Can AI help us think better now?
Humans think in terms of 1,2,3,4 lots and lots, while machines think in billions.
The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function. - Physicist Albert Allen Bartlett
Humans struggle to understand exponential growth. Our brains have a linearity bias - we tend to see change in linear terms and struggle to comprehend the magnitude of exponential growth.
There are tons of great examples of how exponential growth runs counter to our intuition. One favorite of math teachers is to ask how many times you would need to fold a piece of paper for it to be thick enough to reach the moon. The answer is 45 times.
Exponential changes run counter-intuitive to the way our linear brains make projections about change, & so we don’t realize how fast the future is coming. - Jason Silva
There are many reasons we weren’t prepared for the pandemic but this feature of our cognition is part of the story. Countries that have previously dealt with SARS know what exponential feels like; they have been through the emotional conditioning required to mobilize quickly and have been able to act ahead of a visible appearance of catastrophe.