Is the world ruled by numbers?

I’m sitting in the back of Mrs. Stevan’s class, and I’m looking around the room as she draws on the white board talking through ratios.

I remember thinking.. “ratios..hmmm looks about like 18:3”

18: Boys 3 Girls. 

I’d break that down for you in a percentage but I didn’t pay attention THAT well. And math has never been a strong suit, I was pretty ADD and she gave us coffee every class. (Really, she thought that would help). 

I’d see Nick over at the coffee pot as he would flick each sugar packet (tap tap) before he poured it in his cup like a heroin addict flicking the needle to test it’s readiness.

At the time Math seemed pointless. My beef with class was it seemingly had NO application to the real world. The class was called “Discrete mathematics.” I assumed it was because you had to keep the secret that we weren’t actually doing anything.

We were a wild bunch. Every class a balance of hiding the fact you were playing calculator games, and answering just enough questions to feign attentiveness. 

One time she started telling us a story about how she survived an avalanche. She had been out hiking when it struck totally unexpectedly. She was in Colorado or Canada or something. 

 She was buried under the snow and barely survived. She persevered and was rescued. She quit teaching soon after our class.

Surviving near a death experience through perseverance and it’s a bunch of idiot kids who can’t pay attention who push you to quit..

But I’m older now, and I’m reevaluating my time in class. She was really quite nice come to think of it. 

And It seems there’s a new avalanche that’s happening and had you told me as a kid I probably wouldn’t have believed you but at least I would have been warned.

Here’s the warning:

“Math is the language of the future.”

The world is being translated into the language of numbers. 

First, we’re working hard to make computers replicate humanity through numbers. 

This is the technological concept of Ai (Artificial intelligence). 

A computer is a system that’s built upon 1’s and 0’s to feign human consciousness. To simulate our existence by a quantified context of the world. Math as the description, and the simulation of reality. 

And once it’s complete, and we’ve successfully cloned ourselves mechanically into computer-counterparts, it’s numbers that will be the language mechanism for production in the world.

What’s profound is this is also happening in reverse.

Which means, secondly, we’re working hard to take humanity and process it through numbers. 

This is the “quantified self”

Your BMI, your follower count, steps you took today, height. If you let it, your bank account balance is your human rating score. (credit score.) 

So you’ve got two forces happening. Just as computers work to replicate humanity through numbers, we’re simultaneously trying to take humanity and quantify it. 

And now I wonder who is really building who? Are we trying to be like computers or are computers trying to be like us?

And if you want to speak to computers in the future it’s going to be done through math. 

And I don’t know about you but I want to be able to speak. 

And then suddenly I’m waking up from a daydream and my name is being called repeatedly. “David…David…David.” (Bueler, Bueler, Bueler)

People are laughing but it’s somewhat expected. 

Whew it was all just a daydream.. 

Back to making art.

StoriesDavid Sherry