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  • Writer's pictureKlaus Luehning

#31 | TRUTH | Facts, Probability, Faith, and AI


  1. Immutable Scientific Truths: Klaus emphasizes the unchanging nature of scientific facts, like the Pythagorean theorem, as universal constants in our understanding.

  2. Balance of Probability and Faith: He explores how statistical probability and faith represent different approaches to knowledge, contrasting measurable facts with belief systems.

  3. AI's Limitations in Truth Assessment: Klaus critiques artificial intelligence's ability to discern truth, highlighting potential biases and the need for cautious application in areas like facial recognition.

Pythagorean Theorem
Pythagorean Theorem

The truth is recognized and endures regardless of time, place, or circumstance. It is universally acknowledged, similar to the Pythagorean theorem, a familiar concept to schoolchildren worldwide, epitomizing a universal truth that consistently produces the same result. This principle applies to all established science, including the Theory of Relativity.

Science is founded on measurable facts, such as the diameter of a hydrogen molecule or the speed of light. These empirical truths underpin scientific understanding, ranging from the compressive strength of concrete to the Earth's weight or the sugar content in a cookie.

However, assumptions, opinions, and insightful surmises, though resembling facts, are not equivalent. These are educated guesses or measurable "guesstimates" based on repeated observations. They are often close enough to be considered credible but fall short of absolute truths. Yet, they are still just well-informed guesses.

Probability theory and statistics play a crucial role in measuring the accuracy of an assumption by sampling the natural world. This method is critical in various fields, from election polling and drug efficacy to traffic control, distribution of goods and services, targeted advertising, and even quantum theory, where certainty is often no more than a well-founded guess.


In contrast, fantasy, myth, and legend offer explanations that depend on external sources or powers for validation, termed faith, a fundamental aspect of religion. Religious beliefs, often beyond explanation by established norms, require faith despite being frequently contested by reality. Doubts about these beliefs necessitate reaffirmation, often with post-mortem implications for disbelief, conveniently benefiting the faith's arbiters.

Faith is essential as most religious tenets are grounded in experiences inexplicable by established norms. Ultimate faith is an ultimate conviction that unreal events, states of being, or qualities of objects are actual. But now we have the concept of doubt of that integrity because the faith is challenged by reality continually. There is the need to re-establish the conviction because any lingering doubt will demand, by the controlling arbiter of the tenets, facing dire consequences for questioning the faith, those consequences almost always post-mortem (how convenient for the judges of that faith).

Ignoring the truth can lead to inaccurate, inapplicable, unsatisfactory, dangerous, or even lethal outcomes, underscoring the importance of facts and science in understanding the universe. The common phrase "You never know…" reflects that not all necessary data are always available for making certain decisions. This uncertainty in life breeds doubt, spurring exploration, inquiry, research, fear, confusion, and hopelessness. Continually gathering experience, information, trends, and possibilities is a daily challenge, aiming to overcome problem-solving obstacles to survive, thrive, work, and progress toward a successful, if not perfect, outcome.

Science depends on accumulating facts about the universe's physics and chemistry, providing certainty in some areas while recognizing probabilistic uncertainties in others. Our human experience, limited in scope, prevents us from conceptualizing beyond our experiences, but this truth drives our progress and destiny.

Now to Artificial Intelligence and the truth. A computer does not 'know' the truth of a thing. It is programmed to search for similarities, using any closely related information it finds. However, the applicability of a word, phrase, sentence, or title is a matter of chance, close but not exact. AI deals with approximations that may or may not be accurate, and in applications like facial recognition, this can lead to unintended biases with severe societal consequences. Truth in AI remains elusive, and the impact of disseminated information through media warrants careful consideration to avoid deceptive decision-making and unacceptable outcomes.



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