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GUI in Health

Kinkajou Kinkajou


Human Brains and Computer CPUs process and distribute information very differently.

























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Differences Between Computers and Organic Brains in Information Processing: Medical Systems

Words Vs Picts
Humans are genetically hardwired to process visual information,
in preference to other information sources such as auditory or tactile information.
Visual information can take the form of words or pictures.

Unfortunately the current method of storing medical information as words on paper
excludes visual access of "picture architecture based" information - - as a method of access for medical information.
Our brains do not use words to store information. So we can’t scan a page with information presented through the medium of a words and see what information exists or does not exist. hat we do see is visual spatial organised data: a pictre or glyph or PICT.

We need to input the verbiage (letters > words) into our brains , process these abstract symbol sequences into concepts and then build up a picture inside our heads of what is occurring by assembling these concepts. Brains can "see" displayed information as words quite well- but not recode it into visuospatial format, without effort. Yet we persist in using words to store medical information. Using words requires our brains to recode abstract symbols into a "Patient Picture".

Researchers have shown that information coded into glyphs or PICTS is much more accessible, more quickly retrievable and more easily understood than information coded in words. Yet - we persist in using words and storing verbiage.

Toilet Sign PICT INformation Toilet Sign PICT Information

Brain Memory Vs Computer Memory
Computers and organic brains have different strengths and weaknesses.
"Brain" memory does not process, redistribute and redisplay information well.
The input data is exactly what the brain works with.

Computer interfaces however do process, redistribute and redisplay information well. And it is by using this computer ability, that information can be processed on the fly to a format that a human mind can accept more readily.

Data can be input into a computer in many formats and redisplayed in many other formats, even individually coded and idiosyncratic formats- such as individually and uniquely defined Picts or glyphs. Computers can translate glyph / PICT displays on the fly. It would be as if everyone had their own favourite unique language, and everyone talked to you using your own favourite language.

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Kinkajou Kinkajou: Chinese Characters vs English Alphabet
Overall, the Chinese method of coding information by pictograms appears to be a better information transfer system than alphabetical language – for limited information pools. It is when the vocabulary pool becomes vast that pictograms begin to have difficulty coping. Alphabetical language is also far more easily used to input data to a computer via a keyboard or mouse than pictogram based language.

Alphabetical language and Picts have different strengths and weaknesses.

Medical information uses a distinct and smaller subset of language , and so could quite possibly be Glyphed. In fact, many technical disciplines could use a similar concept for information records, as they would all in general use limited language subsets.

Complex Picts Vs the "Paragraph"
Human brains are also genetically hardwired to better retain complex visual “pictures” rather than collections of abstract symbols (words- if not arranged in sentences). Hence the memory trainers trick of coding ”things to remember” into a single complex picture. Again it seems that alphabetical language is not the ideal medium for memory and learning. You can remember a Pict at a glance, but remembering a paragraph of verbiage takes time and much more effort.

PICT MENU System For Health Information
PICT MENU System For Health Information


Menu Systems
Furthermore, our computer systems are based on hierarchical menu systems (layered). Computers function very well with these types of interfaces.

People however function better with geographically based menu systems covering a large range of items in a single "flat" menu. People require minimal layering of the interfaces they use. Brains just don’t work the way that computer systems do.

Quantifiers and Descriptives Vs Noun Coding
Our method of storing verbiage is also incredibly primitive. Our language functions with adjectives, and verbs, prepositions and quantifiers. A medical information system has nouns, and that’s about it.

There’s obviously going to be a lot of “colour” missing from computer coded medical records since only nouns can be used. This can be critical. A doctor I know, thought one of his patients had a Rickettsial illness.

Medical records will describe that the patient had a headache. However in searching for more information about this illness, it becomes obvious that a patient with this illness has a very severe headache. It is the fact that the headache is very severe that raises the symptom out of the clinical mire and increases its importance when it appears. Realising  that the patient has a super headache, not just a headache, is what is important.

Yes = No ?
We also struggle significantly with the need for yes and no answers. Biology is not black and white, or yes and no. For example, if you ask someone if they have a cough the answer may be yes. But if you continue to ask more questions you may suddenly realise that they have always had a cough.

The question you actually intended to ask was: "Do you have a cough which has progressed substantially from the degree of coughing which you may normally have?" The answer to this question may well be "No" even though you do have a cough.
So it appears that there is yet another grade of "quantifier" required in the system, one in which yes can in fact mean no, perhaps in this example best summarised by the letters  isq: in status quo. In this case a definite clear cut "yes" answer should perhaps be coded as "no", in terms of properly interpreting the data.

Similarly, other quantifiers may be needed to convey "novel" shades of meaning. Shades of meaning, we do not even realise we need yet.

Vocalising Alphabetical vs Pict Coded Language
Alphabetical language allows more consistent verbalisation of the written word. We all tend to say the same word similarly (albeit with accents), because the visual spelling triggers soundings that are similar. This is a very significant advantage of alphabetical based languages.

The Chinese language is a very difficult basis for the transmission of language-based information. There are many regions in China where although they can all read the written language, the way they pronounce and speak it makes them unable to understand the spoken word in other regions. English with its phonetically based coding bypasses this problem.

