The use of algorithms in any field of science, medicine, business or law is ubiquitous. Algorithms are a key to problem solving. However, they are governed by calculable and fixed rules. Terrence J Sejnewski argues in The Deep Learning Revolution algorithms may create worlds of complexities, which I call possibilities. Computer science thinks of this as neural networks, an attempt to understand the complexity of the brain. Technology imitates the natural function of the brain to disperse information across large populations of neurons.
Certainly, in some regards algorithms are useful in sorting through easily deciphered bodies of knowledge. Technology is very useful for finding configurations that display complex patterns. In computer science, such bodies of knowledge are structured data constituting certain values, the relationships among them and the functions or operations we use to manipulate them. Structures of data organized, managed and stored enable the resolutions of hard facts.
We seem to think our grasp of reality is taken care of. Yet, what we are left with is those invariables of unstructured data, which are an obstacle for our intelligibility. Words and images are typically classified as unstructured data which do not conform to a pre-defined data model. Such are the circumstances when we comparably go back and forth between our mental models, those “universal computations,” and the possibilities of our sensory experiences, the importance and meaning of which we need to discover.
More and more research continues on the development of unstructured data analytics. It is a nascent industry invested with considerable emphasis in R&D but is still not yet a mature technology. Without questioning the factor of psychology in human perceptual habits, typical studies only go so far as to imitate the natural tendencies of the way the brain processes perceptions. For example, when the transformational effects of technology in the 19th century even narrowed down to the way the human mind works, scientists demonstrated the evidence of attention on perception. Jonathan Crary’s research on the topic at first in Techniques of the Observer, his first book, has changed the entire approach to 19th century art.
Links to the operations of human perception and the facilities required of sorting through and analyzing unstructured data may be found in the way the human mind serves to objectify the sensory affects taken in through perception. We may think that because visual perception relies upon empirical fact, it has nothing to do with knowledge that is not derived from the senses. However, knowledge acquisition of any kind derives from sense based experiences. The cognitive and affective mechanisms involved in knowledge acquisition through sense perception inform how the brain works in general.
In the 19th century, Gustav T Fechner advanced a theory of perception which demonstrates the interaction between lower level processing from the bottom up to higher level processing from the top down. So as in the perception of reality, the art spectator equally approaches the work of art from the bottom up at a stage where compositional features such as color, form, balance, unity or multiplicity, etc. are taken in. From there, the spectator establishes the underlying significance and meaning to an expressive idea. The process is from the abstract to the specific. Interestingly enough, both the art novice and the art expert will conclude an experience of the possibilities of worldmaking in a work of art form the top down. The difference is how the art expert manages to process preconceived attitudes, expectations, general knowledge and art related experience. The structure of the experience is preset by bottom up processing. The challenge requires how we attain our insights by bringing together the two.
The intelligence of art is an experience. From above ancient mythology’s psyche dwells in experiences of intuition, subjectivity, sensibility, affect, what is illusory and everything internal, such as writing. From below we achieve objectivity, that which is implicit and we tacitly aware of, what is visible and given in tangible reality, buried in our memories, and can retrieve through inferences and reflections, and also what is spoken.
Unstructured data is a mystery left to us which beseeches the human faculties of the mind. We have our sensitivities. Working with numbers, facts or information of any kind actually requires of us to draw upon affect. You really do have to “feel” what you’re thinking about to make “sense” out of it. Cognitively, our minds do a lot of work upon the realm of sensory affect to objectify. When we can draw upon our various senses, we can prove we are not blind.