, networks, colour coded text and much more
  • Robustly link to any piece of text, not just whole documents or web pages. This is already happening as part of the visual-meta project, as illustrated and implemented in the Liquid | Reader, but we have to go much further than this


I know who you are of course, as does most of the planet’s population, so it’s only fair I introduce myself to you. I host the annual Future of Text Symposium and I have developed one of the top rated word processors on the macOS App Store, providing deep interactions with text Liquid | Author: I worked with Doug Engelbart and I work with Vint Cerf today and my passion and great concern is to work to truly augment how humans can interact with text to increase our cognitive reach.


In the information war, we have to arm the citizenry. In the race to the future, clicking on icons in Word or dropping everything into a Google Doc is not enough; We need to grab our knowledge with both hands and navigate at light speed. We need a cybertruck for the mind.

This can be done. With your resources and in collaboration with your teams I can contribute to making this happen.

Frode Hegland

Published inEdgarFuture Of TextThoughts

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