On Wed, Oct 24, 2012 at 6:20 PM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com>wrote:
> > Accumulating wealth is hardly an achievement of human progress. > Wealth and human progress are strongly linked and only in very rich western cultures can anybody afford to say that material things are not important, and even then it's clear from their actions they don't really mean it, and people in the third world don't even bother to say it. > Driving a car is not an abstraction, but aside from being dangerous if > performed badly, it really isn't particularly difficult. > That is incorrect, at a absolute level driving a car is extremely difficult. The problem is that until the mid 20'th century nobody understood what was intellectually easy and what was hard at a fundamental level. We find it easy to figure out how to move our appendages to catch a thrown ball, or to recognize objects from any angle even under strange lighting conditions, but we find it hard to solve partial differential equations or to play a good game of chess. In 1950 everybody figured that was because one class of tasks was fundamentally more difficult than the other, but when we tried to reproduce both chores from square one we learned that catching a baseball was far more difficult than playing a good chess game. There must be machinery in our head (constructed from genes) that makes even the most clumsy among us to be masters of hand eye coordination compared with today's robots, but there is no such dedicated machinery for being good at chess, so we find that hard. In fact I think it is only a slight exaggeration to say that at a fundamental level a janitor has a more intellectually demanding job (requiring more FLOPS) than a professor of mathematics. > Computers were much more exciting in the 1980s than they are now. > People always say that the world was better when they were young, but what they really mean is that they personally were happier when they were young. You could still get some of those old antique computers on Ebay, but if you did I think you'd find that they were not nearly as much fun as you remembered them to be. John K Clark -- You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Everything List" group. To post to this group, send email to email@example.com. To unsubscribe from this group, send email to everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com. For more options, visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en.