Accents are essentially-  "different emphases" on the phonetic coding of language, rather than a totally different phonetic coding system for language. As we stated, alphabetical language does have some definite advantages.

Chinese pictograms however may well provide an excellent coding for complex information (Using limited vocabulary sets) such as medical records.

 It remains to be seen where the future will take us.

Active Human Brain Active Human Brain

Social Engineering in Implementing Change
The technology is up to the task. But the willingness to take the risk to develop new computer interface packages is not. Social Engineering is required to integrate new solutions into multiple platforms and to providers. It is also not something which will be readily available. And it is on the social engineering aspects of this technology, on which innovation and implementation will stall.

Kinkajou Kinkajou:
What reminds me of health records in Brisbane?

We have good medical services in Brisbane. However if you are not an Australian citizen or from an associated country you will need to pay for them. I would generally say that medical services in Australia are substantially less costly than similar services in the US. A friend of mine once complained that a patient came to him who had been to a hospital in the US for cutting the tip of her finger.

My friend stated that in Australia he would probably have written 20 to 30 words as medical records and the entire cost of the procedure would have probably been of the order of $150. The patient when they had been seen in the US, brought a five page report back with them covering their injury. They had had a CT scan and an EEG as well, incurring a cost of about $2000.

The medicine in either country is good. However for every patient seen in the US, there are many patients who also require care and are not seen and who do not receive any care. Medical activity costs money. And it is a service which needs to be distributed better to people who need it so that the health of the community overall is improved. There is a human price to "legalese" and "verbiage".

Centrelink Medicare Brisbane
Centrelink Medicare Brisbane

Feel welcome to visit a health centre in Brisbane if you need to.

Examples from Science Fiction referring to this technology type include:

In Frank Herbert’s Dune, humanity has recovered from the war with the machines. There is residual distrust of artificial intelligence and for the computers which facilitated their Genesis. As a result it is the human mind which is trained as a computer and to perform calculations.

This circumstance suggests a discussion is necessary on the relative values of computer and human intelligence.

  • Human brains are good at drawing inferences from inadequate data sets. Currently computers do this poorly, but perhaps a better software format may reduce this advantage somewhat.
  •  Human brains are capable of recording information with the same precision as a computer, albeit with much less speed and much more effort.

    There are people who have memorised books and who can recall a specific word on a specific line on a specific page. But although this information can be memorised in the human mind, information cannot be processed without the entire record being lost. I suppose a computer achieves being able to process recorded information  by having different layers of memory – in effect processing the memory records when copying the transcript into a new memory space. They can then be accessed in this new memory – mind of the computer.

  • Human minds can go where no one has gone before. But perhaps this is by drawing on similarities with other situations/ideas which they have processed before. Perhaps a computer can be programmed in software to compare an "existing" situation to the most compatible "previous" situation known – in orders of probability – and to execute decisions based on level of probable similarity.

    Bayesian learning systems suggest themselves. And perhaps there are other options as well. So, if there are no parallels or answers? In the TV series: Space – Above and Beyond, the Silicoids- artificial intelligences (robots) - gained sentience and volition through a program which essentially just said: “If you don’t know, take a chance.”

In the Dune example, (actually in one of the Dune series of novels) the early Bene Gesserit retain computer coded data sets of human genomes to facilitate their work in the breeding program. The computers are literally little more than automated memory cards.

However, this is still far in excess of the current humanity’s acceptance of computerisation and artificial intelligence. There are likely many activities that are practically unachievable unless computer abilities are used. Although the power of the mind can be trained and enhanced in many directions, using a human mind to "faultlessly" record a human genome is best described as an inappropriate allocation of resources and capabilities.
Thufir Human Mentat Computer SigmaPsiThufir Hawat

In the BattleTech series of novels, we are faced with two innovations. Genetic records to facilitate the Sibko breeding program. And the current HUD display on the neuro- helmet interfaces of the MechWarriors. The HUD display is a common tool for fighter/bomber pilots today – allowing freedom of use of eyes, ears, hands and voice.

It allows a pilot to monitor many critical machine functions at the same time as monitoring his environment for the presence of the enemy. The HUD display has been with us for a long time, suggesting how successful it has been in the situations it has been used. It is essentially a "glyph" display or a "PICT" display on your helmet's visor.
Briam Cameron Commander MechWarrior SigmaPsiBrian Cameron

Neil Asher: Grid Linked. A new problem for the HUD display. In the MechWarrior, the  neuro helmet interface display is visible from the pilot’s helmet screen and is actuated by electrical activity within the pilot’s brain/ or perhaps eyes. In Grid Linked, the interface is only visible within the person’s mind and must be actuated from within the mind itself. A thorny problem as EEG traces do not give distinctive regional activations which could be interpreted as commands. On an EEG, the brain is either activated or it is not.

The EEG gives a white noise pattern with activation or awake-ness, and gives a wavelike pattern during inactivation of the brain during sleep. The trick would be to bury radio nano probes throughout the brain which can learn to interface with brain activities and to give commands. Such integration could probably only be undertaken in the infant brain itself. Certainly in the newborn brain, the openings at the fontanelles would allow the brain to be accessed without the necessity of cutting bone.

