Chris Bateman published his book The Virtuous Cyborg back in 2018 which explores how technology is not morally neutral because our behaviour – being the cyborgs in the book’s title – is shaped and influenced by the technology we augment ourselves with. Technology in this context does not mean circuitry or even software, but a tool for changing the way we deal with the world. It can even be conceptual.
So when Chris asked if I wanted to contribute to his ongoing A Hundred Cyborgs series, where he looks at the impact of one technology in a brief 500 word post I thought, okay, yes, but I’m not noted for my 500 word constraints 🙂
And it’s done, it’s out there, it’s 500 words of real. You can read my contribution, entry #81 in the series, on mathematics as technology on Chris’ site.
For many people, mathematics is that thing you do with numbers. In reality, it is an enormous, constantly evolving subject from which new concepts spring every year, the applications of which are rarely obvious at first. The square root of -1, the “imaginary number”, turns up in electrical engineering. Group theory, which is essentially an analysis of addition, turns out to be important for encryption and crystallography. Who knew.
Links for further reading:
- Keiko Yasukawa’s paper: Looking at mathematics as technology: implications for numeracy
- Complex numbers in electrical engineering: Complex Numbers and Phasors in Polar and Rectangular Form
- The credit crunch: Recipe for Disaster: The Formula That Killed Wall Street
- Fixed odds betting terminals: Roulette machines: the crack cocaine of gambling