Machine Readable Flashcards

November 12, 2012

Just had a rough idea how a software product could look like that lets you learn arbitrary facts and connect them in a dynamically layouted concept-map.

We start learning by forming rote memory, the things that are - at first - disconnected from everything else. Then, as soon connections form, learning gets associative, and - with time - rote memory is not so important anymore.

And there is a danger that you loose the ability to quickly assimilate new, raw information, the information that can not be connected to what you know at first. This ability is probably undertrained in most adults.

So why not build a software that could just help us with that? A software product with which you can state facts and relations, put them on virtual flashcards and then - as they get more and you learn them - visualizes the relations in beetween the facts to help you make new connections.

Of course the input for these statement need to be machine readable. So a typical flashcard question would be:

What is the capital city of Turkey?

In this case the questioned fact can be defined by an object Turkey and a relation capital city of.

So most of these statements could be defined as a triples. A subject, a relation, and an object, pretty similar to what Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented, the N3, Notation 3 Logic.

But theory aside. What I'd like to see is an application, that has the following features:

I don't see this application as one that could or should capture all the world's knowledge. Only the information are you interested in personally should be processed. In that way, the amount of new information will never overwhelm you, because only the input you provided is used.

What do you think? Would this be a great application?