Jack M. Alpert

Research focus: The causes and cures of temporal blindness.
        Cognition based solutions to global problems.
        See http://www.skil.org/Qxtras_folder-2/Research_focus.html
Most active project:

Finding ways to implement rapid population decline (RPD)
        as a means to address the predicament of
        total human footprint crashing into global carrying capacity.

Historical Development

• Doing research at General Motors in 1968, I realized that people’s thinking did not encourage them to wear seat belts. On the contrary their thinking told them to not wear them. Since seat belts were about as good at preventing injury as the polio vaccine this was greatly troubling. I began, and continue today, to study learning environments that create such distortions in how a person gathers, processes and values information. The defects in these processes I call “temporal blindness.” My research looks for alternative learning environments that prevent time blindness from becoming part of a person’s thinking toolbox. The goal is to prevent time blindness in a future generation and thus create a cognitive solution to global problems.

• After leaving auto safety research I thought teaching a person dynamic systems modeling would solve the time blindness problem. However, I found that while individuals could improve system understanding through the application of dynamic systems modeling, this understanding was not sufficient to change decisions where small, concrete, and immediate benefits had to be sacrificed to avoid larger, but delayed, abstract liabilities.

• Time blindness had a more fundamental basis. Most people do not have the ability to give an abstract future condition its full meaning. This led to the study of cognitive processes that both illuminate abstract future conditions and create a meaning for them. Meaning that could compete in the decision arena with meaning provided to alternative behaviors by cultural transmission and direct experience.

• The work then led to the development of a series of signal flow graphs that show how memories are created, retrieved, and extended. This collection of graphs I call “Process-Model Learning Theory.” They form the basis of research into cognition based solutions to global problems.

• Most recently, the work has been focused on finding and implementing a pragmatic way to address the predicament caused by the human footprint crashing into global carrying capacity. Or the carrying capacity dropping below what is needed to support the global population. The work has resulted in a proposed rapid population decline as implemented by very low birthrates to achieve human viability. The research in learning theory is focused on the development of a constituency to implement RPD.


• Ph.D. Education, Stanford University, 1982
• MS Engineering, University of Wisconsin, 1975
• BS Mechanical Engineering, University of Wisconsin, 1968


1980-present -- Research on temporal inference learning and its application to sustainable civilizations.
      • Modeled cognitive processes which facilitate acquisition and use of knowledge to control system
      • Developed computer based tests to evaluate cognitive abilities used in managing changing systems.
      • Designed computer based simulations to awaken the naive user to the special management
            requirements of changing systems.
      • Designing a computer based learning environment to aid development of these cognitive abilities.
      • Designing ways to make humankind viable.

1988-1991-- Training manager Cisco Systems, Menlo Park, California
      • one of 9 managers that grew Cisco from zero to five billion dollars in stock evaluation in 2.5 years.
            Most successful high tech company in the USA. Cisco computers form the central component in
             the information super highway.
      • doubled program size each 6 months
      • developed an international training program that was rated the best technical training ever attended
            by engineers from, Ford, General Motors, ATT, USX, PSI, Solomon Brothers, IBM, SUN, Morgan
            Stanley, and Boeing,

1989-1991 -- Founder, board member Banana Fish Software, San Francisco, California
      • Product design, production planning,
      • Financial planning

1987-1988 -- Facilities Director, Conductus, Sunnyvale, California
           (applied research on high temperature thin film super conductors)
      • responsible for acquisition and installation of computer networks, computers, electronic mail,
            back up systems, phone systems, voice mail, and office equipment,
      • Hazardous waste management plan for chemicals, for high temperature thin film super conductors.
            Interface with city and state regulators and emergency services.

1978-pesent -- Invited Lecturer
      • Ottawa Dissenters/Canadian Assoc. for the Club of Rome 2008
      • University of Kansas 2007
      • Roslin Canada Conference 2007
      • Earth day keynote population Chapel Hill North Carolina. 2006
.     • Naval Academy 2006
      • Folven Oslo Conference principle speaker 2006.
      • “Temporal inference thinking" Empire State college, Saratoga, NY.
      • "Cognitive Abilities We Don't Have - and Why"
                  SCG (Systems Concepts Group) Xerox PARC (Palo Alto Research Center) and
                  BARRET (Bay area Regional Research into Educational technology
      • “When Cognitive Abilities Limit Visual Perception “NASA-AIMS I-Human Factors group
      • “Our Cognitive Abilities Limit the Power of Al" SRI International Al group
      • “Were We Mentally Crippled by the Way We Were Taught? “UC Berkeley SASAME
      • “Dynamic System Memory and Our Control of Social Systems,"
                Stanford University, Political Science Department.
      • “Seeing the Unseen Problems in Temporal Systems,"
            Stanford University, Engineering Economic Systems Department
      • “Prediction — Data Trends or System Structure”
            College of Notre Dame, Economics Department

