My plane left in four hours and the airport was over an hour’s drive from Tehran.
That day, in a taxi back to my hotel, I had flicked through my emails and read that a number of travellers, including a French-Iranian academic from Sciences Po in Paris, had recently been detained in Iran on the pretext of violating state security.
The short man asked me about my family, my education, the countries I’d visited and the languages I spoke.
But instead of checking in, I was taken to an office at the back of the airport hall with a big glass window overlooking the departure lounge.
Three days before I left for Iran, British marines impounded one of Iran’s largest oil tankers as it passed through the Straits of Gibraltar, suspecting it of breaking European sanctions by carrying oil to Syria.
One of those pioneers, Alan Kay, summed up the optimism of this dream when he wrote of the potential of the personal computer: “the very use of it would actually change the thought patterns of an entire civilization” Alan Kay, User Interface: A Personal View (1989)..
In this essay we sketch out a set of ideas we believe can be used to help develop transformative new tools for thought.
With that said, the term “tools for thought” has been widely used since Iverson's 1950s and 1960s work An account may be found in Iverson's Turing Award lecture, Notation as a Tool of Thought (1979).
Except, of course, such changes have happened multiple times during human history: the development of language, of writing, and our other most powerful tools for thought.
Then, through repeated review sessions in the days and weeks ahead, people consolidate the answers to those questions into their long-term memory.