How to Explain Machine Learning to your Grandma

Machine learning has been a buzzword for the past several years. Most people have the idea that it’s somehow related to computers and how they learn from their experiences, but how would you explain…


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Happy New Paradigm!


Years later she develops behavioural issues. This is a result of not being able to “experience” traumatic events. Instead, she starts to create them herself. She does this because she knows there is a veil over her reality. She knows the truth is trying to force itself out.

Many of us know that there is something more to the reality we experience, we know this whether it is in business or life.

When we enter the workforce, we arrive full of preconceived ideas and beliefs about the world. After a few years in the workplace, we are conditioned by notions about how business is done and how the workplace (mal)functions.

Doxas is the term Plato called these preconceived opinions or notions. Doxa is a Greek word meaning common belief or popular opinion. Doxas are opinions we pick up from the world around us via our surroundings, our workplace, our family, friends, TV, Politics or whatever inputs we allow.

Plato believed that it was our duty to liberate ourselves from doxa by first recognising the shackling doxas and then scrutinising and criticising them.

Consider for a moment that sound that has a frequency of 17,400 Hz can only be heard by teenagers. If you are over eighteen, you are unlikely to hear sound at this frequency. Similar limitations apply to taste, touch, and smell as well. Now consider what else we become closed to.

The word Paradigm comes from the Greek παράδειγμα meaning “pattern, example, sample” and from the verb, παραδείκνυμι meaning “exhibit, represent, expose”.

In essence, it means the expected patterns of thinking or a typical set of concepts or thought patterns. In Ireland, we call this “the same old same old”.

In life, we start to expect what we are conditioned to expect. If one is born into a middle-class home it is often difficult to jump beyond being in the middle class. Likewise, if one is born into monetary abundance, one expects to live within that paradigm. It is what one expects.

In business, we have been using an outdated business methodology for quite a long period of time. It has become increasingly difficult for business leaders to shift from one paradigm to another. This is not the fault of leadership, legacy business is just stuck in a paradigm.

Likewise in our lives, humanity is at its most inventive, focused and resilient in moments of crisis. It is easier to take up a healthy lifestyle when faced with a health crisis.

The human retina has three kinds of receptors used for colour vision. These receptors are called cone cells. Humans see red, green and blue (hence, RGB colours on a computer display).

Birds, who are active during the day have four kinds of cone cells. This extra cell enables birds to see ultraviolet (UV) light.

Scientists discovered that bird cone cells also contain a drop of coloured oil that human cone cells lack. This oil functions like a camera filter. It means birds not only see UV light, but they are also much better than humans at detecting differences between two similar colours. This means birds see a much more colourfully rich world than our human eye is capable of seeing.

Until this discovery, scientists assumed that birds and humans saw colours in the same way. When they realised this is not the case it opened up a whole new way of thinking.

To start questioning your business or life reality, ask yourself this New Year question. “Who’s paradigm am I living?”

As an individual, “Am I living my own reality or am I living a reality fashioned by media, politics and my parents?”

As a business ask yourself, “Are we operating to our own reality or a reality fashioned by the competitors, suspect data and consultants?”

Imagine a business could see their strategy through a new lens? A real lens, a lens that respectfully challenged their direction, but did so in the name of organisational success?

Imagine as an individual we challenged things we have hitherto taken for granted or accepted as written in stone?

There is no written in stone, all should be questioned. In a world of fake news and questionable media, it is would be a wise resolution to question the data we expose ourselves to. More importantly, as a parent question the data our kids are exposed to and as a business leader question the data our personnel are surrounded by.

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