Seeing him read books by basically just scanning two pages at once was astonishing. If I recall correctly, his father mentioned he had recently started to understand and tell jokes, which I found interesting, and somehow moving.
And on a side note, after seeing "the original", Dustin Hoffman's interpretation in Rain Main felt way more precise than I would have ever thought.
 "Brainman", I believe https://guidedoc.tv/documentary/brainman-documentary-film/
"I’m a bit surprised by Helix’s idea that answering this question might get me into trouble, because it’s not something that’s debated among the people who go to competitions. It’s well known that he uses memory techniques like a ‘regular person’ - he was a regular at the world championships for years, slightly before my time (though we did meet in 2000), and always talking about the specific techniques he used. It’s not really that much of a secret…"
There also is a Letterman interview where he behaved rather normal, to the point that Letterman asked him if he was actually autistic (Letterman clearly did not believe it).
One thing I told my nephew is that he can spend thousands of hours playing video games and then have his head full of video game trivia or he can spend thousands of hours learning to program or learning memory sports techniques and have almost as much fun, but instead wind up with something that he can actually use later in his life that doesn't involve working for a video game company.
I don't think there are so many people who find that learning to program or learning memory sports techniques is the same kind of fun as playing video games.
The fact that he lacked conceptual encoding really says something.
To me it reads as a lack of ability to conceptualize, for instance, others‘ state of mind.
These are pretty extraordinary claims and I'm curious to know whether they were ever tested in controlled conditions.
For example, how does one verify the recollection of the contents of "at least" 12,000 books? Was there an experiment performed, where he was asked questions about a sufficiently large, randomly chosen, sample of those 12,000 books?
I understand that Tim Peek made a living out of his mnemonic abilities and I think, in that context, skepticism is justified.
I didn't know about recalling trains timetables and I can't find any pointers online. Can you point to a source explaining how it's done? I always like to impress at parties :)
Btw, the fact that Peek demonstrated common mnemonic skills that don't require unique abilities to perform casts further doubt on the fact that he had such unique abilities.
My memory is decent, but nothing spectacular, and I have numerous poems accurately committed to memory in multiple languages I do not speak, or did not know when I memorised them - and I’m talking lengthy tone poems and that sort of thing.
I memorised them using traditional spaced repetition techniques, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Peek’s recall was similar - content without meaning, a progressing pattern. I think it’s similar to learning music by rote - at any rate, the recall feels similar - flow pickup points, like key frames in animation, with everything following being a seemingly obvious progression from that seed.
This sounds similar, a matter of convenience rather than a need. Glance at a bookshelf and you can know visually what's still unread without checking the books one by one.
Unless you have another source, I think you've misread the article.
From the article:
> ...Kim was able to memorize things from the age of 16–20 months. He read books, memorized them, and then placed them upside down on the shelf to show that he had finished reading them, a practice he maintained all his life.
It sounds like he turned them upside down from an early age to signal that he'd read the book (perhaps to his parents?), not to remember that he'd read it. And then, for some reason, he maintained the practice for the rest of his life.
But either way, the article doesn't say he turned books upside down to remember he'd read them.
"I place a piece of paper between books on the shelf to remember that I've read all the ones on the right."
Yeah, technically, I'm not 'remembering' in this case, I'm 'reminding' myself.
I would have presumed that would have been much higher.
It's a good reminder that knowledge does not equal intelligence or wisdom.
Why is scientific discoveries even something he’s compared against? What does that have to do with the post? Do all people with excessive talents of some kind have to make scientific discoveries to prove it?
How would you even presume to have any idea whether Kim had wisdom to share? Wisdom is very different from scientific discoveries, and why would anyone know that except himself or his family? How hard did you try to find whether he had wisdom to share? What if he had lots of wisdom that the rest of us couldn’t understand? Are you suggesting that someone doesn’t have wisdom unless they publish it?
Let me ask this way: do you consider yourself smart & wise? What scientific discoveries have you made, what wisdom have you told the world?
We should not draw broad conclusions about the way knowledge and intelligence work based on one person who’s in an extremely abnormal situation. In most normal people, knowledge and intelligence and wisdom are closely related, it takes knowledge (experience) to gain wisdom, it takes intelligence to formulate wisdom, and it takes wisdom to seek the kind of knowledge that can lead to intelligence. For most people, having a lot of knowledge would precipitate some wisdom automatically. Normal people spot patterns. You can’t normally have a lot of one without the others. Kim Peek is a stark outlier compared to how normal brains work.
Your comment also hints at a cultural narrative that is common but not true, where people tend to see someone with extraordinary talents and “remind” everyone that it also means there must be some extraordinary deficiencies there too, because balance. There are some people that have extreme memory and are still smarter and more accomplished than the average person. Marilu Henner is a good example of that. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marilu_Henner
It's not about balance. It's about what you can do with it or did with it.
The guy actually had a productive career as a civil engineer and had a decent publication record after being exploited as a grunt differential equation solver at NASA for 10 years while a teenager.
So, we don't tend to remember facts for the sake of facts. This obviously isn't always true, but for vast amounts of information, it would be very difficult to remember single "nodes" of information without having some connection to other information.
Memory contestants use this to their advantage, by creating some sense of story and/or place to attach the otherwise arbitrary information, like digits or cards, to.
I'm sure he could have done a PhD like anyone else.
Why would it even be offensive at all (but especially to you) to question the veracity of facts in a Wikipedia article?