News and opinion

Back to overview


Philosophy is the mother of all sciences

In Western culture, the single individual is more important than the group,
while in Asian civilizations, the group is more important than the individual.
Why is this relevant with reference to an ANS? Well, today we know how one single
individual neuron is working, but we have no idea, how biological neural nets work.

Biology is an Ancient Greek term, consisting of 2 words, namely
bios = life and logos = knowledge, so biology = knowledge of life.
The same holds true for the Ancient Indian term known as Ayurveda,
where Ayur = life and Veda = knowledge, meaning also knowledge of life.

However, in Eastern medicine, the group of cells, e.g. organs,
are always taken as reference, while the individual cell is neglected.
This is the reason why, neither Ayurveda nor other traditional medicine
have no knowledge about diseases caused by single cell organisms.

Aristotle said once: "The whole is more than the sum of its parts".
Why is that? Because of the following: let us take a car as an example.
If we take all the components of a car, they do not represent a car,
but if we connect all those components accordingly, then we do have a car.

So, the whole is obviously more than the sum of its parts, because
the parts are connected with each other and they also react together,
while each individual part is alone and by itself, doing nothing.
In my opinion, this also hold true to neurons and neural nets.

My own father was teaching philosophy at the university and he told me:
"Philosophy is the mother of all sciences, because it teaches you how to think.
The basic tools of thinking are logic and the evolution from simple to complex..
The result of thinking in a particular area of knowledge is then called science."

In math, single individual values, e.g. numbers from 0 to 9, are most important,
while the relations between them is always the same, namely linear.
Everybody knows this from own experience: more is more and less is less.
Everything is very simple, because one has only to follow a line, step by step.

The usage of these numerical values is in sync with the physical world,
e.g. the distances become longer with every step, we can see it every time.
The same is with weight or height, objects are gradually heavier ot taller.
Everything is just a line of values, same like climbing up and down a staircase.

However, with the flow of time we have a dual feeling, because of the following:
if nothing happens, then we take a look at the watch and see time is flowing steadily,
namely second after second, we can count them and use hereby math. Simple, isn't it?
But when something interesting is happening, then we lose our sense of time, he he

Why is this happening to us? Cause we do not count the happenings, we just experience them.
In this case, even if the physical time is flowing steadily, the logical time is different.
Why? The perceived logical time flies by, only if something interesting is happening.
So, the logical time does not flow linear, cause every happening is distinct and not connected.

Now, with neurons we have the same non-linear activity, which implies
only if something is worth of triggering the neuron, only then it will fire.
In technical terms, the sums of positive values should exceed the firing level.
For this case, we can not use our math logic, which states that everything evolves linear.

Now imagine our big problem, a single individual neuron is not working linear.
We can understand its functionality, but we have no usage for it in our everyday life.
Let alone, grouping many neurons together, where the group is NOT a line, and its
organization is actually a network, with groups for input, output and processing.

The entire actual knowledge and corresponding technology is based on math,
means everything we do and use, implies more or less, the use of calculations.
Now, suppose there is somebody out there, who says and can also prove,
that things can be achieved much better with logic instead of mathematics.

I have read some time ago an interview with Max Levchin in Technology Review:
Even if this was done in 2012, it still holds true today, as people rarely change.
In this article he complains about the spirit of innovation for startups:
"The PayPal cofounder wants to see more startups trying for bigger things."

I agree with him, nevertheless, I also think there is the following problem:
The society and the economy do NOT want any revolutionary innovation.
Why? The answer is simple, most people are afraid of fundamental changes.
This is valid also for investors, especially to the so called Internet generation.

Back to overview