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The car types

System thinking significantly engages your skills in various fundamental disciplines of methods of thinking of the intellect stack (Physics, Concept Theory, Semantics, Logic, Ontology, Ethics, etc.). By the time you start studying the course of system thinking, your type machine should work well in your head and body. Yes, in your body too, for ontological jitter as a type error signal is noticed as a sensation in the body since it is one of the interfaces to the calculations conducted in the brain. This type machine is created in students (more details on mastering engineering as "craftsmanship in a student" are studied in the "Personality Engineering" course) during the "Modeling and Coherence" course.

If 20% of students have a working type machine at the beginning of this course, then by the end almost everyone has it. The course teaches to identify objects in the text or world based on a given type of object and then hold these objects in attention. This attention-holding is not "mental," because the biological brain's reliability is not trusted, even if this brain is trained for "good attention," but technically, attention is held by recording, preferably on a computer.

What's next? As one of the graduates of one of the previous versions of this course, where the "Modeling and Coherence" course was not yet a mandatory prerequisite, said to their classmates, "I don't understand at all what you can extract from the material of the system thinking course if you have not taken the modeling and coherence course!"

The type machine is responsible for assigning types and controlling types in some descriptions, documented in texts with a low level of formality, as well as in models of objects and relationships, documented in texts (or even diagrams) in a language with a high level of formality. The main thing is for the student (future master) to not just have a rational understanding that every object always has some type but for their type machine to work fluently in work projects.

What is behind the type machine? The brain supports work with different concept theories. One of the simplest concept theories that explains the brain's results in the mode of "fast thinking S1 according to Kahneman" is the prototype theory, where we imagine some prototype object for each object and then act by analogy. In this concept theory, all thinking is a continuous processing of metaphors, a search for similarities. Another concept theory is the significantly more complex theory theory, in which typified concepts are related by relationships (which can also be expressed by concepts). This theory corresponds to slow thinking S2, formal thinking, logical constructions. And the texts like "a sepluka is an animal. Does a sepluka have a backbone?" are analyzed by this type of thinking mechanism. If you know that animals have a backbone, then the indication for a sepluka as "animal" is quite enough to understand - yes, a sepluka has a backbone. If you did not categorize a sepluka as a type in your mind, or simply did not retain this categorization of a sepluka as a type in your attention until the second sentence in this short text, you will be puzzled - how to answer about the presence or absence of a backbone in an absolutely unknown object?!

If you want to think systematically, you must have a built-in type machine in your brain and body. The slow thinking S2 mode is almost always present in system thinking: we think systemically with significant involvement of the theoretical concept theory. If you do not remember the concept theory, you need to go back to the "Modeling and Coherence" course.

Let's say you were told: "A leader is a role. What role does a leader have?" If you do not have a type machine in your head, you will start inventing some household metaphorical thoughts about a leader, relying on fast thinking S1 and prototype concept theory with metaphors and images: that he leads people, that a leader should set an example for the actions of other people, etc. (Check yourself, answer the question, and write down the answer).

If you have a type machine in your head, you should be puzzled: "a leader is a role." At this moment, you have labeled a leader as a type "role." The next phrase - "what role does the role have?" Because if a leader is labeled in your mind as a role, you retain this until the second sentence and check for consistency with the type. The question "what role does the role have" should be quite stressful because its meaningfulness is low. The type machine, incorporated in the brain, reveals all absurdities in the text, it is necessary for criticism in the course of creativity.

If you were told that an engineer is the role of Vasya, it is not good to ask the engineer how they slept today. An engineer is a role, just like "dad" in the game of "mothers and daughters" or Prince Hamlet in a theatrical play. Vasya "acts in the role"/"performs the role" of an engineer as a work project in a role-playing game, or "dad," or Prince Hamlet. One should ask the actor/actress::agent about "how you slept." Asking such a question to an engineer::role is a malfunction in the type machine; the brain should automatically prohibit such behavior, raise an alarm! Essentially, if someone believes that they are not playing the role of a king or an engineer, or a tree in a fairy tale production, but are actually the king, or an engineer, or a tree - they are going crazy. People and AI need to be clearly separated from their roles.

How to recognize when the term "engineer" refers to a role, a position, an actor-in-role::agent? From context, but for this, you need to be focused/attentive and hold in your mind that "engineer" is still a role, not the agent playing that role. Vasya is sleeping, not the engineer. Vasya "plays the role"/behavior of an engineer::role (meaning they perform::work "work method"/"engineering style/activity," agent roles "perform" methods/"work by methods"::behavior) precisely when they are not asleep! Without sorting out the types in such situations, you can get confused.

On average, the type machine reliably works in the head "automatically" without special training (which goes in the "Modeling and Coherence" course) for about 20% of those with a higher technical education (only two out of ten people), and perhaps even fewer. Why so few? After all, all people engage in the operation mode S2 of the brain, slow logical thinking? This is unknown. What should have been done to make it work reliably? There are various hypotheses, one of them is reading a large amount of non-fiction literature and dealing with formal models that require holding in mind long chains of reasoning with the involvement of types. This guess is indirectly confirmed by experiments with large language models, which are first trained on program code (these are formal languages with strict type control) to exponentially increase their ability to reason logically[1].

If you are not among the 20% of the population who have a type machine "just there, I don't know where it came from," then System Thinking without the "Modeling and Coherence" course will be extremely challenging for you: you will simply not understand the material. System thinking is all based on theory theory, and logic shines through seemingly completely artistic and humanitarian texts. But no, these texts are stitched with types: system thinking forces to operate with types significantly more often than it occurs in everyday life. This work with types is what gives strength to System Thinking. If you default to using prototype or exemplar theory as a tool for your thinking instead of theoretical concept theory, you will not cope with our course and will not be able to master system thinking.

System thinking provides a meta-meta-model as a set of types. The types of system thinking ("system" with its various subtypes, "environment," etc.) point to the most essential objects of attention in a work project, help to model, compile system descriptions of the world. And remember that system descriptions need to be somehow documented; they are written, not "in the mind."

In our course, explicit type assignment occurs using the notation ::, for example, airplane::system. By this point, you have encountered it many times in our texts.

So, a prerequisite for our System Thinking course is a well-functioning and fluent "type machine." Without it, you will not have system thinking, and communication in complex projects will be absent[2].

  1. ↩︎

  2. See the presentation by Prapion Medvedeva at the 6th SES Conference, "The Type Machine: Why Is It Needed," (from 8:00:50) ↩︎