Cognitive ergonomics is like biocompatibility for tools for thought

Mechanical prosthetics have to be manufactured from biocompatible materials, so that the adjacent human tissue plays along well and doesn’t attack it. Similarly, tools for thought have to be cognitively ergonomic so that the user adopts them as part of their intimate thought process and doesn’t reject them as clunky. Concretely, a conversational interface based on speech recognition and synthesis might need to emulate the user’s self-perceived voice for effective adoption. As another example, tools for manipulating concepts should make use of a semantic space aligned with the user’s conceptual framework.

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