Tackling a problem

When deciding whether or not a road is a good choice, our intuition could suggest it is dangerous, because of a couple car accidents seen long ago and forgotten. Then we unconsciously determine to follow another path, not knowing how risky it truly is. So -because of two isolated events- we made the permanent assumption one way must be avoided.

We model reality upon our own experiences, fears, expectations, biases, prejudices, beliefs, self-gotten knowledge, formal education and social pressures. All these components lie in our unconscious mind and surface without any awareness when approaching reality, defining problems or finding solutions. Our intuitions are basically the unconscious result from all those inner ideas and emotions. But intuition is sometimes a deceiver. It leads us to the immediate survival option. This means, no strategic vision, no planning, just reacting on emotion; which is good when under pressure. Yet, we can be easy prey of planners with priorities other than our own.

Writing down our theory of the problem, makes it easier to analyze or redefine. Searching the Internet might help gathering information, and could support finding biases and preconceptions. Being flexible to ideas that controvert our own is essential for a better theoretical construction. Asking others for viewpoints or questions, surely brings interesting and unexpected perspectives. Being skeptical is a need.

Before making an important decision, it is critical to visualize the future and ask ourselves questions such as: how will others react?, is it legal?, is it the problem or a symptom to it?, is it socially accepted?, am I under social pressure to follow certain path?, what could be its negative effects?, am I willing to bear its consequences?, are there issues not confronted because of fear or other reasons?, am I denying dangers that could arise from my decision? If our own intuitions lead to rejection, perhaps there is some hidden issue; so our solution needs deeper examination.

We can make better life-decisions if we follow some kind of method. This document is maybe a guide to my own procedure for solving problems. I have never tried it completely but I will.



Just a couple months ago I realized that robots are not capable of visual perception. An article I read exposes that watching is a very complex process that needs a lot of intelligence. Understanding a simple chair requires knowing it is the same thing when viewed from different positions. To do this it is not only necessary to have mental images of most chair's angles but an abstraction of the object, which means giving it a name, putting it into a category (furniture, objects for rest by sitting, etc.) Abstraction and defining categories require other skills not directly related to vision: language abilities such as syntax, semantics, words creation, and perhaps even assigning emotional attributes to things (e.g., fire hurts, electricity is dangerous and the like.) And these are not the only problems. Things are not static, they evolve and are part of a three-dimensional world. A glass falls and breaks; this is a process that needs understanding and a corrective action should be taken. People approach, move away or disappear behind a door. A robot will need to know people are its reason to exist, which poses an ethical challenge. Will they be self-aware or have some kind of soul with all this brainpower? For now robots are blind machines, with very restricted autonomy; it seems making them see the world, will not be an easy task.