Hackernoon logoBeneath this mask is Data — Part 1 (or how to make lemonade) by@akshaykore

Beneath this mask is Data — Part 1 (or how to make lemonade)

Akshay Kore Hacker Noon profile picture

Akshay Kore

“Behind this mask there is more than just flesh and blood. Beneath this mask there is an idea… and ideas are bulletproof.” — V in ‘V for Vendetta’ by Alan Moore

The idea of code as a language is such a beautiful concept. It is bits… they do not exist in the ‘real’ world and yet a computer understands this abstract symphony of ‘0’s and ‘1’s so well. A computer may it be your smartphone, PC, smartwatch or any other electronic device is a dumb machine, the underlying code is the intelligence. It is not the brain which exists as hardware (cpu, microprocessors, whatever you wish to call it), a code is rather a set of detailed instructions to this brain.

How to make lemonade


If I ask you to make lemonade, this is probably what you would do;

Step 1: Go to the fridge.
Step 2: Get lemons and cold water.
Step 3: If there is no cold water, open the freezer and get ice.
Step 4: Get an empty glass.
Step 5: Squeeze the lemon in the glass, pour cold water or water and ice.
Step 6: Add sugar to taste. Some of you may want salt too.. that’s gross.
Step 7: Lemonade is ready.

Simple, right?


What you are probably doing is this;
Step 1: Recognizing whether you are in the house, what a house means, the concept of 3 Dimensional space.
Step 2: Recalling the concept of a lemon, that it is citrus in nature, a generic shape of the lemon, acceptable coloration, where it might be located in the house.
Step 3: Knowing/guessing that it is in the fridge because a fridge is a device that increases the shelf life of products and recalling having kept lemons in the fridge sometime last week (this would involve knowing the concept of time… that is a separate discussion).
Step 4: Locating the position of the fridge.
Step 5: Moving towards the fridge. This involves a lot of obstacle tackling learnt during childhood.
Step 6: Recalling how a fridge looks generally.
Step 7: Looking at the handle of the fridge.
Step 8: Recalling from memory the concept of a handle, maybe a lever.
Step 9: Recalling how to grip the handle.
Step 10: Gripping the handle firmly.
Step 11: Applying force.
(We haven’t even found lemons yet!)

Each step can be further broken down into a detailed set of instructions that might fill up an entire library. Doesn’t it make you wonder how sophisticated a human brain is and how all this feels effortless. You might want to admire the human brain when you look at a lemon the next time. This could be a lot more detailed, but you get the idea now. Making lemonade is an extremely difficult task for a robot/computer.


This intelligence is imbibed in a computer by some of us through typing in these set of instructions with meticulous detail (or sometimes making a robot that writes these details). This set of instructions is referred to as an 'algorithm' in computer jargon. It is difficult, and in a lot of ways extremely fulfilling. Knowing how to code is indeed a super power and I wanted to acquire it. More on this in the next post.

When life gives you lemons… think about it.

P.S. Here's a recipe for lemonade.


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