I remember telling someone once that when your world changes, it will feel like gravity is gone and you won’t know which way is up.
For the past year, I’ve been experiencing this in increasing detail, as at times even mundane and trivial aspects of reality will surprise me and do something unexpected. This is happening with such frequency now that I’m expecting one day to pour hot water into my tea cup, only to see it pour up towards the ceiling instead of down into my cup.
Without a doubt, what this is obviously communicating to me is that the stable world we once knew, expected, and depended upon is slowly disappearing, to be replaced by an uncertain and unexpected world instead.
The question of how we choose to respond to these changes is up to us. Do we become fearful and even angry? Or do we become exhilarated and marvel at the unexpected wonders before us, wondering what they mean and how we can learn from them?
One thing is for sure though. We are now living within a world where we will need to start expecting the unexpected.
Also known as “fine-tuning,” transfer learning is helpful in settings where you have little data on the task of interest but abundant data on a related problem. The way it works is that you first train a model using a big data set and then retrain slightly using a smaller data set related to your specific problem.
Another way of thinking about the value of transfer learning is in terms of generalization. A recurring challenge in the use of AI is that models need to “generalize” beyond their training data—that is, to give good “answers” (outputs) to a more general set of “questions” (inputs) than what they were specifically trained on. Because transfer learning models work by transferring knowledge from one task to another, they are very helpful in improving generalization in the new task, even if only limited data were available.
While this article focuses on machine learning, this same technique works for humans and I’m assuming it was created for machines (AI) to replicate the human ability.
The key thing for this to work though is that the data has to be related in some way. The beauty with humans though is that the relatability can be created from a creative “weak link” which means it will probably only appears relatable to that specific person, based upon their own constructed “space of possibilities” within their mind (see Beau Lotto’s work).
But that’s exactly why it seems creative and innovative to others because they can’t see the connections that bridge the gap between these two things, thus making them relatable.
The whole point of this though is that it shows how we can all adapt in the future and discover work outside our normal domains of knowledge, by seeming similar patterns and principles they transfer between them.
Of course, the only major thing preventing this from happening is people’s biases disbelieving the person’s capacity for the work because they are approaching it from an unconventional angle than the status quo is approaching it.
In fact, as many articles have highlighted recently, this is why many great job candidates are never ever seen by employers because they don’t fit into the limited filter set defined by the job and thus are often filtered out. So exactly the same way people’s biases filter out the potential and possibility of someone being able to do something.
What triggers a person to open up to a later, more complex stage of consciousness? According to the research, the trigger for vertical growth always comes in the form of a major life challenge that cannot be resolved from the current worldview.
In their exploration, they found consistently that humanity evolves in stages. We are not like trees that grow continuously. We evolve by sudden transformations, like a caterpillar that becomes a butterfly, or a tadpole a frog.
Human consciousness evolves in successive stages; there is no wishing away the massive amount of evidence that backs this reality.
The main idea is that, while growing up, a person often has powerful and emotional experiences that inform their worldview and personality development.
According to the Heath brothers (and all the research they cite in their book), most of these “paradigm shifting” experiences happen during a person’s teens, 20’s, and begin tapering off during a person’s 30’s. They become almost non-existent for people over 40. And thus, people become frozen at a certain stage of their personality — and assume that’s how it’s supposed to be.
However, the Heath brothers explain that this doesn’t need to be the case. You can actually manufacture these experiences regularly, and throughout your entire life.
The reason most people stop having “peak experiences” — which according to Dr. Abraham Maslow, is required to become fully actualized as a person — is because they settle into societal norms.
They stop growing.
They stop putting themselves into wildly new and demanding situations. They stop exercising faith after having life experiences — and grow to become skeptical or cynical.