Mar 29, 2022

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.

(Originally published on Medium.)