Thought Bites: Categorisation and thinking

Thought BitesToday I read again about how our brain works, what influences our thinking and what makes us “intelligent”. This is a core basic for developing Artificial Intelligence, which will be a key success factor in business, but will also appear in many other areas of life in the near future. With so called “deep learning algorithms” machines “learn” to think how we do. For some basics this blogpost from HyperVerge is a nice one, with some videos included.
But back to my readings of today: No new information, but always good to keep that in mind is, that we as humans, but also all other animals and living beings are not able to see the world as it is. With our senses, we only see, hear, feel, what our senses are able to recognise. This stimuli are processed in our nervous system including the brain, which is totally encapsulated. So all pictures we see, all sounds we hear, all things we feel as pictures our mind is creating for us and we can never be sure, that another person sees, feels, hears the same. In practice I often have the experience, that a lot of people forget this fact and e.g. expect, that someone else sees, feels, hear the same without ensuring from him/her that this is really the case.

Another aspect is how we store and process information in our brain: As far as we know today, we work in categories. The human mind is organised in categories that are build. Generally there are three ways how categories are formed (Levitin, 2015):

  • Categories can be also formed based on the appearance. This can be either fine or gross. This means that we put things in categories how they appear to us. We can put all dogs into one category, the big ones, the small ones, the long-haired ones or the naked ones. Or we can put them in finer categories based on these characteristics.
  • Another categorisation can be done based on the functional equivalence. This means that if we see things equally in function, we put them into one category. This can be a piece of wood, a hammer, a baseball club, a golf club in the category of tools working well for self defence.
  • A third way of categorisation is based on particular situations, e.g. if you put things together you need as a basic pack for travelling, like soap, shaver, under-trousers, socks, a chocolate bar your laptop and your passport.

Categories play an important role in machine learning, as often computers build categories that do not make sense to us and therefore come to different or other, sometimes stupid conclusions. Categorisation and re-categorization helps us to learn and to develop.

What came to my mind when reading this, is, how this fits to organisational structures and how we build categories in daily business based on roles and structures and when and how they are functional. This aspect I have to think through a bit more in details. So stay tuned or post your thoughts.

 

Levitin, D. (2015). The Organised Mind. New York: Penguin.

 

2016-11-04T17:21:08+00:00

About the Author:

Oliver Mack
Dr. Oliver Mack ist Berater, Speaker, Entrepreneur und Forscher im Bereich moderner innovativer Managementmethoden und -konzepte. Er beschäftigt sich vorrangig mit Themen wie Projektorientiertes Unternehmen, Organisationsdesign, Change-Management und Komplexität. Er ist Dozent an verschiedenen internationalen Hochschulen und Autor zahlreicher Fachartikel und Gründer des xm:institutes.

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