How are Intuitive Insights and Spidey Sense related to each other ? How can we develop a good Spidey Sense ?

In a previous write-up I outlined the key differences between Instincts, Intuition and Insights. In this post, I will approach the subject from another angle to highlight why good educated intuitions or “Verifiable Intuitions” are not accessible to most of us.

There has been a growing interest in “Biological Intuition” and “Artificial Intuition“, however practical and useful implementation of intuition is still a mystery to most of us. More recently, Department of Defense and specifically “Office of Naval Research” (ONR) has shown a keen interest in Intuition, Intuitive Decision Making and foresight based decision support systems (see image below). ONR believes that soldiers can significantly benefit from “Spidey Sense“, a seemingly supernatural ability possessed by the penultimate comic book hero “Spiderman”. Spidey Sense can be termed as a magical inner intellectual and intuitive awareness that something good or bad is about to happen which I also term as “Predictive Sixth Sense & Triangulation” in another post.

Art of Stategic Intuition

There has been a growing interest in “Biological Intuition” and “Artificial Intuition“, however practical and useful implementation of intuition is still a mystery to most of us. More recently, Department of Defense and specifically “Office of Naval Research” (ONR) has shown a keen interest in Intuition, Intuitive Decision Making and foresight based decision support systems (see image below). ONR believes that soldiers can significantly benefit from “Spidey Sense“, a seemingly supernatural ability possessed by the penultimate comic book hero “Spiderman”. Spidey Sense can be termed as a magical inner intellectual and intuitive awareness that something good or bad is about to happen which I also term as “Predictive Sixth Sense & Triangulation” in another post.

If my hypothesis is plausible that Intuition is a well developed “Predictive Sixth Sense” which needs to be educated and tempered till we can get verified results, then I would like to make another sequential argument. In order to develop an accurate predictive sixth sense, we have to keep triangulating (read this post if you need to understand triangulation).

Triangulation is a complex process of decoding uncertainty which requires processing information from multiple dimensions and then processing the captured information using hierarchical, parallel and distributed processing. Investigators, Scientists, Inventors, Entrepreneurs are practically all of us are consistently triangulating while trying to adapt to life’s problems. In brief, the input and output of the information processing should be multi-dimensional, multi-modal and in complex hierarchical layers which should sequentially unfold over a temporal span.

I have already emphasized in the previous post that Instincts, Intuition, and Insights are pyramidal in information processing structure. Instincts are super fast with no pre-conscious or conscious awareness, Intuitions are slower with high bandwidth of pre-conscious awareness and Insights are fully conscious with pre-conscious and fully conscious frames. If the above theory is plausible, then oversimplifying the complex working of our embodied mind, it is plausible that over a time span, Instincts must process information faster than Intuition, Intuitive Insights being the laggards in this race.

Intuitions are probabilistic inferences or hypothesis that require more developmental work before they accepted or discarded, while Insights are Intuitive Insights when they are crystal clear and unambiguous. There is, therefore, a time delay between the period that generative and parallel intuitive hypotheses collapse into a single hypothesis leading to the emergence of Insights in our conscious frames. If everyone is on-board with the above argument, then I am ready to make the next argument in this discussion.

Inside the black box of what we call the brain and mind, if there is time delay between various dimensions of information processing i.e. intuitive dimension and cerebral intellectual dimension, then, people who call themselves verified intuitives should be able to process information from the intuitive dimension faster than those who can not giving the intuitives the advantage of early, insider information. As the intuitive dimension is probabilistic, generative and still in early development stages, relying on this dimensions can lead also lead to errors based on emotions and irrationality. As such, I should make it clear that we are specifically talking about verified intuitives i.e. people who claim that their intuitive processing gives them successful and verifiable early alertness signals (for both good and bad situations). Basis the above arguments, I am ready to make my final argument of this post.

William Ford Gibson, an American-Canadian writer who is called the “noir prophet” of cyberpunk genre of science fiction may have been right when he said that “The future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed“. Perhaps Gibson wanted to emphasize the uneven distribution of development and changes across various cultures, communities and demographic boundaries. The truth is that the “uneven distribution” is a more a property of “the ability of an individual(s) to encode information early from the environment” rather than the evolving heterogeneous nature of sequential weather-like developments in the environments. The same information is always available to everyone in the environment, but few high achievers can decode it earlier than others.

Most entrepreneurs have a propensity for this early alertness signal using which they synthesize unorganized cues and information (Phillip. D. Olson, 1985) to aid in risk reduction leading to opportunity recognition. If the above hypotheses are sound and plausible, using an analogy from software development, I will piece together my conclusion.

In the software world, we have the programming languages (low-level languages) and the commercial integrated development environments (IDE’s) or the high-level languages. When we interact with Microsoft Word or the User Interface of our Operating System, what we are seeing is an oversimplified, time delayed output of inherent complexity built into the system. Our brain and mind are similar in analogy and function.

While most non-geeks cannot understand the complexity of the low-level languages, the geeks or software engineers can. Amongst these geeks is a small minority of good geeks who can quickly pick up errors in the programming language codes and fix it. These spider-men and spider-women of the geek world who have developed intuitive expertise, cannot only notice and fix what their kindred spirits cannot. These geeks can usually recognize the errors sooner than others giving them a time advantage.

Intuitive Insights

Verified Intuitives with precision spidey sense or verified intuitive insights are similar to these Master Geeks who have successfully converted their knowledge into applied wisdom.

After personally achieving significant success myself, I started training executives in improving their decision making using “precise spidey sense”, We spend weeks building “technical unconscious models” of previously verified intuitions, then educate and train our unconscious intuitive team to improve the neural net efficiency till the gap is closed. One has to overcome so many challenges (big understatement) that the trained accuracy of the neural net only incrementally improves over many weeks, before declining and then exhibiting the success. As such, my first question to those who claim to have very good intuitive sense is to prove it in a verifiable way in a reasonable time. For the record, having a verifiable intuition does not require conscious awareness of good quality intuitive processing, but does require a successful unconscious implementation based on the intuitive search for affordances.

If they cannot, they are similar to good software engineers who know much better about their world than others but are worse than the spider-men and spider-women of their domain. There is no dearth of knowledge sponges in this world, but only a fraction of these sponges have ever tried to carry out a “deck wash” using their sponge. For most of us, the “uselessness of our useful information” will eventually make us rethink the high cost of acquiring information. In another upcoming post, I will write about the challenges plaguing the emergence of verified insights into our conscious frames.

Do you have a verifiable “Intuitive Spidey Sense” that can be repeatedly and successfully applied across various domains? Do you struggle to understand and apply good intuitive sense to your decisions? If yes, I would love to connect with you and share our experiences.