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I read this article in Wired when it came out in print, and I'd like to clarify that the point of the article is not a hypothetical situation where 7 out of 10 people lose their jobs. The article explores the advent of a proliferation of robots capable of performing complicated tasks. The main point is that we shouldn't be afraid of them "taking our jobs." The farm example is a great way of looking at it. Back two hundred years ago, most people did do manual labor, often on the farm. But technology advanced and slowly people left the farm. But with this change came new purpose for humans. We developed more complicated and important jobs, ones that required skill and use of more refined skills. The analogy is used in the article. Robots performing tasks will lead humanity into more important, more meaningful occupations. I see this as a good thing.
Here is a text of his speech (I didn't watch the video, but I have read this, I don't know if they're the same): http://www.users.drew.edu/~jlenz/whynot.html
The most interesting point he brought up was his refutation to the claim that a deity is necessary for morality. Reading that really convinced me that one could be moral without religion.
Yay for assumptions. I was genuinely curious, I wasn't trying to play a smug holier than thou atheist. I was curious as to how say a Catholic priest or official may answer this question; I wasn't trying to bring up a point for the sake of feeling superior in my beliefs. Sorry, I suppose.
Wait, I have somewhat of a problem with this. I was raised Catholic and we were always taught that original sin originated from Adam and Eve, and that's why we were baptised; to cleanse ourselves of that sin. So if it's an allegory, how can the Church maintain the idea that we actually have original sin if the Adam and Eve story was simply something used to teach a lesson?
Well, I'd say that in the case of the Pythagorean Theorem, we should actually explain it. There's like 100+ different proofs, so there are options to actually explore the methodology of discovering something like this. From a personal example, this year in math class I really wanted to understand math deeply, so I had to ask for a lot of explanations before class and stuff. Like the change of base formula with logarithms. I had no idea why this worked, but when I found the proof in my book and on Wikipedia, I was like "Dang, that's pretty cool." I had fun getting deep into the abstract parts of other mathematical tools, too. That's what had an impact on me, and I've never liked math as much as I do now. As for looking at new ideas, another personal example, if you will. On my test, instead of writing "ln", I wrote Log base e. I understood that more, and I looked at it differently, but I got 3 points off because of it. Maybe I'm bitter, but looking at a formula a different way or finding new ways of doing things shouldn't be discouraged, rather encouraged.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Adam and Eve already have free will in the Garden? It was outlandish that God forbade eating from a tree that granted "wisdom" or what have you, but the devil essentially tricked them into eating the apple.
I don't think the author is advocating letting all the students come up with the "solutions" to concepts like the Pythagorean Theorem; that is, he's not saying the students should be given a blank slate and left to their own devices in order to discover mathematical concepts. Rather, it seems to me that he is simply offering a pedagogy that is opposite of that which is currently being used, where students are taught that mathematics, like painting or literature, can be considered a form of "art," or a very creative subject.
The author contrasts the way we teach the art of painting and the way we teach the art of mathematics. In painting class, teachers do not simply say, "Go nuts, and do whatever." In these types of art classes, the instructors explain the ideas of contrasting colors, what colors are objectively good together, how to use a brush and the mediums, and then allow creativity, because the students are given tools and are engaged. Mathematics should be taught using this same approach. Allow the students to delve into the reasons for equations, explain the beauty of mathematics, and allow the students to think critically and come up with new ideas. I, for one, wouldn't imagine this would take too much time, and approaching mathematics instruction from the perspective that it is a beautiful art would be extremely beneficial.