Extreme learning

Having spent more than ten years now trying to convince people to get their learn on, I now learn that perhaps that was a waste of time:

Dr. Kawecki says it is worth investigating whether humans also pay hidden costs for extreme learning. “We could speculate that some diseases are a byproduct of intelligence,” he said.

The whole thing is worth a read. 

7 thoughts on “Extreme learning”

  1. I’m having trouble making the correlation between fruit flies and humans here. First, there seems to be an equivocation on “learning” being made. The “learning” of the fruit flies seems like a type of biological adaptation to environment rather than a cognitive “understanding” of why the fly is choosing as it does. To make the correlation work with humans, we would need to consider “intelligence” as the ability to adapt quickly to environmental stimuli in order to maximize (fill in the blank). This seems to have little to do with intelligence (aptitude) in academic fields. The entire article is misleading on a number of levels. Perhaps there is more significance to be found in the good scientist’s research, but the upshot is unclear for me at this point.

  2. Jem–

    You’re only saying that because all your learning has made you sick.

  3. Jem, I find your definition of learning (“a cognitive ‘understanding'”) as strange as the implicit one being tossed around by the Times’ journalist. Actually, maybe stranger.

  4. Hi Jcasey, long time no comment! I still read every day though. You’re one of my homepage tabs.
    anyway, nice post, I’m very interested in cognitive science. You’re efforts aren’t wasted though.

    “the unexamined life is not worth living”

    ciao for now.

  5. I think Jem is right about the ambiguous use of learning. On the other hand, there is something to the view that expertise isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. But that view (that expertise is not what it’s cracked up to be) rests on the work of experts.

  6. Jeremy, I think you are right to suspect the strangeness of my definition. I was merely using it to indicate a different way of looking at intelligence, and I pretty much pulled it right of Kant (hence the scare quotes). Now, we can take issue with Kant’s philosophy of mind here, and I have no problem with that. However, there seems to be more to “intelligence” than the behaviorist’s.

    As far as the irony goes, jcasey, I think I was too dumb to get it at first. But now it is kind of funny.

  7. Jem, I don’t think any of the scientists in the article were trying to define intelligence or learning, though. They’re merely studying the interesting phenomenon of neural (as opposed to direct, genetic) modification as environmental adaptation.

    The reporter for the Times, however, was a little inflexible and ambiguous with his use of the terms. But that’s par for the course in pop-science journalism.

Comments are closed.