Jul 16, 2017

You call it cheating, but this entrepreneur calls it the new math

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In the old days, it would be called cheating — hoodwinking your high school calculus teacher by use of an artificial intelligence algorithm that effortlessly solves homework and, in natural language, even explains your work. But Stephen Wolfram, whose company's software carries out this homework shortcut, suggests it's rather the spearpoint of an utter transformation in how we teach and use math in a very different age, per Wired's Pippa Biddle.

In Wolfram's view, we are moving on from "mechanical math" — memorizing tables, equations and formulae — to computational thinking. The generation starting now and down the road is best to learn "to formulate your thoughts so that you can explain them to a sufficiently smart computer," he told Biddle.

The bottom line: Wolfram's view is controversial — is it truly a primitive skill to understand the underlying computational concepts? But he and others like him suggest that it is in fact "a very low level of precise thinking." The new thinking, they say, will involve directing computers to do the grunt work.

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