Sunday, November 6, 2016

TOK IRL #2 - Math and how it affects the world

"Some areas of knowledge seek to describe the world, whereas others seek to transform it."

Math is found in practically every aspect of the world. Every time someone drops something they experience the equation of gravity directly in front of their eyes and every step we take we are experiencing many other forces. 

One question that fits well with the quote is whether or not math was discovered or invented. After thinking it over, I decided that math must have been discovered. Math is seen in so many aspects of our world that it seems very unlikely that mankind may have invented it.
Fibonacci Sequence in Nature

Math can be seen in nature through patterns found in the seeds of certain flowers and the swirls of certain seashells. In these objects, the pattern seen is known as the Fibonacci sequence, which is a sequence of numbers that create the swirl patterns seen in both the seeds and the seashells. Math is also seen through many different equations such as the one for gravity and the many other forces that take place in the universe. Because of this math must be discovered. Gravity existed long before the apple fell onto Isaac Newton's head and so did every other force that we experience. 

Due to these ideas of math being discovered rather than invented, I must also say that in this aspect the knowledge of math is used to describe the world rather than to transform it. The lengthy equations that go along with each different force occurring in our universe help us to try to better our understanding of the world. Through these equations we have been able to better describe the way our universe and our world work.

However, in other ways the knowledge of math can be used to transform the world. One way we discussed is computer programming. Through computer programming, we have seen many different inventions such as the smart phones and laptops we have today. These things have drastically changed our world in many ways such as how we communicate with each other and how we complete certain tasks. None of these inventions would have been possible without the use of math and in this way math was used to transform the world.

Machine learning is another way that math is transforming the world. Machine learning is a part of computer programming that "gives computers the ability to learn without being illicitly programmed"(Arthur Samuel). Although this sounds scary, it is also being used to change the world as we know it, allowing computers the ability to do more jobs. 

In conclusion, the knowledge of math both describes and transforms the world we live in. Without math we would not have the advanced technologies of today's generation and we would never be able to describe why the apple falls from the tree and hits the ground. Through the discoveries and transformations that math has given us we have built the world we live in today.

1 comment:

  1. Nice work here. You make a smart move from "describe" to "describe and therefore transform". It is a great idea to try to unpack and problematize binaries where ever possible.

    Nice use of examples, too!