"PO is a new word. If this word existed in language, only two other words would be more important. In twenty years time, when computers have taken over most of human thinking, no other word will be more important."
Edward de Bono in his book PO: Beyond Yes and No, written in 1972.
"Just as the camera took over the function of art to paint lifelike pictures, so the computer is gradually taking over the second-stage thinking process for which we developed our YES/NO thinking system. All you have to do is give the computer a concept package and instructions on what to do, and it finds the right answer to that package. Two very important points arise from this:
1. We must stop thinking that the infallible logic of the computer produces ‘right’ answers. This is a residue of the old idea that logic produces right answers. Neither logic nor computers produce right answers; they only produce answers consistent with the initial concept package.
2. Since computers can now take over the second-stage thinking process, we had better start developing thinking tools for the first stage [perception], as the thinking tools we have are useless for this purpose. The logical efficiency of computers is wasted unless we can develop better tools for setting up concept packages. This is why I suggested the word PO, which would at the moment be third in importance to YES and NO, will eventually become more important than either when computers have taken over more of human thinking."
PO is the key concept in his Lateral Thinking workshop.
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