One of the neat things about getting a doctorate at a school partly supported by the Military Industrial Complex is that sometimes you get visitors giving seminars about stuff (often having little to do with killing people) that give you an interesting perspective you might not have encountered elsewhere. Once upon a time a the US Navy was soon to commission a new aircraft carrier, and its Captain went around DARPA-supported universities to see if they were working on anything useful to him. (With us he found a mainframe-based hypertext information management system, about 15 years before the Web existed). He gave a talk that mentioned “levels of cognitive development” in which he summarized the first three as
- There is one right answer to every question, and Mommy knows it.
- There is one right answer to every question; if Mommy doesn't know it, someone else does.
- There is one right answer to every question, but maybe nobody knows it.
He then said an aircraft carrier is a small city with average age 19 and average cognitive level just above 2.