Your Models are Fuzzy

Your models are fuzzy. You know that, right?

Imagine a thing. Hold a mental model of it in your mind. Try doing this, for any thing. Say, the bicycle you ride, or the car you drive, or your dog. Imagine this thing. Develop a model of it in your mind, and reflect on it.

Your models are fuzzy, and you know this.

You are fully comfortable with this fuzziness too. It’s unavoidable, and familiar, and we have effective strategies for dealing with it. The mind, it’s main function, and purpose apparently, is to figure out, determine or decide, in the midst of uncertainty, what matters in a given moment or situation, and therefore what to focus on that supports some kind of understanding that matters, and some kind of action that follows.

Try a variation on this exercise. Imagine some thing that doesn’t exist yet. Build a mental model of that, something you want to imagine and develop (design) and have built. Let your mind go to work on it. How fuzzy is your model? Can you answer basic questions about it?


  • Is it done? Is my mental model complete?
  • Is it sound in conception?
  • And is it fleshed out and made tangible?
  • Is it fleshed out and made tangible throughout its entirety, or just in some fragmented regions?
  • Where are these regions?

These are just basic questions, by which I mean, these are fundamental questions. They are underlying questions.

We can follow from these questions into related thought. For example, we can ask, in these tangible regions, regions that are narrower than the wider whole of the model:

  • What kinds of techniques do we use to develop these narrower understandings?
  • And what is the relationship, let’s say, at the level of mental mechanics, at the level of the mechanism of understanding itself, between the regions of narrowing, and our ability to grasp and understand the wide whole of the model?


So that’s with regard to mental models.

What about digital models?

Ask yourself the same questions.

And wonder about the future of software, and technique, and the possibility of amplifying this relationship, between wide and narrow.

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