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Do we control our thought process or them? Hint: Not us.

We think about a lot of things. We believe in a lot of things. We even design our hopes based on our thinking. But do we control our thoughts or it's them?

If it’s them, then who’s them? Let’s explore.

We live our life taking certain decisions at every passing time and that defines the quality of life we lead. We also take help from others in case we are not able to figure it out. But there are few decisions that we take and realize that we could not do anything like that. Then who took that decision? If not you then who.

Machine learning architecture

This article is written imitating the human brain and machine learning algorithms. Let’s understand machine learning algorithms by following the above picture. It’s called a neural network. There are 3 things written that you can see, let’s relate them to our own brain. The neural network shown in the picture has Input, Hidden Layer, and Output. Input is what we teach the algorithm, the hidden layer is the brain side that processes the data, and output is our actions based on the processing. Humans do have many inputs that give them data to think about and based on input data, the brain gives output that leads to action.

The thought process is not something that anyone attains in a given moment. It is developed with time. When a baby is born, it starts to observe everything around it. Machines are imitating this behavior of humans to have decision-making ability. Following are two major factors that affect human thinking:

Environment: Babies observe everything from the environment. Based on the DNA itself, some events around them affect more and some less. Some affect more to the conscious side of the brain and some to the unconscious. A child facing extreme conditions in the home will always feel the world as a horrible place and a child grown in good family conditions will always have a different sequence of thinking. We also see few people committed to crime turning towards doing goodwill for society. Its environment that affects. We always choose sides that we have seen because we believe more in them. We believe more in them as that's the life we have lived. It's a bias that we believe more in our thinking rather than what others tell us even if that’s a better way, it's just a human thing.

Data Input/Observed data: Human learning behavior is surely one of the biggest factors that led to the development of modern machine learning algorithms. Let alone the decision-making algorithm itself is called the neural network. But if we look at the human learning behaviors from a data science view, we can unfold more secrets. Our decisions are based on what we consume. Thinking originates from the closest data source, the family itself. What they think and talk about? In earlier days, the Family decides almost everything, and that everything also contains your bias values in the neural network. Then comes the school, college and that leads to multiple people we meet. Based on our past thinking and beliefs, we like some of them and we also get influenced by them. We do make some wrong decisions and then again new bias is sent to the brain and that changes our beliefs. If we just let off the people, we have phones now. As of this modern era, we have what not apps installed on our phones and we see a lot of content in them. It affects us all. Even a cat video that we see affects our thinking. We see a lot of things just for passing the time but that is also an input to the brain and the brain is gonna fed that data into the neural network.

As there is a quote, ‘Show me your friends, I will show your future’. We get to decide our data inputs/ things that influence us. It is so amazing that every step that we take in our life is based on our old thinking and belief and that step will also affect our future thinking and belief. So, the present is merely a dot-connecting past and the future.

So, does that mean it's just our environment, people we meet, or the content we see that decides our thinking? It feels like an unending spiral. Where every decision is based on something in past and we have no control over the past. We may try to forego it but we can’t delete it. Is there any hope?

Are we also like machines doing just what we see?

What‘s the ultimate point that remains unbiased where we are not influenced by anything. When it’s just our true self. Let’s see machines first. Machines can’t do anything unless they have old reference data. They look at them and based on them they take decisions. Without data, there is no learning for them. The ultimate origin point of the learning ability of machines is data. So, they are going to remain biased towards data. What about humans?

Human thinking starts to evolve before even birth. There is no influence then. Nerve connections start forming just after 5 months of pregnancy. What makes us so different than machines, is the consciousness that we have. The consciousness part is what makes every individual so different. We do have environments and other factors that affect our thinking but the decisions still depend on our consciousness. Consciousness is what makes twins act different even if they face so many things same let alone their DNA from parents. We ourselves always can decide what we want to do. We surely can’t change the past of ours but as a human, we have the ability to change our future.

I started this article with the question, who takes the decision we or them? There is no definite answer to this. It’s a self-decision that who we let take decisions, we ourselves or them. Them includes everything that controlled the development of our thought process.

Challenging our own thinking patterns and beliefs surely is a hard thing to do but that is the only way out. Monks believe in the ideology of staying in present. It makes us stay away from all the influences and that is when we remain in our true self. That is when it will be us, ourselves taking decisions otherwise it won’t be us, it will be them, and we will never know who.

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Abhilash Maurya

Abhilash Maurya

I write opinions. Most of them are not based on some science data, I just let my brain take care of the rest.

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