‘Give me the child for his first seven years, and I’ll give you the man’ — Aristotle
“Chappie” is a South-African based movie about an artificially intelligent law enforcement robot captured and taught by gangsters, who nickname it Chappie. Lead AI researcher Deon uploads and artificial general intelligent programme to a defective artificially intelligent law enforcement droid and then gets kidnapped by a group of gangsters who are desperate to complete a series of crimes to find much-needed funds. When Deon is kidnapped the AGI (artificial general intelligent) droid is in his van and thus falls into the hands of the bad guys. It is what happens next that is the focus of this Thursday Thought.
When the droid is activated with the newly uploaded AGI software it must learn information in order to operate in our world. The robot has a natural curiosity to learn about art and creativity. One of the gangsters bonds with the droid, (now named Chappie) Chappie calls her Mommy.
Meanwhile, the lead gangster is furious that Chappie is learning such “soft skills” which are “useless” to their goals of robbery and crime. He ensures that once Chappie learns very basic skills (which it learns at an exponential rate) he teaches Chappie how to shoot, how to walk and talk like a gangster and how to fight, but Chappie is not predisposed to such ways and rejects them.
Next, the gangster realises he must teach Chappie that the world outside is a dangerous world and to be safe he must adopt the ways of his new family. Knowing that law enforcement robots are despised by criminals he drops the learning robot to the most dangerous area he knows so that the the robot will be beaten, smashed and even set alight by the local hoodlums. As a result Chappie sees his gangster family as safety and learns that he should adopt their ways in order to survive.
This movie is well worth watching and I have not spoiled it for you here, what the story demonstrates is how a machine learns is essentially the same as how a human learns. Machine learning and human learning follow many of the same principles, the data and events the entity experiences form their world view.
A couple of week’s ago we welcomed the brilliant Dr Bruce Lipton. Bruce explained that in order to survive humans had to find ways to absorb information as quickly as possible in order to fit in to their social communities.
Both adults and children display different brain wave patterns in different states, for example:
- Alpha waves occur when we are relaxed and calm
- Beta waves occur when we are actively thinking, problem-solving, etc.
- Delta waves occur during sleep
- Theta waves are associated with sleep, deep relaxation (like hypnotic relaxation), and visualisation
- Gamma waves are important for learning, memory and information processing and higher processing tasks as well as cognitive functioning
Researchers found that a specific brain wave dominates specific developmental stages in children. From 0–2 years children are mainly in delta patterns. Children remain heavily in theta and delta until they are seven years old. To give you context, hypnotherapists drop their subjects into theta state because this low frequency brain wave puts them into a more suggestible, programmable state.
This gives us a strong clue how children up until age 6 can download such a vast amount of new information. We are designed to learn by observation and the child brain is particularly susceptible to learning this way. As children, we record mental programmes in this theta-rich period. This is why it is so easy to learn as a child, learn language, learn behaviours and create a world view.
Unfortunately, the information we download in this fragile period can become hardwired and it is very difficult to re-programme ourselves. This is why I mention the story of Chappie above, the behaviours and world views we learn as children (and older) become the habits that we use to both understand and navigate the world.
Behaviourism is a learning theory that assumes learners are essentially passive, responding only to environmental stimuli through positive and negative reinforcement. Behaviour theorists believe we start off as a blank slate (tabula rasa) and we learn what is right or wrong by observing others closest to us. In theta state this is very much the case, but learning by observation continues all the way throughout our lives. After the programming we receive from parents, mentors, coaches and teachers, the next frontier for learning by observing is the workplace.
Shadow of a Leader
“Every great institution is the lengthened shadow of a single (wo)man. His (Her) character determines the character of the organisation.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
Shadow of the Leader is a phrase used to describe a business phenomenon where people in a position of authority, through organisational habits, beliefs and values can influence the culture of those around them. (This influence can be good or bad). In order to get ahead in an organisation, in order to fit in, employees take cues from their leader.
My point is that we often point to certain people and influences as the blame for certain behaviours and outcomes in our society, but sometimes it is the system (including belief system) that is broken. As I discuss with our guest on this week’s innovation show Ian Gibbs (author of 23 Tips to Learn Stuff Better), how we feed the system is our responsibility. To change the system, the system requires a new narrative and that narrative is fed by new information. The onus is on us as a society to recalibrate the system from a competitive, fear-driven society to become a collaborative fear-free society. How we lead is how we influence the system. To inject new information into our society we must learn new information and unlearn other information and then we must tell a new story. This is how change happens.
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” — Mahatma Gandhi
This week’s innovation show is Episode 163: “23 Tips to Learn Stuff Better with Ian Gibbs” we welcome author of “23 Tips to Learn Stuff Better: so you can spend less time studying and more time enjoying yourself”, Ian Gibbs.
Did you know learning is a skill? Did you know that learning to learn stuff better is much easier once you know how? Did you know there are dozens of ways to improve your ability to learn more stuff in less time that you can apply immediately?
If you didn’t, you’re in luck. This little book might be just what you need. By using these simple but effective methods, you will improve your capacity to learn, understand more and remember for longer. You’ll start getting better grades, start feeling better about your classes and become a better student.
It doesn’t require brain surgery, hormone injections, getting tattooed in unmentionable places or paying for extra tuition. In fact, beyond the (extremely modest) cost of this book, applying them is virtually free.
Avoid wasting any more study time and start getting the most out of your education by picking out your favourite top study tips and start learning stuff better right now.
Have a listen:
More about Ian here: www.iangibbs.es