Humans are really good at Deep Learning

Intuition yields better results than knowledge

Since I started training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu my body has been feeling like a piece of dough constantly squeezed by strong hands. The other day my foot got insured and I drove home with the common feeling of pain. Interestingly, a few hours later, I started thinking about Stinson Beach, a long stretch of sandy beach about 20 miles north of where I live in San Francisco. Next day the feeling even intensified and I cancelled my work commitments and drove up to Stinson. I drove up, took a long walk on the beach and felt really good.

While walking on the beach it suddenly struck me. Why did I feel like coming up here? What a great coincidence, since walking barefoot on the beach really feels good on my foot. Well, maybe it wasn’t a coincidence. Turns out, my body signaled to my brain that a barefoot walking therapy on Stinson Beach is what was needed that day. I was basically functioning like a deep learning algorithm. I didn’t think about walking on the beach explicitly. I didn’t go through a decision tree, like what should I do to remedy my foot pain etc. I simply felt like doing the right thing.

I have a history of injuries and my foot is typically part of that. As a runner and practitioner of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu the foot is center piece. So I have enough data about foot injuries and what followed. Turns out that sometimes after a foot injury I did walk on the beach. Not consciously to remedy the injury, but just for fun. Maybe I was on vacation or just happened to walk on the beach the day after the injury.

Now, the interesting thing is that my foot typically felt much better after the walk. So my body remembered that foot injury and walking on the beach are related to each other. Specifically, a barefoot walk on the beach historically has shown to be good for alleviating the foot pain.

That’s exactly why I felt like walking on the beach that day. My body felt something that my brain didn’t even think about. Only later I realized why I was so eager to walk on the beach.

We call this intuition. In computer science this is called Deep Learning. We are on the verge of a new area when machines can do the same like humans. Sort through data and come up with optimal solutions to a problem based on history and probabilistic approaches to solve the problem.

In humans we call this intuition in machines we call it Deep Learning.

Our society is much more interested in intuition than in knowledge. For example, we pay sports starts a lot more than professors. Why? Because sport is much more about intuition than knowledge.

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