An attempt to catch up with the world around us

The last 2-3 months has been very busy and I have almost lost touch of what's going on in my interest fields.

My reader is filled up and I will surely not be able to catch up with the load.

As a co-incidence, I came across this site, Knowledge Web. I listened to a podcast on knowledge where James Burke, who's the brain behind this idea was interviewed. It's a very interesting idea and let me try to describe it below.

The amount of information/knowledge in the world has increased so much that this is creating new kinds of problems. While on one side are problems like Continuous Partial Attention, on the other end are other humanitarian problems.

This is the line that caught me most:

“People tend to become experts in highly specialized fields, learning more and more about less and less.”

Wow! People say, “I consider myself an expert in component A of product B on platform Z”. Everyone is an expert if we think about it.

The problem with this is people become ignorant of the progress in other branches. Re-invention of the wheel is inevitable. It's always a good idea to know as much about diverse fields as possible. James encourages people to look at other fields (totally unrelated to your present field) and learn that the knowledge of the whole world is connected. In fact, in the podcast he describes how people (who form the vertices of a graph) are connected with events (as edges) and you can move from any event to any event by traveling in this graph, which he calls the Knowledge Web.

Now think about what that means. You have a way of connecting the incident that Gandhiji was killed with the invention of the computer, or any thing like that.

James then describes how the present education system is outdated and what needs to be done to revive it.

So do this. Read/Learn about something that is totally unrelated to what you do for a living and see what that has in store for you. Learn about arts, history, philosophy, chemistry or whatever you can think of and see what is the hot thing in their field and soon you will see how the world is all related!

Difference in interpretation?

I like blue. This has nothing to do with me being in IBM. I have always liked blue.

Now let's say you hate blue and like some other color, say yellow. What is the reason behind this?

Why do you like what you like? Why do different people like different colors? Is it possible that we all like the same thing, but the way we interpret it is different? In other words, what is 'blue' for me is 'yellow' for you?

I am not sure why I feel this, but there is no way you can deny this because in order to know what my feeling for blue is you have to be 'me', and you cannot be 'me' unless 'I' am 'you'. Further, likings are based on intuitions and cannot be reasoned.

I have had this thought for a long time. Recently I was reading something on AI and I started wondering, “If all computers are made up of the same 'hardware' how can we instill different emotions in them?” The most straight-forward thought that comes to my mind is to instill it using software. This means that you can program a computer to like something and then configure a computer to interpret things differently so that different computers behave differently.

How are human beings different?!

Ok enough of this.

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