Re: the ways of child prodigies

From: H C (
Date: Tue Nov 08 2005 - 21:24:11 MST

>From: Michael Wilson <>
>Subject: Re: the ways of child prodigies
>Date: Wed, 9 Nov 2005 03:10:25 +0000 (GMT)
>Michael Vassar wrote:
> >> SIAI needs persons with expertise in computers and cognitive studies
> >> (roughly). Persons with expertise in pure maths or physics could be
> >> useful, but not particularly.
> >
> > SIAI needs geniuses in pure logic and applied rationality. The computer
> > and cog-sci stuff are only needed at the ordinary "expert" level,
> > though more is better.
>I would say that the SIAI needs both, ideally in the same person, but as
>that's not terribly realistic a mix of expertise in these areas would be
>Prodigies in maths tend to be vulnerable to an acute form of an affliction
>that many great mathematicians suffer from, which is to consider every
>other piece of science and engineering merely applied maths and thus
>necessarily trivial compared to what they're doing. This manifests as a
>belief that since they are good at manipulating some piece of maths,
>they must also be experts in any field that relies on that kind of maths
>(in practice or in their own minds). Extreme focused expertise in
>abstracting away implementation detail can be counterproductive when it
>comes to interacting with the real world.

Seeing as how abstract mathematical concepts are strictly useless (except as
some sort of "cognitive exercise") unless being used for an explicit
necessary purpose; it seems as though mathematics as a separate field
entirely outside of computer science is at best *potentially* useful, while
more realistically *a waste of time*. This doesn't include situations where
you recognize a specific mathematical field being necessary for background
foundational knowledge for a more specific implementation problem (such that
the utility of *knowing* abstract mathematical concepts is entirely derived
from a specific implementation necessity).

> * Michael Wilson
>How much free photo storage do you get? Store your holiday
>snaps for FREE with Yahoo! Photos

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Jul 17 2013 - 04:00:53 MDT