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To know or not to know, that's a question! | ”知道还是不知道,这是个问题” 双语沙龙精彩回顾 @12.20

1. The knowledge illusion
A teacher is asking her student:" Do you understand this?" The students reply with a loud "Yes". But the exams prove that most kids have misjudged their learning. When we were students, we all had similar experience.
In many cases, we think we already know something, but actually we don't fully know that thing.Rebecca Lawson, a psychologist at the University of Liverpool, designed an experiment to show us how ignorant we are.
In the experiment, she showed a group of students a schematic drawing of a bicycle that was missing several parts of the frame as well as the chain and the pedals. Then she asked the students to fill in the missing parts. It's surprising that half the students were unable to complete the drawings correctly. They didn't do any better when they were shown the correct drawings as well as three incorrect ones and were asked to pick the correct one.



2. Why are we suffering from knowledge illusions
In his book Think, fast and slow, Daniel Kahneman writes that we human beings have two models of thinking. The fast one, that we uses our intuition. The slow one, that we uses our rationality. In most cases, we don't think over and over again for convenience. Shane Frederick designed CRT (cognitive reflection test) to show our intuition leads to mistakes.
In the event, I asked 4 volunteers 4 questions. None was correct. Now you can try it again.
1) A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs $1.00 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?
2) In a lake, there is a patch of lily pads. Every day, the patch doubles in size. If it takes 48 days for the patch to cover the entire lake, how long would it take for the patch to cover half of the lake?
3) If it takes 5 machines 5 minutes to make 5 widgets, how long would it take 100 machines to make 100 widgets?
4) Mike says: she dresses in red. Jimmy says: she dresses in red and she wears a hat. Mike and Jimmy, who do you think is more likely to be true?



3. How to reduce knowledge illusions
Rozenblit and Keil thought out an easy and effective way to solve this problem. It included 3 simple questions:
1) On a scale from 1 to 7, how well do you understand how zippers work? Everyone should tell your gourp the result.
2) How does a zipper work? Describe in as much detail as you can all the steps involved in a zipper's operation.
3) Now, on the same 1 to 7 scale, rate your knowledge of how a zipper works again.
After trying to explain how a zipper works, most people realize they have little idea and thus lower their knowledge rating by a point or two.



4. The community of knowledge
Although we know little about this world, but our daily lives are not affected by ignorance. This is because the human mind is not like a desktop computer which is designed to hold lots of information. The mind is a flexible problem solver that evolved to extract only the most useful information to guide decisions in new situations.
As a result, individuals store very little detailed information about the world in their heads. however, we are like bees and society is like a beehive: Our intelligence resides not in individual brains but in the collective mind.
And this is also proved by AI scientist. In the beginning, scientists believed human brain controls everything, so they needed a super computer as the brain of the robot. Every movement was computed by its brain. But this turned out to be impossible: no matter how fast the computer was, the calculation was so difficult that the robot would be slow and dump. This is the so-called GOFAI-Good Old-Fashioned Artificial Intelligence.
In the mid-1980s, Rodney Brooks, a computer science professor at MIT, championed an alternative approach called embodied intelligence. When Brook's team build a robot, they would start with a simple machine that could do nothing but walk or look. The robot doesn't have a know-it-all processing unit, each part would deal with its own problem. And that's how we build robots now.



5. The hidden dangers
Now we know we live in some communities of knowledge. But is it absolutely safe from being deceived? We are told by newspaper that people are singing and dancing to celebrate the opening of some special meeting. We see the bullets can make a turn by a in a TV drama on history. We are advised by some experts that we should use some high-tech products to become healthier and younger.
If we happen to know the truth, we can avoid being deceived. But if we don't know which is right, how can we make a correct choice?
In the presentation, I showed a picture. In this picture, one is spinning a rock around his head with a string tied to this rock. When the string is cut, what path is the rock going to take as it flies away from you? If you never have any idea about physics, it would be very difficult to answer. And by intuition, many people prone to think the rock would fly in a curve.
In discussion, most guys thought that we could ask experts for help as well as search the Internet. And we should read more books. Actually, I think it is almost impossible totally free from being deceived. But we should do as much as we can to avoid bing deceived.
1) keep the accessibility of knowledge.
2) join a reliable community of knowledge.
3) ask several experts for help
4) use your brain to think critically and deeply
5) use scientific methods to test


6. The benefits of ignorance
For human beings, ignorance is inevitable. it's our natural state. There is too much complexity in the world for any individual to master. We get into trouble not by ignorance but by not recognizing it.
In the film The Matrix, this is a choice that confronts Neo: take the red pill and live in the real world or take the blue pill and maintain the comfort of illusion.
It is a choice everyone confronts. By avoiding illusion, you're more likely to be accurate. But illusion is a pleasure.
Just because we don't know what lies ahead, we can have the courage to make bold statements and take bold actions. It gives people the self-confidence to enter new territory. It gives people the motivation to establish or fix a relationship.


I really like the film "The secret life of Walter Mitty, and is deeply attracted by the motto of magazine Life.
To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, to draw closer, to find each other and to feel. That is the purpose of LIFE.
Why we hesitate to take actions? I think it is not because we don't know, it is because we always try to know. We try to be rational every time, and if we can't, we loose our courage to see the world, to draw closer and to find each other. If we don't know and we know we can't know, we may live a much more splendid life.
So, to know or not to know, that's a question.


Host / 分享人

Daniel
I was born in Hubei, studied in Shanghai, now live in Xiamen and work in Beijing. A so-called "writer" in the government. A C-E translator and a ployglot who can read and write in japanese. A bookworm who like reading psychology, cognitive science and traditional Chinese works. Also a running enthusiast and a beginner of bodybuilding.

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PET是一个可以聊英文,交朋友,分享人生经历的英文爱好者社区。
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