Learning and the database of facts
Much of the Learning that we have to do at school and university is based on the accumulation of facts.
It is extremely rare for any child to be taught how to better learn to 'store' and structure those facts or to be taught how to reason properly in order to extract them.
In effect, using this approach there is firstly no guarantee the information is correct, in the second place unless we build up a complete model of the system with it, the only thing we can do with the information is recall it. It may impress a few people that we know the entire train timetables for the south east region off by heart, but it is of no use whatsoever unless we have learnt how to travel efficiently by rail
In effect - analogously – much learning is simply a test of how well we can store information in our Database of facts and then how good our indexing system is at recalling it. Most exams are based on this principle – store and recall. Most game shows or game quizzes are also based on this ability. How well do we store the information index and it and how well can we recall it.
Computers can do this better, which means that humans who only have this ability are actually redundant. Where humans score over computers is in their ability to analyse, synthesise, and reason with the system they have deduced.
Being able to simply store away information spoon fed to us is no test of how good we are at building up understanding from the information, or how good we are at rejecting information that is inconsistent or wrong. In effect there is a next stage in the learning process that people are often not so good at – the pattern matching, the sifting and the rejection of information that is invalid, or cannot be verified by observation, or is inconsistent and makes no sense from a system point of view. This is what intelligence is.
Our train timetable enthusiast would get nowhere if he believed the train timetable was always correct.
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