icm2re logo. icm2:re (I Changed My Mind Reviewing Everything) is an 

ongoing web column by Brunella Longo

This column deals with some aspects of change management processes experienced almost in any industry impacted by the digital revolution: how to select, create, gather, manage, interpret, share data and information either because of internal and usually incremental scope - such learning, educational and re-engineering processes - or because of external forces, like mergers and acquisitions, restructuring goals, new regulations or disruptive technologies.

The title - I Changed My Mind Reviewing Everything - is a tribute to authors and scientists from different disciplinary fields that have illuminated my understanding of intentional change and decision making processes during the last thirty years, explaining how we think - or how we think about the way we think. The logo is a bit of a divertissement, from the latin divertere that means turn in separate ways.

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Isn't it time to start the calculation game?

About thinking styles and judgement errors that make human intelligence unaffordable for the machines

How to cite this article?
Longo, Brunella (2015). Isn't it time to start the calculation game? About thinking styles and judgement errors that make human intelligence unaffordable for the machines. icm2re [I Changed my Mind Reviewing Everything ISSN 2059-688X (Print)], 4.2 (February).

How to cite this article?
Longo, Brunella (2015). Isn't it time to start the calculation game? About thinking styles and judgement errors that make human intelligence unaffordable for the machines. icm2re [I Changed my Mind Reviewing Everything ISSN 2059-688X (Online)], 4.2 (February).
Full-text accessible at http://www.brunellalongo.co.uk/

To Master David Cook, whose judgement on my writing skills inspired me to start this web column, following a private hearing in the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court the 26th January 2012.

February 2015 - Answering a question at the end of an interesting lecture about the status of artificial intelligence research (Computers and Brains, BCS Lovelace Lecture, Royal Society, 19 March 2015) Professor Stephen Furber said that so far "human brains are much more cheaper to make". Indeed, the wit suggested to me we should start thinking of computing power in terms of actual aids to human judgements now that the Imitation Game has been even glamourised by Hollywood!

If you wonder what happened to my application for rectification of false personal details made in the bankruptcy order I was affected by in 2013 (see Nothing like a wrong bankruptcy order to spoil my reputation? Nudging the nudgers on gamification of governance and cybercrime) or what was the outcome of the hearing for the annulment of the same bizarre bankruptcy order made against me as I was living at a PO BOX address in 2013, there is unfortunately nothing very relevant to add.

But I have not lost trust in the Justice system, in spite of the fact I have lost these claims (1). This perhaps constitutes, per se, extraordinary news. Together with the fact that... no orders for costs have been made in both cases!

I have not lost trust in the Justice system in spite of the enormous wounded feelings the miscarriages of justice caused me. This not because of a blind faith, a casual miracle or because of stupid acquiescence or desire to avoid unpleasant thoughts.

No, I simply switched thinking style and I saw the matter with completely different eyes.

Handling of different mindsets and moods is a useful competence I developed mostly from my former training agency business. It is something that I learned on the job and I reward - after more than ten years - among the most important skills developed thanks to many ICT projects and in particular my Palestra Internet Panta Rei endeavour. It happened observing and dealing with the cognitive pathways and information behaviours of so many people with different backgrounds and roles and thanks to the notion of multiple intelligences and thinking styles in adults.

The benefit of alternative thinking styles

Robert J. Sternberg proposed such notion since the 1970s and more extensively since the late 1990s. Sternberg identified and defined twelve different thinking styles but I refer here to the functional ones that are called the Executive, Legislative or Creative and Judicial thinking styles.

There is always an alternative way of seeing, believing and learning facts, events and emotions. We may not have immediately available such immensely powerful resource of an alternative thinking style, especially when visual, verbal or emotional cues can be obstructed or limited because of technical peculiarities of the channel we use to communicate with each other and to access information.

In fact, our emotional and cognitive abilities are unlikely to have a huge space of development or opportunity to manouvre at all times, especially under stress. Conversely, the media channels we use can have a distinctive ability to influence our immediate reactions, together with the context in which we use them: TV programs, social media interactions, You Tube or email and text messages are extremely good at binding some thoughts together with our first emotional reactions, determinining what social psychologists have called anchoring mechanisms. Reading books or newspapers and research reports, listening to radio programs and have calm conversations face to face with other people tend to foster a more reflective attitude, increasing the reachness and therefore the complexity and thoroughness of our analysis of the situation.

