3 Aspects of Deep Learning …


“A little learning is a dangerous thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring. “There shallow Draughts intoxicate the Brain, And drinking largely sobers us again.”

Alexander Pope in An Essay on Criticism (1711)

I would bet money most of you were already familiar with the first phrase and at least a good number know the rest.

Those who are not supportive of education often use the first line only of this quotation to support a negative view toward learning.  Of course when they use only part of the statement, they are actually strengthening the argument for education and not weakening it.

Pope touts the idea of Deep Learning, learning beyond the superficial and the soundbyte.

Bumper sticker intelligence is almost an oxymoron.  True knowledge can be summarized in a short statement or a phrase, but if you do not understand the nuances, you’re just shouting slogans.

So what is deep learning?   Here are a few thoughts:

1)  Deep Learning is Complete.  

The current fondness for short and sweet is understandable, given the pace of life and the vastness of knowledge.  However, tools such as infographics, intoxicating as they are, do not create deep learning.  

If we are lucky, the shortcuts and executive summaries at least stir up our curiosity, so we dig deeper.

2)  Deep Learning is Complex.

Another old saying is “If something sounds too good to be true, that’s probably right” or something like that.   We seek the simple and the clear, even when we know deep down inside that life is neither.  Magic bullets and simple solutions are rarely what we really need to know.

At best, the “simple” solution again provides us with motivation to dig deeper into what has been distilled for mass consumption.

3)  Deep Learning Gets Past Prejudices and Preferences.

We all have our favorite perceptions about how things work, our pet theories, and personal biases.   That’s part of being human.

However, to really know a topic or an issue, we have to first recognize those filters and then cut or end their hold on us.   If you only find evidence that reinforces the view you walked in the door with, you need to check out all the other doors.

A little learning is indeed dangerous, so dive right in and get a lot … the learning’s great:)

Getting ready to go off the high diving board in the Heartland ….

John