Saturday, 19 September 2015

Brain power II


In the previous video post, world chess champion Magnus Carlsen says he knows which move to make almost immediately - he just knows. He goes on to say that further analysis merely tends to confirm that he hasn’t made a mistake and from that point of view is useless. The move he "knew" to be right turns out to be right.

When applied beyond chess it’s a common ability, this ability to "know" without analysing how and why. It's a kind of pattern recognition. Carlsen recognises patterns on the chess board, strengths and weaknesses he has seen before, similarities with other positions in other games.

For the rest of us it is much the same in daily life. Pattern recognition based on experience rather than analysis. A kind of instinct, a firing of memories, matching similar situations. Goes on all the time. Too often we insert our prejudices instead, but when we don’t we often turn out to be right, especially when it comes to spotting  a false note, a bad move or a weak point.

Most climate sceptics know the heart of orthodox climate science is corrupt. We also know it attracts some of the worst scientists in the world, as well as the worst journalists and the most mendacious politicians. The analysis has to be done but early impressions are merely confirmed. The corruption is blatantly conspicuous.

Many people immediately ridiculed Jeremy Corbyn’s recent rise to the leadership of the Labour party, immediately seeing him as a waste of space who never outgrew his political adolescence. Again it’s much the same as Carlsen assessing a chess position. Corbyn has form, his unsuitability is obvious, the matter doesn’t require analysis, the move by Labour is clearly doomed.

I think Corbyn is too old and inexperienced but I’m also inclined to wait and see if a new mood of totalitarian enthusiasm has gripped a significant section of the electorate. Yet I "know" I'm making the wrong move and ridicule is probably a better reaction. Corbyn has form.

This kind of pattern recognition can work remarkably well for those who know enough about an issue and have no strong allegiances to cloud their view of the board. Many people "know" David Cameron may be decent enough at a personal level but is not politically trustworthy. Unfortunately we also know he has to beat Corbyn in 2020 if they both last that long.

So there are no good moves left. That is obvious too.


Anonymous said...

Fear not, AK, because 'Dim Dave' has promised to depart before the next election and hand over the reins to 'Georgie-porgie'.

Ah, yes, quite, a few probs there!

First of all 'Dim Dave' didn't realise he'd be facing one of the largest 'tits' ever to lead a political party in this, 'our septic Isle'. So he might be reconsidering - but - but - he's an Old Etonian gent and surely he wouldn't go back on his word! (Oh no, say it ain't so!)

Second, is Georgie up to the job of swatting 'Jezza'? I think that even recognising that Georgie is only an Old Harrovian it must be well within his capabilities.

But, and this the third potential prob, is it really likely that the Labour party will stick with 'Jezza' and his 'wannabe Brandistas' for four more years? They're thick enough but they do say that survival sharpens the mind wonderfully!

James Higham said...

Certainly intriguing. Waiting and seeing.

Anonymous said...

Pattern recognition does play a big part, most of us use it most of the time. But now and again something previously unseen or mis-recognised catches us out.

Politics has become so dull, so ineffective and so hopeless many must hope Corbyn will act as a sort of catalyst or a curve-ball - whatever you think of his policies. Probably he will turn into muddy sludge and get slung down the sink, pity really.

Demetrius said...

In the decade 2010 to 2020 the electorate will have had major changes. One is those leaving the register several hundred thousand a year and the other is those joining it, perhaps the same sort of figures. This is a lot of people. Then there is the work they will be doing, if any, this will have changed also. Then there is how many are located where, there will be changes here. As winning or losing the election depends on the margins in many constituencies what exactly might happen we do not know. As for disasters, blunders and unintended consequences it is all to play for.

A K Haart said...

David - I think George may be more politically astute than his reputation. Even if he isn't, Jeremy should help him shine and Labour have a record of not ditching dud leaders.

James - it is intriguing. How bad is he?

Roger - I agree, he could trigger something but as you say he could also sink into the mire and make no useful impact at all.

Demetrius - good point. The electorate is changing and knowledge of past blunders is consequently fading.