Mathematics: The Beauty of Abstraction
We will have a better and freer society when we have a greater understanding of math.
"What is it that distinguishes us from cavemen?" asks the mathematician Edward Frenkel. "I would say it’s the level of abstraction that we can reach."
Think about the evolution of money. The first agrarian societies may have used some form of credit system, but it is widely believed that barter was the first form of exchange. When currency was developed, humans began to trade goods for a coin or a piece of paper. According to Aristotle, the assignment of monetary value to an object was a great achievement in man's psychological capacity to place trust in each other. Then money, in the form of a piece of plastic - a credit card - became even more abstract. Now when we consider money, in the form of a line of code - Bitcoin - we are entering an entirely new level of abstraction.
"Abstraction is king in this brave new world," Frenkel says, "and the key to abstraction is mathematics." Frenkel is the author of the new book Love & Math, and in the video below he argues that we will have a better and freer society when we have a greater understanding of math.
Watch the video here:
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A disturbing interview given by a KGB defector in 1984 describes America of today and outlines four stages of mass brainwashing used by the KGB.
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When these companies compete, the people lose.
- When a company reaches the top of the ladder, they typically kick it away so that others cannot climb up on it. The aim? So that another company can't compete.
- When this phenomenon happens in the pharmaceutical world, companies quickly apply for broad protection of their patents, which can last up to 20 years, and fence off research areas for others. The result of this? They stay at the top of the ladder, at the cost of everyday people benefitting from increased competition.
- Since companies have worked out how to legally game the system, Amin argues we need to get rid of this "one size fits all" system, which treats product innovation the same as product invention. Companies should still receive an incentive for coming up with new products, he says, but not 20 years if the product is the result of "tweaking" an existing one.
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