Range

Despite the proliferation of AI, humans are still crushing it.
The advantage is attributed to a simple life hack called Range.

AI systems thrive in stable structures and narrow domains. In such narrow worlds, humans may fail to make relatively substantial contributions. But the world is not a game of chess.

In the orderly world of chess, the progress of AI has been exponential. Again, though rule-bound, the world of self-driving cars is relatively messier. Thanks to the curveballs thrown at least once in a while, this domain continues to pose challenges for AI systems. Now contrast that with an open world of no rules or historical data like cancer research. In fields where we are still struggling to ask the right questions, AI has not made great success.

David Epstein explains the above in his bestseller Range – “Narrow specialization is not meant for unkind domains.” How we wish our world was kind enough to have published all the rules up front. (Wherever it has, do note the disclaimer in tiny font – subject to change without notice.)

Even as we are navigating the fourth industrial revolution, our traditional educational systems seldom promote interdisciplinary critical thinking. As Epstein puts it, the need is to develop habits of the mind to Dance across Disciplines. Because one skill/ tool may not suffice in this complex dynamic world we live in today.

As a professional and as a parent, my biggest takeaway – No skill/ tool is omnipotent.

Steve Jobs credited a calligraphy course he took at college to his design aesthetics (and Mac’s beautiful typography). And when studies suggest that Nobel Laureates are 22% more likely to have interests outside their field from music to arts, why compare the kid at home to Young Sheldon? (Who else is hooked to this sitcom?! 😊)

Thank you Irina Ghose for the book recommendation; made for a good weekend read.

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