Sunday, December 8, 2013

Cognitive Mind vs. Big Data

The cognitive difference is a deeper level of diversity and a key consideration in any team building.

“Cognition" is a word that dates back to the 15th century when it meant "thinking and awareness. Now, at the age of information abundance & explosion, the cognitive human mind is competing with machine intelligence, but what’re the differences between cognitive process and Big Data analytics?

Cognition is a group of mental processes that includes the attention of working memory, producing and comprehending language, learning, reasoning, problem solving and decision making. The cognitive process is the personal ability to acquire and produce knowledge (decoding signs and meanings), taking actions (attitudes), making choices, inferences and deductions, allowing the full functioning ‘engine’ of the executive brain – Cortex at the skull forefront region – masterminding plans, executing and performing them, recognizing all social codes, discovering patterns and connecting the dots.

Cognition is a faculty for the processing of information, applying knowledge, and changing preferences. Cognition, or cognitive processes, can be natural or artificial, conscious or unconscious. It includes functions such as:
* Perception/Acquisition process (through the body senses)
* Memory
* Language
* Thinking - Thought
* Concentration / Attention /Focus
* Intuition
* Understanding

The human brain (of adults) are a result of the continuous learning till date from the time of birth (Probably pre-birth too). The way of thinking, character, reasoning, attitude are all a result of what the brain has stored as information, some from genes, some from continuous learning with the surroundings, some from own rational thinking. 

The brain works doing correlations, categorizing, classifying and sorting – multi-dimensional multimedia correlations where multimedia stands for all kind of memory records. In deep, there are enough reasons, to lead to each and every decision that we take with each and every seemingly simple task. Like having an affinity for 'particular color', it is brain-derived based on past learning / exposure. And our brain associates everything that we interact with to an already available entry in the large repository and decides based on that.

Big Brain vs. Big Data: One of the big differences is that human brain naturally "filters out" what it thinks is irrelevant information. We are continuously bombarded by an immense amount of information and without some sort of filtering process, we would go mad. This process is often referred to as selective deletion. It is thought that the information enters the brain but does not remain. It is not moved into our memory but deleted like it never existed. This is not necessarily the case with Big Data. Typically everything is recorded, facts, noise and all. Whereas big data looks at everything in order to make some sense of it. However even as well-developed as our brains are, they will miss important information buried in big data 

Human’s brain is both intuitive and analytical, while almost every outcome/decision of big data processes is traceable and rationalized, the workings of human decisions are not so rational... with the interplay of the conscious knowledge and the exponentially larger sub-conscious knowledge, the decision making process of the brain is the most fascinating studies of all time... big data can definitely predict, help improve and simulate brain processes for need-based, large value and long relationship purchases..

Human brains do resemble big data at work to a certain degree. The evidence can be seen in fMRI (Functional magnetic resonance imaging or functional MRI brain scans (fMRI) is a functional neuroimaging procedure using MRI technology that measures brain activity by detecting associated changes in blood flow) made while people are making decisions. All the areas of the brain that light up during such decisions are reflections of brain algorithms doing real-time processing of the variables we consider correlated with the information we have in our memory (databases) and to our sensors (senses).

Big Data analytics can complement human brains to make a better decision. - Not all of the decisions human make are conscious or rational decisions, cognition can be unconscious or sub-conscious as well. It turns out that people often make decisions well before they are aware they've even made them. Further, they often make decisions based on neurobiological pathways/triggers that most people aren't even aware are driving a good part of human behavior. Even though people like to think they use objective information and explicit criteria for decisions, in almost all cases they find out later there were unrecognized issues, hidden criteria and just estimates of the future, not objective facts. But, they made rational decisions based on what they knew and the beliefs they held at the time. So Big Data aims to enhance human abilities to use more information without the limitations the brain can have, and it uses explicit criteria with an ability to calculate patterns from infrequent data that our brains may have missed. So it can aid in decision-making, but it can also have some foibles of its own for which the human brain is able to compensate.

Thereafter, Big Brain with a cognitive difference and Big Data can complement with each other to shape higher level intelligence.


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