Tuesday, September 03, 2019
Can Mathematicians Fix Iphones? Can anyone?
In my last post I noted that if I am asked (since I am a CS prof)
Can you fix my iphone
No, I work on the math side of CS
Some readers emailed me (I told them to comment instead but they were worried that other readers would argue with them) that NO, this is a tired and incorrect stereotype. Here are some samples:
1) People in Mathematics are no better or worse at fixing iphones, fixing cars, programming their VCR's, etc than the public.
2) For that matter, people in academica, even in practical sounding fields like Systems, are no better.
3) Is your nephew Jason who used to fix forklifts for a living better at these things then the general public? I asked him. Answer: No, though he is better at fixing forklifts.
I think something else is going on here. Lets look at fixing your own car. I think this is the sort of thing that some people used to be able to do but now very few can do it. Cars have gotten more complicated.
Iphones are not quite there yet but its getting that way.
Of course somethings have gotten easier--- programming a DVR is much easier than programming a VCR. And people can easily use WORD or write programs without having to know any hardware.
OKAY, after all these random thoughts, here is the question: What do you think?
Are people in CS or Math or CS theory better at X than the general public where X is NOT CS, Math or CS theory, but something like fixing their cars?
What has gotten harder? What has gotten easier?