1976-1982 Research Assistant, Stanford University School of Education
      • Research on acquisition and utilization of temporal knowledge
      • The Epistemology Of Educational Innovation
      • The Public's View of Education Through the Media - A Case Study

1974-1975 Lecturer, University of Wisconsin, Madison
      • Taught two 1 semester courses using discovery learning to show students the limitations of their
            analytic tools in understanding changes within a system and to help students build new tools to
            understand system response.

1973-1974 Sloan Research Fellow, University of Wisconsin
      • Technology assessments of airfreight and US. Coal resources.
      • Dynamic system and automatic control theory applied to social systems
      • Acquisition and utilization of knowledge in temporal systems

1969-1972 Senior Staff Engineer, Agbabian Associates, El Segundo, California
      • Auto safety research and development activities
      • Managed a $380,000 program to evaluate air bag restraint systems
      • Designed experimental safety vehicles (occupant injury reduction and vehicle handling)
      • Designed safe passenger crash environment for mass transit systems
      • Designed test equipment for Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards
      • Consulted with US. Department of Transportation, Chrysler, Ford, Eaton, Olin, Rocket Research,
            Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Garret Air Research, Sierra Engineering, Fairchild-Hiller Aviation,
            Raymond Loey and Snaith, and numerous legal firms.

1968-1969 Project Engineer, General Motors Corp
                    Safety Research and Development Laboratory, Milford, Michigan      
      • Designed and implemented full-scale automobile accident simulation experiments
      • Developed performance- driver and general driver training programs for emergency conditions.

Publications and Working Papers

      • SKIL Notes, Op-ED's, Short articles, Academic papers, books See www.skil.org
      • Time Blind - Global problems in terms of human thought processes – book completion 2002
      • Time Blind - The development of temporal thought processes – book completion 2002
      • Learning Pathways to Temporal Inference – poster session Cognitive Science Conference 97
      • 5 Protocols of the Web Mentor, presented at Web Media 98, Calgary, sponsored by AACE
      • Web Mentor, What do we need besides the Web, presented at Webnet 96, SF., sponsored by AACE
      • Why not temporal inference. working paper 96
      • Thinking and Survival - Techne - Journal of Technology Studies Volume I Number I,
            Stanford University June 1987
      • Cognitive Abilities We Don't Have - and Why, working paper 1987
      • Process-Model Learning Theory -- Do Current Educational Practices Inhibit Cognitive Development,
            working paper 1987
      • Can Computers Develop Thinking Abilities, working paper 1984.
      • Future Imaging Skills and Sustainable Societies -- An Investigation of Analytical Skills Required of
            Constituents of a Sustainable Society, Ph.D. Dissertation, Stanford University, 1982.
      • Hazardous Waste Learning Simulator, User Manual, with P. Laventhol and R. Beigel, 1982 For the
            Office of Technology Assessment -- US. Congress. Published as an appendix to Ph.D.
      • Using Interactive Systems Modeling to Understand the Fundamental Dynamic Structure of One's
            Environment, Masters Thesis, University of Wisconsin 1975. Also known as
            On Knowing the Meaning of Your Decisions -- An Introduction to Foundation Analysis.
      • Bumper Compliance Test Procedure Evaluation, Report Number FH- I 1-7480-DARD-1 1970.
            Report available through Clearinghouse for Scientific and Technical Information,
            Springfield Virginia 22151.
      • Reports for legal briefs held by court, or out of court participants.
            General descriptions available upon request
      • Publications from the GM. Safety Research and Development Laboratory -- confidential.
            General descriptions available upon request.

References       • Prof. Seymour Papert, Media Laboratory, MIT
      • Prof. Decker Walker, School of Education, Stanford University
      • Dean James Adams, School of Engineering, Stanford University
      • Dr. Jonas Salk, Salk Institute, La Jolla California
13617 West 48th Street
Shawnee, Kansas
h 913-248-0016
c 913-708-2554
Email: alpert@skil.org
married with two children

website: www.skil.org