Being Unspecial

Scott Adams is a genius. His blog on specialness is right on target. My research centers on the use of machine learning to solve some software engineering problems. One of the first times I described a few of my ideas to another person I was told that they would not work because only humans can “really do software engineering” for reasons that amount to humans are special and computers aren’t. Now I have further developed the approach and shown accuracies close to ninety percent. By comparison excellent baseball players hit a baseball into play only thirty percent of the time. When we humans go to school we get A’s for achieving ninety percent accuracy within a subject.

Of course if you’re special you’ll know I’m wrong and my approach doesn’t work, but if not you will understand that there is a huge resistance to any idea that moves the human element out of it’s special position in the center of the universe. None of this is really anything new, Galileo experienced this when he was labeled a heretic for presenting his evidence in support of Copernicus’ heliocentric theory of the solar system. It seams as though there are those egos among us so fragile that any idea that appears to threaten their specialness will be rejected outright. I’m not sure if this leaves me needing to be less unspecial, or if I just need to be more patient. After all, almost four hundred years later most of us accept that the Earth revolves around the Sun.

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