May 2, 2015

The Word: Common sense

Publication Date:  Fri, 04/15/2005

SOME things are just obvious. We all know that people don’t walk on their heads, for example, or that if you go out in the rain you’re likely to get wet. It’s common sense.

But some things that seem obvious to one person may seem obscure to another if they are from another culture, religion or background. Common sense is not always common to everyone. This is especially true when beliefs play a strong part in how people perceive things. It may seem obvious to me that a drought was caused by a random change in weather patterns, but to someone who believes in supernatural beings it could seem just as obvious that it’s because they’ve displeased the rain god. Einstein summed it up thus: “Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age 18.”

Spare a thought, then, for those trying to design computers that have common sense. …

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