This was worth 6 minutes of my life

I enjoyed this video.

I find Destin’s reasoning a little suspect.  Not a lot, just a little.  He talks about how knowledge isn’t understanding: I agree.  He talks about having to unlearn a skill to re-learn a related but opposite skill: I mostly agree.  I think he forgets how long it took him as a child to learn to ride a bicycle in the first place, and makes some assumptions about learning that aren’t completely supported by his experiment.

Long ago, I read (I think in Godel, Escher, Bach, but maybe not) about an experiment where people were given glasses that inverted the world.  After a while (I forget how long, a few hours or a few days), their brain adjusted, and flipped the inputs, and the world then looked right-side-up.  But only while they still wore the glasses.  If they took the glasses off, then suddenly the world was upside down again, and it took them another while to re-adjust.  So that was one neat thing.  The other was, their brain only adjusted if they were free to interact with the world.  If they were motionless in a chair, the world was upside down forever.

I think this experiment with a backwards bicycle is very much like that.  You don’t learn an algorithm to ride a bike.  You train a neural network.  Those are two very different things.

So it was definitely a neat video, and it definitely highlighted some interesting cognitive problems (e.g. bias), but I don’t know that I’d agree that the experiment in question actually supported all of the conclusions being drawn.

On the other hand, of course, what the hell, I’m not a cognitive scientist, I could be wrong.  Just my two cents.  🙂