« Day 3 Week 5 of the CORTEX MBAnalytics | Main | Day 5 Week 5 of the CORTEX MBAnalytics »

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


There's been a lot of interesting AI / Robotics work shoiwng how the interaction of actually quite primitive directives can have the appearance of intelligence (we tend to anthropomorphize and see intelligence rather than just the interplay of basic imperatives, programmed or instinctual). The human abilities to generalize from specifics, discriminate specifics from the general case, and organize information structurally, are perhaps our most defining capabilities. These abilities allow us to deal with a complex world. If we don't rely on simplifications and generalizations, we'd never act at all (information overload). However, acting on these generalizations, it is important to remember the distinction between correlation and causation! One can give examples where human assumption of cause and effect lead to the wrong answer. But there are so many more where the human assumption works well. One does not have to understand how ants work to learn that if you leave a piece of bred with jelly on it in the grass, soon ants will find it and form a food line. It is tempting to believe the world is too complicated for humans, but I personally reject that notion at the right level of abstraction, things are simpler. Predicting a single human behavior is harder than predicting how a group of humans will behave (the science behind statistical sampling / polling). I'm not exactly disagreeing with the sentiments of the comment thread, but I'll leave you with this thought. At some level, the relationships between two people are complicated. The sum of many individual actions, reactions, interactions. Too complicated to compute. Too complicated to explain. And you can't possibly know what either of them is truly thinking what is inside their brain. The ultimate black box. But, my human mind has a very simple way of simplifying this that cannot be argued with. I love my family. There are people in my life I label, without reservation, friend . Maybe the world isn't as complicated as we'd like to believe when it comes to the important stuff- it just looks that way when you get into the weeds.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

Site Meter

Become a Fan