Cormac Brain Liked Internet Agent SigmaPsiCormac

David Brin: Star Tide Rising. An interesting problem here is that the dolphin spacers need to be able to interact with the machinery. They are fitted with a type of helmet which interfaces with their brain and allows them to operate actuator machinery. The problem is made considerably worse since seawater tends to neutralise the electrical field activity.

A likely solution in this scenario is that gene engineering of the brain be performed to allow dolphin brains to operate such an interface. Without such an interface, the dolphin spacer is almost crippled – in effect operating at the same capacity as a human mouth foot painting artist.

Perhaps many of our science fiction dreams of human-computer interaction may well be impossible without gene-engineering the human brain to have these capacities. If humanity had patrons as all well- uplifted species do, you would expect our Patrons to provide us with these capabilities- to enable humans to properly be technological sophonts.

Donald Kingsbury: Psychohistorical Crisis. The “Fam” bypasses the need for integration of RF or electrical (EMF) apparatus in the cranium to allow input / output from the target brain. Currently we have only a limited understanding of the nature of memory.

Such an understanding is paramount prior to undertaking to construct or deconstruct memory traces. The "Fam" is an awesome technology, but one for which I can see no path towards its' innovation. However, the concept is not totally left of field. Magnetic/Electric fields can be set up so that an interference pattern of high energy spots appears.

This could allow the stimulation of selected areas of the brain- perhaps areas where receiving nano-probes have been implanted , to pick up the signal. Radio waves at "very low intensity/ energy" could be used to communicate with embedded nanoprobes. The problem is understanding the growth of neurones and understanding memory and neural information processing.

How can you access this system from outside normal neural paths based on vision or hearing, or other senses? How can you achieve the micrometer precision to allow interaction with individual neurones?

EronOsaPsychicProbe SigmaPsiEron Osa

Gordon R Dickson: Tactics Of Mistake. Cletus Graham, the principal protagonist of this story creates a” language” of war. When instructions are given in this language to a soldier, even if part of the message is corrupted, the message can be reconstructed due to the laws of language structuring. It makes the point that the structure of an interface can carry more information than simply the items present within the interface.

In short, sentences carry more information than nouns. We are probably still at the “ noun” stage of military language and at the “noun” stage of computer language as well. We have made the point already on the site that most medical coding relates to the nouns and misses much of the colour inherent in verbs ,adverbs and adjectives.
Cletus Genius Military Commander SigmaPsiCletus Graham

We have used the GUI in attempting to communicate with other species in the cosmos. The Pioneer 10 and the Pioneer 11 spacecraft carry a pictorial representation of the hydrogen molecule, a picture of us and of our solar system, and coding relating to the distances to nearby pulsars. Language is unique and proprietary, but pictures are likely much more universally understood.

Pioneer Voyager Message Pioneer Voyager Message

Brian Stableford: Hooded Swan series. This book poses the problem of what communication with an alien mind parasite residing within one’s body, may be like. The books have multiple scenarios where the mind parasite known as “ The Wind” may interface through auditory, through visual, through overall consciousness and through motor functions. The alien mind symbiont essentially plugs into the neural paths of consciousness and volition, yet maintains a fully separate identity. For better or worse , the two become one.
Grainger and The Wind Starship PilotsSigmaPsiWind”

Halo series: much the same problem exists for the AI “Cortana” in interfacing with her human consort. How can information be collected from and transmitted to the "human" partner.
CortanaAssistantAI SigmaPsiCortana

Robert Heinlein: Starship Troopers. These soldiers, in operating giant mechanical powered weapons platforms, need to interface with their charges. The situational demands create much the same problems and solutions for MechWarriors, and the Grid- Linked as for dolphin spacers or "Starship Troopers".
Dizzy Flores Starship Trooper SigmaPsiDizzy Flores
The Terminators are also well known for their HUD display.



Lee Hogan: Belarus. In this book it is the sprites which need to code their information when transmitting it. Hardwired Glyphs or Picts can allow programming of a sprite's data and of its data collection activities.
Sprite SigmaPsiSprite

One point does strike me about the GUI display. Over time the number of pictorial icons tends to proliferate, rapidly reaching the point whereby the icons begin to lose their information/uniqueness value.

Pictographic languages are likely to have a maximum threshold at which information overload tends to limit their information carrying capacity. Computer based translation may extend the information load capacity of the system by allowing unique PICT subsets to be used by individuals while maintaining a common PICT dataset for general use.

Public Toilet Public Toilet

What does this technology remind me of in Brisbane? :

  • Pictures of Brisbane
  • Icons of Brisbane

Clever New Applications:

  • Medical Picts.
  • Reconsidered HUD / GUI displays to be more people orientated.
  • Tourist Language PICTs: transcending language barriers. Possibly the most well-known symbol for transient visitors is the little outlines of a "Man" or a "Woman" indicating a toilet. In Brisbane we also use the "knives and forks" glyph to indicate food is nearby. There is a huge capacity for an international language of these glyphs to be used : language independent "glyphs" that can be understood by anybody from anywhere speaking any language.