fast brain, slow hands

Dan Hon’s Things that Caught My Attention is one of my favorite blogs / newsletters, because it’s just chock full of Dan-ness. This is a good thing. The past few days he’s been responding to a challenge from Robin Sloan, who wanted him to “try writing about something that had nothing to with technology.”

And today’s is excellent. It’s a story about brains and hands. I’m just gonna quote a few grafs of this; saving it for me and sharing it with you.

This brain thinks it’s a fast brain: it sees patterns and pieces of things and jumps from place to place and then suddenly, *snap*, there is a new thing made from those pieces of things that is not quite the same as one of the old things: it’s subtly different and then *boom* we’re suddenly at one of those large maps in the situation room where troop deployments are being planned and the fast brain is pushing things around using a large wooden stick to get things into the right hands.

But the fast brain is hooked up to slow hands.


The fast brain is just a massively complicated computing engine for taking in input and then performing operations on it and when it looks at itself it doesn’t even know if there’s an itself there’s just: a giant sphere. A solid, impenetrable, giant sphere.

Go read the whole thing.




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Michael Sippey

Michael Sippey

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