Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Great idea of the day

Quick: name a tablet computer! Name 3! (err, Galaxy Tab, Xoom, grumble grumble Ipad)
Say you tell me that I should get a Vortex Nebula tablet. I've never heard of Vortex Nebula tablets. Immediately I know that this is either:
- a very new tablet
- a specialized tablet (and I'd expect you to give more reasoning as to why I would like it particularly)
- a bad recommendation

Okay, now name a cognitive architecture. I can think of one, ACT-R, and it helps that my undergrad Cog Sci advisor at CMU was its inventor, and that I spent a summer working on tools based on it.

I'm not currently working with cognitive architectures. But say I wanted to get into the field. You can imagine how it'd be useful to have this sense of "what's kinda standard" before I start.

Why do I know "what's kinda standard" in tablets, but not in cognitive architectures? I'm going to guess it's advertising. Even though they're totally brain dead and content free, ads for these things are around you all the time, so you get to know at least what the mainstream is using.

So here's the great idea: you have Adblock in your browser, right? What if, instead of removing ads, it just replaced each ad with the title of a paper you care about instead? (specifically, you give it a field, and it throws in paper names in that field, randomly according to how often they're cited, say. or author names.) You'd get to absorb useful names instead of ads! Instant sense of "what's kinda standard"!

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