Monday, April 6, 2020

Do we understand?

I have mentioned the value I found in the book "Incognito" by Eagleman. It includes useful and clarifying examples of what it means that a good deal of our bodies and minds are not accessible by our conscious minds.  Here is another book that can be downloaded to a Kindle or tablet or phone or computer that gives new views of our thinking. It is the book "Everyday Chaos" by David Weinberger.  

The book is about artificial intelligence (AI).  It has been traditional to require artificial intelligence systems to be able to explain why they give solutions or advice they come up with.  Everyday Chaos explains that in some cases the explanation may be too long and complex for a human to understand. That idea brings up the concept of complexity.  It is often stated that our brains are extremely complex. Sometimes, it is also stated that the human brain has evolved over time and is not the result of a clear thinking engineering and design process but is instead a somewhat hodge-podge of evolution's attempts to provide the human with necessary thinking power to survive and thrive. 

This leads to the subject of message length.  Say, I have a sweetheart and I am hoping she will marry me.  I receive a letter from her and I read it. But at the end of the letter, it says "1 of 10,000,000 pages".  It becomes clear that I don't have the stamina or the longevity to read the letter. Maybe a good editor can reduce the number of pages but not if she is convinced that every golden, perfect word of her letter is totally essential to what she wants to say.  This same sort of message and attention and energy and brain willingness applies to any message or communication. It can't be too long to be read.  

Weinberger explains that the theory and practice of artificial intelligence has typically set as a necessary goal that solutions and advice for humans needs to include an explanation of why the advice is as it is.  But Weinberger explains that maybe some good ideas will involve complex reasoning that will be too difficult and/or too challenging for humans to grasp.  

Here is a link to the notes I made on the Weinberger's book.

Popular Posts

Follow @olderkirby