Sunday, August 25, 2019
`Are you a math genius?' `Can you fix my Iphone?' `What do you think about Facebook and Privacy?'
When I meet non-math people and tell them I am a computer science professor I get a range of responses. Here are some and my responses.
1) Are you a math genius?
Here is the answer I give:
I know some things in math, frankly obscure things, that most people in math don't know. On the other hand, I probably can't help your teenage daughter with her trigonometry homework. Academics, like most people, forget what they don't use, and there are some things in math I rarely use, so I've forgotten them.
I wonder how a Fields' Medal winner would answer the question.
Although the above is the answer I give I really think its an ill defined and pointless question. Its very hard to measure genius or even define what it means (there are exceptions). After a certain age, what you've done is more important than how smart you allegedly are.
2) Can you fix my iPhone?
That's an easy one: No. I work on the math end of computer science. I don't elaborate.
3) What do you think of Facebook and privacy?
This is an odd one. I DO have opinions on this but they are NOT better informed just because I'm a comp sci professor. Since I don't have a Facebook account my opinions might be worse informed. So how do I respond? I show them
this Onion News Network Video about how the CIA created Facebook
Some think it's real. They may be right.