Of Human Limitations and the Complexity of the Universe

Reference article – https://onezero.medium.com/machine-learning-might-render-the-human-quest-for-knowledge-pointless-5425f8b00a45

We pride ourselves on our understanding of rules and laws and concepts to explain what we see and experience. 

Guess what, we will have no option but to trust machine created algorithms which are practically impossible to explain using the same models. 

This is not in the future but it is already here. For example, with some medical diagnostics and predictive systems. or AlphaGo.

This is a depressing scenario for all of us engineers and “rational” beings. We like to understand and explain how things work. We seek the underlying laws that allow us to do so.

David Weinberger states the obvious when he says “the true complexity of the world far outstrips the laws and models we devise to explain it.”

But then he also makes a powerful case for the learning machines and how they are able to overcome the human limitations that prevent us from deriving meaningful rules out of this complexity.

“Alexa, please tell me if it’s going to rain today.” 

“Yes GK, It will rain at 3:25 PM today for 12 minutes at your location.”

And there will be no way to know how Alexa knows that and no way for Alexa to explain that to us in a meaningful manner.