Strip 19: Pattern Recognition

I should probably talk about what Dy-Gar means by pattern recognition module. So, one of the aspects of the human brain that make it so powerful in comparison to other animals is its enhanced ability to recognize and store patterns. This is the basis of human memory, among other things. Itís also currently one of the biggest problems facing artificial intelligence, because machines are pretty lousy at recognizing patterns. Thatís why certain websites make you do those distorted CAPTCHA tests - the acronym stands for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart. A human can recognize letters and numbers, even if theyíre swirly and stretched out, but a computer program canít. At least, not yet.

This is important to the concept of memory because memories are necessarily distorted, unless youíre Johnny Mnemonic. We donít retain everything we see in complete detail, and we can even alter events with our own perception. Nevertheless, we fill in the gaps in our memory by recognizing certain repeating patterns, such as faces, actions, locations, etc. Sometimes, our memories fade to the point where the patterns are all we can remember - a smile here, a touch there, the vivid smell and taste of some food you can no longer identify.

What Dy-Gar means when he says his pattern recognition module canít recognize anything in his visions of Treya Malik, is that he doesnít feel even a tug of recognition from the slightest detail in these recordings. He has damaged memory recordings, and he can recognize patterns in them, but the recordings of Treya, which appear to him wholesale, feel totally new and unfamiliar. I canít say exactly why, but I can say that this will be hugely important for later.

Damn, I had other things to talk about this week, and now Iíve spent all my commentary space talking about memory. Letís speed things up. Hey, look at that cool thing in panel 4! Thatís a mass driver. Itís a giant magnet and it shoots spaceships into orbit. It looks hard to draw. Thank you art friends.

- J.S. Conner

May 7th 2015