I had just started at the new office. As expected, there were lot of small things to be sorted out, like I wanted the handle of my chair removed and I wanted the AC vent to be partially closed etc. To get all these fixed, I had to interact with someone from the facilities department, called Anil Joji. We exchanged mails and at times we spoke over the phone;but never met in person (unfortunately at the new office, there wasn’t a site where one could look at the photos of employees)
For a strange reason, I became curious about who could this person be (perhaps the name had something catchy about it). We occupy three floors in the building and as we move around, we must have surely be passing by each other. This was a strange thought. But as it happened, I began (sub consciously) to scan people who passed by to spot someone who could potentially be Anil Joji.
Over the next couple of weeks, I had narrowed down the list of possible candidates to two. I was almost sure that one of them was “Anil Joji”. And last week I happened to have one of them close by, and managed to read his name on the identify card. And even to my own surprise, it was Anil Joji.
This was very strange. There was no way I could explain what happened. Till that point I had not realised that subconsciously I was doing this process of elimination.
Later, I tried to figure out how the mind could do such a thing. This is the possible explanation I could figure out.
The first thing that happened was that, as I began to interact, the mind began to identify some unique characteristics. Few that I can recollect:
– The name suggested that he was from a particular state in India (and I have an idea how the people from that state typically look like)
– The name also suggested that he was a Christian
– He was part of the facilities team which meant that
- He would be seen interacting with teams like admin
- He would be seen moving around looking busy
- He is seen around places where there is some problem ((In fact finally when I spotted him, he was in this situation, the lunch was delayed in the canteen and he was there standing)
With these characteristics in mind, over the next few days, my mind was scanning people around trying to find a match and eliminating the others. It came to the point where the list narrowed down to just two.
Later, I narrated the entire event to a friend of mine. I ended with a comment that there is no way computers can match the intelligence of the human brain. In response, he narrated a very interesting incident to me:
Years back, the Deep Blue machine was developed to play chess with Kasprov. The machine was specially programmed to foresee millions of possibilities and moves ahead. As they went on to play, the machine won the first two games. But then Kasprov went on to win the next three games and the series.
Later people asked Kasprov, how he won over such an intelligent computer. And Kasprov said – Computers are programmed by humans and it cannot be more intelligent than them. After the first two games, Kasprov figured out that though the computer was extremely intelligent in one sense, it could not understand something like ‘sacrifice’, which is unique to humans. In the next games he used such approaches to confuse Deep Blue and win over.