Monday, January 25, 2010

Sponges of Knowledge

I've long had an interest in artificial intelligence and machine learning. Before you can implement a program that is capable of learning, you have to have a model of learning. These are typically based on simplified versions of how the process of learning is observed in real life. Even knowing some of the theories and models, it never prepares you for some of the surprises that happen on a frequent basis as a father of a 3 year old boy. Almost every day provides some surprise.

Last week I ran some errands with Alejandro in the back seat. As he was getting ready to go to bed, he replayed our conversation almost word for word to Angie. Yet another reminder that I need to be careful what I say in front of him. Fortunately I was careful, but it was fun hearing him say to Angie "and that would be tragic."

Just yesterday, we were originally going to go to the bookstore. I was almost finished with the book that I was reading, so I wanted to purchase the next book on my list. Since I found that many of the books that I wanted were now available on the Sony Reader, I no longer needed to go. Unfortunately, Alejandro already had his evening planned. We were going to go to the bookstore and daddy was going to buy him a book on trains. I wasn't planning on buying him anything, but he some how had figured out, that when it comes to books, I have a hard time saying no to him. So I started to explain that we weren't going to Powell's after all, but we were going to Best Buy instead. At the mention of Best Buy, books were forgotten and he launched into a lengthy discussion of how he was going to play "Lego Rock Band" at Best Buy. We ended up playing "Beattle's Rock Band" and when we got home he even tried to sing "We are living in a yellow submarine" to Angie (after hearing it only three times.)

On Saturday we were discussing friends of his. I mentioned one friend in particular. He hasn't been to her house in about six months. However the moment I mentioned her name, he started going on and on about her jeep. She owns one of those electric ride on toys, in this case a Barbie Jeep. After going through several colors he finally settled on pink, which is the correct color.

We are getting to a stage were not only is he remembering individual facts, but he is able to make connections between facts. That is what is most fun about it, because I can tell he truely understands the concept by the connections he makes and it is more than a simple repeat of information.

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