Singularity Summit – Temple Grandin thinking differently

Dr. Grandin is a designer of livestock handling facilities and a Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University. How Different People Think Differently talk by Temple Grandin.

Temple had a very dense talk.
There were several sections.

There was a section where she discussed the need to engineer systems that are hacker proof and proof against catastrophic failure.

A way to prevent centrifuges from spinning to fast would be to use mechnical engineering to have a cutoff that would prevent it from spinning at too high a speed. There can be some balls that would rise to a certain level that would trigger a cutoff beyond a certain speed.
This method could have been applied to the centrifuges in Iran and other design changes for the BP drilling rig or the Fukushima reactors.

There was also a rant against Wall Street and for building real things. This is correct but requires a different path to solution than ranting against it.

There is also a rant about better education and how to help the slightly autistic with different style of education.

She discussed how people with Autism and other conditions needed to have different methods of education.
Visual, verbal, patterns

There is TED talk online that Temple gave

There are three different kinds of thinkers in the autistic world: visual, pattern (math and music), and verbal logic.


These children often love art and building blocks, such as Legos. They get easily immersed in projects. Math concepts such as adding and subtracting need to be taught starting with concrete objects the child can touch. Drawing and other art skills should be encouraged. If a child only draws one thing, such as airplanes, encourage him to draw other related objects, such as the airport runways, or the hangers, or cars going to the airport. Broadening emerging skills helps the child to be more flexible in his thinking patterns. Keep in mind that verbal responses can take longer to form, as each request has to be translated from words to pictures before it can be processed, and then the response needs to be translated from pictures into words before it is spoken.


Patterns instead of pictures dominate the thinking processes of these children. Both music and math is a world of patterns, and children who think this way can have strong associative abilities. They like finding relationships between numbers or musical notes; some children may have savant-type calculation skills or be able to play a piece of music after hearing it just once. Musical talent often emerges without formal instruction. Many of these children can teach themselves if keyboards and other instruments are available.


These children love lists and numbers. Often they will memorize bus timetables and events in history. Interest areas often include history, geography, weather and sports statistics. Parents and teachers can use these interests and talents as motivation for learning less-interesting parts of academics. Some verbal logic thinkers are whizzes at learning many different foreign languages.

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