Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

We don’t know the things that we don’t know

We know the things that we know. That knowledge may seem a lot to us. Yet, that knowledge of known knowns becomes very small when we start considering (i) the things we know that we don’t know (eg, most foreign languages), and/or (ii) the things we don’t even know that we don’t know these (no example – by definition). There’s also a category of things we don’t know that we do know (eg, intuition).

The above translates into this explanatory diagram:

Most of the time, it’s not a problem that we know so little. Why? Because we don’t need to know.

There are some guiding principles that help explain:
– we only use information that we need, want and/or believe in (my blogs, Wiki);
specialization (eg, job, sport, study) further narrows what we need to know;
– we delegate information to dictionaries, encyclopedias and the internet;
– other information is considered redundant (my blogs, Wiki);
– we use assumptions (my blogs) to fill in the blanks in our knowledge.

The above principles prevent a conflict between our actual use of information and our maximum processing and/or storage of information. This benefits our response time (eg, car driving, danger). To some extent, computer architecture mirrors our own situation. That makes sense as why would we reinvent the wheel?

For centuries and probably even millennia, these principles reflect a common purpose: harder, better, faster, stronger. The development of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics (my blogs) will take this purpose to the next level (eg, self-driving car, lethal autonomous weapons).

The human future lies in accessing the territory of unknown unknowns (eg, fantasy, imagination, science, Sci-Fi). Often this implies pushing against known boundaries. Sometimes, it’s just dumb luck. Sometimes, it remains a mystery (eg, my blog on the invention of the wheel). I think, feel and believe that it’s vital having internal curiosity and asking yourself the why question.

“There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.” A quote by Donald Rumsfeld (1932-2021), who served as US Secretary of Defense (1975-1977, 2001-2006).

(Harder Better Faster) Stronger (2007) by Kanye West
artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

[Intro: Daft Punk]
Work it, make it, do it, makes us
Harder, better, faster, stronger

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise.


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