Friday, July 6, 2012

Rage against the machine - Pattern Matching

One of the major strengths (and sometimes weakness) of the human brain is its ability to perform pattern matching - the classic is where people play more attention while playing games and digitising and gamifying the airport security leads to less false positives. We perform heuristics in everything we see and hear, often coming to conclusions based on partial information, based on extrapolation performed using past experience. This is why upper-case letters in English are so much easier to read since we have built up heuristics to infer the letter from the top-half, people who write in all capitals seem to be almost shouting as our visual heuristics take the cue.

Ambiguous painting
Machines are getting better at the heuristics as well as brute force, we have passed them on just the way we pass on preconceptions of right and wrong, beauty and religion to our children. Based on this system of thought and accumulated body of knowledge, machines can perform pattern matching tasks they are programmed for in vastly superior ways than humans. All they demand in return is energy, materials to build them and intelligent human beings to make some long intellectual marches in programming them.
Cat videos are the dominant species
In someways the rote jobs of pure pattern matching has made us mental Neanderthals with short neural loops focused on ambush hunting only the job at hand, rather than thinking long term strategy. The long chase where all the short easy pattern matching jobs have been mechanised is for the more creative, the artists. Yet there is still need for the engineer to keep the machines functioning. There are always predictions of race of against the machines. We still need to communicate our mental models imperfectly via whatever means.
Genies are just machines with Genius

May be with exposure to lots of cat videos and artwork, the machine will eventually learn to play with cats while painting, and we will keep building bigger machines since we can't be born biologically with bigger skulls or weild GeV's with our finger tips.
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