Posted by: seanmalstrom | November 16, 2013

Email: Here’s the quote on mathematicians

You asked where you said there was zero demand for mathematicians.
Here’s the quote:

“Feel sorry for mathematicians. There is ZERO DEMAND for their
services today, and they used to be seen as the intellectual giants.”

Unless you’re trying to split hairs and argue that the demand for
“mathematicians” and “mathematicians’ services” are different…well,
I’m paid quite well for my services, and my job often involves a lot
of pencil-and-paper math work.

The work of a mathematician is derivation and proof, not manipulating
large arrays of numbers. Not only does coming up with the equations
for a computer to solve require sophisticated mathematics, but
creating the algorithm for the computer to use to solve them is itself
a form of mathematics.

However, even before the digital revolution, adding up enormous sums
wasn’t a mathematician’s job. It was the job of a room full of workers
at desks. Their job title was “computer.”

Now that’s something that computers really did make obsolete.


That was the entire point: automation. Automation keeps increasing its range, and more and more of the traditional ‘math’ jobs are falling into it. I wouldn’t be surprised if math teachers become obsolete because why have math teachers when a computer can do the same thing? Or online videos?

You know that I poke a stick at what people try to place their ego on. So many of the ‘fine arts’ people keep placing their egos on ‘creativity’, and I do nothing but mock that. I mock engineers in that they keep thinking they are the smartest people ever created yet they always work for someone else. If they are so smart, why don’t they run the company? There is a reason why they are an employee.

Why not poke a stick at math? Math isn’t hard. Math is the child of philosophy, not the other way around. DeCartes, the guy who said ‘I think, therefore I am’ was the creator of the Cartesian Plane. We had all the math to go to the moon back in the 19th century. We didn’t have the materials or the material science (and when was the last time anyone celebrated the material science guys? They’re unsung heroes). I do tire of people who throw math in people’s face to passively say how ‘intelligent’ they are.

There is a pattern when vanity builds up in one area that the rug gets pulled underneath it. For example, the ‘computer tech geek’ who thought he was God-on-Earth in the late 90s got a rude awakening during the Dot Com bust. The ‘investor’ who thought he was smarter than anyone else flipping houses before the housing crash got a rude awakening. Many college graduates think they are smarter than the ‘lowly tradesman’. However, that tradesman is racking six figures while the college graduate wasted half a decade of his or her life in school and is in a ton of debt.

The reason to mock and poke at things is the purpose of Touchstone. Touchstone was a comic relief character in Shakespeare’s play “As You Like It”. A touchstone is something where you streak rocks against it to find out where is the gold. Touchstone mocked nearly everyone. The few people he couldn’t mock were the gold. I’ve found in real life that when you cannot mock someone, it is because you have found the gold. For example, if a man said to me, “I want to work and live simply, to provide and raise my family, and just live and be happy.” I can’t mock that. Like Touchstone, I am at a loss for words.

The last emailer says I think I am ‘high and mighty’. I actually see myself playing the role of the fool. The fool has license to say anything. There is much wisdom in foolishness.


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