Switching from a thinking style to another we are less familiar with (or prone to) enables us to use influences from different communication channels in controlled and positive ways, to face a certain situation, to cope with uncertainty or anxiety, to work towards a goal or deal with a challenge more effectively, and so on.

Being able to recognise we all rely on different types of intelligence can also help against aggressive manipulative developments of behavioural communications - those type of conversations that usually end with lot of credit card charges you cannot really explain or with the conviction your neighbour is a dodgy person even if you do not have any sensible and credible reason for thinking that.

Here is my case for thinking styles from my forthcoming book 99 STARs:

 SITUATION: A digital educational context with services aimed at adult workers.

 TASK: I had to  identify a solution ready available or devise and implement my own one so that the web format 

could be personalised in easily manageable ways, consistent with the users information behaviours and preferred learning patterns. 

 ACTION: Following an extensive  research, I identified  several theories about cognitive and learning styles that could be

 applied in an adult e-learning context. I partnered with a university professor  who helped me identify  in Stenberg's Thinking Styles 

the best theoretical framework I could rely on. After a period of trial and testing of a pilot version, I designed and implemented a simple 

questionnaire based on Steinberg's theory. The assessment was enough accurate to predict which activities each participant would 

prefer and which ones he / she would dislike. We could assign each participant within the first two hours of active enrollment to 

a specific group and the tutors could quickly  deliver appropriate versions of tasks, exercises and feedbacks to the diverse styles. 

The participants could  try and verify themselves the effectiveness of the guidance - and that was particularly useful to

 reinforce learning choices and motivations.

 RESULTS: The initiative was much appreciated. I presented it during an event organised by the local association 

for professional Training and Development and in other occasions in which I was required to give presentations about 

critical success factors in delivering quality e-learning programmes aimed at adult workers.


Are all the litigants in person against the Law of the Land?

For the last twenty years - since I left the Berlusconi media empire in 1994/1995 to start my business, "helped" with an outplacement exercise that turned out in an unprosecuted criminal case, with myself physically and verbally assaulted by Nicola Grauso, a Berlusconi friend and partner of first generation Mediaset and Publitalia projects in Sardinia, Poland and other markets - since then I have never been actually able to be legally represented for civil issues of personal damages, neither in Italy nor in England, where I moved in 2008.

In some circumstances, the italian lawyers who helped me to deal with minor day by day business issues made clear they would drop litigations because of "costs reasons" - that was perfectly reasonable and agreeable. And over the years I managed to stay away from the Courts being aware that the Civil law - especially when dealing with commercial and intellectual property matters - tend to be risky for small businesses and individuals in any case.

I managed to buy and sell my homes in Italy without any need for solicitors to assist (that is because the Italian property market is highly regulated and completely different from the English one), I negotiated some good win-win agreements with customers and suppliers, with and without legal advice. I compromised in some occasions and gave up in others, I managed to win some contractual disputes with or without legal assistance, and I withdrew myself from situations that would be too difficult or ambiguous in terms of non compliance, just to avoid the risk of litigations. How did I come to the need to confront myself with Judges and Masters in England, and to discuss legal questions with law experts, whilst I would rather be busy minding my own businesses?

Hard to tell.

I have been keeping on writing and sharing expertise and my views on legal resources and some legal information topical matters, mainly in connection with technologies of information and communication and media law. I have never lost the confidence but also the humility of a person who trust the role of Justice in a democratic system. My paralegal skills helped me to face an unbelievable amass of legal debris, as I could not define all my legal proceedings in a better way. I did not come to England in search of compensation for bygones legal cases or to start a career as vexatious litigant. And nevertheless I found myself entrapped in a legal nightmare, as an accidental claimant or defendant. A lawyer could have surely helped me.

In 2012 I failed to convince Master Cook in the High Court that a charitable company must produce vat invoices at the right tax point as any other company - and who knows if he decided that was not the case because of a possible temporary lack of arithmetic skills or because he may have a relative working in the same charitable company. These were not pertinent facts. He made a material mistake in a judgement, then an amendment order, then - apparently - an incomprehensible confusion in respect of costs. Nonetheless, he appreciated my writings. I made him aware that according to some Terms and Conditions of legal databases I should have not provided photocopies within a bundle of authorities. Few weeks later the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales issued a new Citation of Authorities Practice Direction 2012 that reminded the public nature of legislation and reported cases - hopefully once and to all database vendors.

