In maths and computer science, an algorithm is defined as a finite sequence of implemented instructions typically used to solve a problem or perform a task. They are unambiguous - that means they are fact based, a statement and not susceptible to uncertainty - and are used to perfume calculations, data processing, automated reasoning and millions of other tasks.
Let me give you an example, and bear with me because there’s a reason I’m making such a big deal of this term: Let’s say you go to the ATM. You slip your bank card into the machine and insert your pin number. A series of options pop up, and depending on what you press you’ll get a different result. You can withdraw cash. Make a deposit. Check your balance. Look at your last statement. Change your pin. Make a payment. Each option in itself sets up a series of digital cogs that will inevitably give you the result you went to the bank in the first place for. All of that is governed by algorithms. From the moment the ATM reads your card, links it to a database that needs your pin in order to grant access, all the way until you get a receipt for your operation, it’s all controlled by algorithmic instruction.
Seems simple, right? I’m basically telling you what you already know. The idea that all machines are governed by an exact series of mathematical recipes. But, and here’s the thing, according to the life sciences, the algorithm for that previous transaction was set in motion way before you even reached the ATM.
“There’s ample evidence that the brain may operate on an amazingly simple mathematical logic, one simple algorithm.” According to the life sciences, the ATM transaction was set in off by a series of deterministic or random algorithms in your brain. Those in turn send a command to your appendages which made you walk or drive to the nearest ATM. They then made you take out your card and slip it into the machines, and, from that moment on, the biological computer that is you started to interact with the digital computer which is the ATM.
Everything we do in life is governed by algorithms. For example, when we see someone we’re attracted to our reaction to that person is determined by an algorithm… an algorithm that’s been mutating, due to our environment, our heritage, our upbringing and millions of years of evolution. We input into this algorithm certain data points and those in turn tell us how to react. Do we find that person attractive? Does something in them make us think they might be a potential long-time partner? Do we want to rip their clothes off? Do we want to take care of them in a nurturing manner? The way we react to them has to do with dozens upon dozens of factors. Factors that have to do with those nasty schemas we covered up in chapter 1. Factors that have to do with how we envision them in our future. And even factors that have to do with the way our cavemen ancestors evolved; vestigial remnants of our hunter/gatherer ways.
“Which woman could give him the healthiest children. This ensured that his tribe would multiple. Cavemen could size a woman up in an instant. Healthy shiny hair, sparkling eyes, good skin, good teeth, and ample bosom and shapely figure made for child-bearing. Women, meanwhile, needed a protector, an alpha in order to survive. These same attributes, end up pressuring us in the long game of relationships. That’s why some women fall for the bad boy and some guys fall for a ditzy blond. It’s something leftover from our ancestors.”