Sunday, February 21, 2010

Math: The Future!

This article talked about how math is beginning to become more and more a bigger part of our everyday lives. One way it does this for example, is using math to analyze how well advertising is doing for a company, and how changing advertising can effect profits and sales. It is not limited to this though. Essentially what this article was saying is that math can be used to model and analyze just about everything in the world. Machines, productivity, security, sales, even humans. Another thing that I found really interesting was how important this math really is. The top mathematicians in the world, a select few, are becoming some of the highest paid people. I never would of thought that math would be getting you a 6 figure salary right out of college. This just goes to show how important and how helpful these models are for companies. Another thing it talked about is how these models can be an invasion of privacy, but I didn't really see how. For the most part, I see these models as looking at numbers not people. It turns people into numbers and so I don't really see the invasion of privacy, unless people feel invaded being turned into numbers. It is really interesting though, to think that everything can be justified with numbers.
This is one thing the article reminded me of was the movie Pi, an artistic, mind-blowing thriller about a paranoid mathematician who sees math everywhere and is one the verge of discovering the unifying number that explains everything. Here's a trailer:

The three points he makes about math being everywhere and thus it being able to explain the patterns everywhere in our world is pretty interesting, and relates back to this article. When I first saw this movie, I thought it was a little far-fetched, but now... I'm not so sure. The thing that really got me was that they're working on ways to model human behavior, a supposedly random and unpredictable thing. Maybe math is everywhere, maybe eventually we'll be able to see the patterns present in nature, and maybe someday we can use that knowledge of the patterns for the betterment of humanity and our world. We'll just have to wait and see.


  1. Babar,

    Your post makes me want to go read the article! It definitely sounds intriguing based on your summary.

    I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on the following issue: Given the increasing importance of math in our society presented by this article, what are the implications for mathematics education? Can you think of any changes you would make to how math is taught or structured in schools?

    Thanks for your thoughts.


  2. Sarah,
    Thanks for the comment!

    I think it brings up the issue of education not preparing us for the future. Right now, I'm being educated for a job that doesn't even exist yet. In all likelihood, I'm not getting a sufficient education for that job. While there are mathematicians coming right out of college and into 5 figure salaries, it's really only a select few. However, as our world becomes more and more dependent on computers, and consequently mathematics, I think it is very important that we are being taught math in a way that prepares us for the future. Do I know how we can do that? Not really. All I know is, we've been doing school pretty much the same for a long time. If we live in such a dynamic, constantly changing society and world, then our education should be the same.

  3. I really liked how you included a video clip in your post. It really applies to the idea of the prominence of math in today's society. I thought your insight on the privacy issue was very interesting. I hadn't really thought of it like that. I had thought of things such as tracking customers' behavior as somewhat invasive, but now thinking about people being turned into numbers I guess it is not quite as bad as I imagined it. Nice job on summarizing the article and good insight!