Meanwhile, in a number of other professional contexts, I made the case for more integration of legal and engineering approaches to data management, publishing articles and sharing views that proved to be the right ones to shape and sometimes to tame ICT innovations.

And yet, it is not an exaggeration to say that the English Civil Courts have persistently pilloried me and treated me as I was a publicity stunt for testing impossible cases.

In the case of my bankruptcy order, a District Judge Clarke in the Central London County Court decided that there was nothing wrong if a property in the Land Registry was falsely attributed to me as I was the owner by means of inferences from linked data and annotations. Another Judge, the same District Judge Lambert who ordered first the petition to be gazetted as it was made in the High Court instead of a County Court and then produced the bankruptcy order, decided she could even deal with the application for the annulment made on grounds it ought not to have been made. I respectful suggested she might wish to pass the case to a Registrar in the Upper Court or, at least, to a different District Judge. She disagreed.

And that is not all. The attempt I made to annul the bankruptcy order failed as well. It was motivated by the appalling evidence that the appointed trustees had abused of their power to access my personal pension and also denied my mother and my disabled brother vested interests in it. The annulment application ended in what I felt was a further intimidatory response from the Judiciary as a system: after I filed such application for the annulment of the bankruptcy, a District Judge Avent, in the same Central London County Court that is a close neighbour of the Central London County Court in Bankruptcy cases, produces, out of the blue, a warrant for repossession of the property where I live now (that is not in the Central London Jurisdiction neither, nor is in any way subject to possession proceedings being instead embroiled in a litigation between the Landlord and the Local Authority). But the relevant fact is that Judge Avent is the Judge who caused my eviction in 2012 from the New College Court block of flats in South Hampstead, the property I should have had the right to buy. So that I asked to the annulment of a crazy bankruptcy order and in turn I had a crazy injunction to leave my only home again, with an eviction order and then a warrant re-issued with different dates and no grounds, carrying the name of a Deputy District Judge Rollason...

And so on and so forth. In a nutchell, from a judicial point of view, facts may be made appearing less or more relevant than they actually are, can be framed and reframed changing the context and can be misrepresented by deliberate or unintentional procedural errors even when there are few doubts about the actual course of actions, scrupulously documented and controlled.

It is what we call abuse of power.

But facts can also trigger new thinking. That means we can always have the option of switching thinking style, from Judiciary to Creative or Executive, from Executive to Creative and back to Judiciary.


How did I apply my thinking styles skills in the case of my recent bankruptcy annulment claim?

Instead of competing with the Judge and disputing on substantial and procedural matters from the disproportionately weak position of a self represented litigant, I suddenly looked at the whole matter from the point of view of the regulator switching from a Judicial to a Legislative mindset. At a certain point, I felt like my stomach ordered me to leave. My creative mindset took over without notice. It seemed that leaving was the only serious thing to do, it was lunch time after all and I was wasting my time in a paradoxical hearing in which a Judge was entertaining herself on the reason why she should not change her mind about a bankruptcy order she herself had made in 2013 against me, a self represented litigant who had failed to have her claim for damages even heard.

I saw I was fighting against a sick or perverted Justice system and I had no chance to win. My Judiciary self agreed.

The hearing had been scheduled for 30 minutes and started punctually at 12:00! It was lunch time. Also my Executive self agreed.

So, my Creative self took over and I just left the Court at 1:15pm.

Instead of making judgments by inferences or biased data, we can always start writing new rules, something the fastest and powerful computer processors are really long way off.


(1) On the 26th January 2015 I logged the application for the annulment of the bankruptcy order made by Judge Lambert on 12 March 2013. The bankruptcy had already been discharged authomatically (13 March 2014). The appointed trustees were refusing to bring the bankruptcy to a closure and kept on interfering with my affairs on the grounds of further fraudulent data showing in the Land Registry under my name. My application was dismissed with a judgement made by the same Judge Lambert that ordered the bankruptcy.