As the world becomes more and more digital, the arrival of a fully technological future is at hand, if not already here. Critical thinking will be centered on the absolute reasoning of math and the logical conclusions of science. In this final part of Patrick Donohoe’s interview with Todd Langford of Number Analytics, they focus on the evolution of collective knowledge as time goes on and with society always moving forward. Todd emphasizes the undeniable role of the ever-advancing technology with how people consume information, focusing on the rapid ability of humans to learn thanks to the many digital means today.
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Todd Langford: The Relationship Of Math And Science Towards A Technological Future
What would be true for you if optimism led to everything you wanted out of life? Pessimism is easy. In my experience, it only gives you the scraps of life. Optimism engages your creative muscles. It brightens your vision and it motivates action. I love the saying, what’s wrong is always available but so is what’s right. Now to the last segment with Todd Langford and the series of The Truth About Money.
It’s a discovery. It’s not a creation. Math was always here. That’s like saying, “Since we discovered gravity, that’s a human creation. From now on, I’m not going to believe in gravity anymore.” Good luck with that one. We’re all going to experience gravity exactly the same way. There are certain laws in nature that exist and they are absolute truths. Math is one of those. When you start to confuse those, it was interesting that the same article about Relativity by John Messerly that I was talking about. He put this article out there and then somebody came back with the rebuttal who didn’t believe in absolute truths that said, “To take that same 2+2 formula with a module is 3 and the answer is 1. You changed the facts.”
The math is still there. You can change the facts all you want to. Another example from the same guy. He was talking about relativity. He said, “I can’t just declare that I’m a poached egg. I may believe that, but that didn’t make it so.” This guy that responded said, “If you were wearing a poached egg costume in a play, then you would be a poached egg.” No, you would not be a poached egg. The difference is we can change. We have biases on different pieces but there are absolutes that are absolutely true. Math is one of those. Have we had some faults with the math? Yes, because the assumptions were wrong. Not because the math was wrong. I think this idea that we have Mathematicians being willing to give in on that makes me think that we’re in a strange place. If math has gray areas and we have all the facts, I think we’ve got some problems.
It goes to this separation. You have the non-constant environment that exists, which is always changing. It’s always evolving. I think human biases are always evolving and changing. When you start to mingle the two, that’s when you get into problems. You have to separate the two of them, both the math, the logic and the evaluation tools, and the environment that is being evaluated. It’s the idea that physicists have proven time travel but the environment doesn’t allow for time travel. We’d be time-traveling. It’s this idea of separation and recognizing that there are some objective constant tools to evaluate that have been discovered. The environment that they are used in is constantly changing.
This is especially true probably in financial mathematics. Whenever we’re using financial mathematics, again, the math is absolute but the environment is not anywhere close to being absolute. That’s why people have that breakdown where they say, “The math is not right. It’s relative and can move around.” It’s not the math that moves around. It’s the assumptions that support the math that move around and that’s going to be constant. The rate of change is accelerating and technology drives that. It’s something that we all want. It’s an interesting yin and yang from the standpoint of everybody wants what technology offers and everybody hates change. The thing about it is technology drives change.
It’s absolutely something that’s on the same path. If we don’t accept change and understand that change is what we have to do to get the good that we want from the other technological things that happen, we just got to get there. It’s funny to hear people say, “The good old days.” Really? The good old days? Back when you had an outhouse in the back behind the house? That’s not the good old days to me. I like what technology has gotten to. I think we’re living in a fantastic time. We’re in a timeframe where the ratio of poor people by other countries standards doesn’t exist here in the United States. When we see is what we have and we appreciate that piece of it, we’re headed in the right direction.Discipline is needed to continue feeding the mind for it to grow. Click To Tweet
It goes to the notion of separation and not mingling. It’s the environment accepting that as a truth, that progress and growth almost seem like it’s a principle of life. It’s always going to happen. People are driven to do that. It’s the ability to evaluate and make sense of it, which is where the role of math and maybe even science. Is that factually accurate or is there another way of looking at science? Is it science that’s evolving or is it the environment that’s evolving, and science is merely evaluating it so it seems like it is evolving as well?
That’s an interesting way to put it. What happens is our level of knowledge increases as we find out things that we didn’t know that we put in the assumptions that were not correct, if that makes sense. I’m going back to my analogy with the ships. Four ships went out and then came back. Clearly, the Earth is flat. With time, we find out we were flawed in our calculations here. It’s not that the math is off. We still sent out four ships and none of them came back. The math was right but the assumptions in the model were wrong that the Earth was flat. They calculated and went too far. Something else happened to them along the way. We evolve in time and we learned that the assumptions used in the equations were wrong. Not that the equations were necessarily wrong or not that the results of the equation that we had were wrong. Maybe the equation is wrong but the answer was right based on what the equation said. Math is a constant. It’s just that there’s so much that we don’t know yet. We’ve come a long way and why is that going to stop? Every generation has thought, “We’ve reached the plateau. We know all there is to know.” We can look back a few years and figure out that’s not true. They’ve always been able to do that. Why do we think that’s not going to happen in the future?
There’s this assumption that all knowledge is essentially going to be achieved. Some people operate with that assumption. It’s been proven time and time again. Is it a false assumption to assume that knowledge will continue to expand? It’s still an assumption. It’s not absolute but history proves that it’s highly probable.
Think about where we’ve gone to. At some core, we probably know that that’s the truth because we’ve decided that we can’t learn fast enough which is why we have to have computers and other places to store the stuff that we can’t maintain our brains so that we can still experience the growth and knowledge without having to retain it and do it personally. We’ve already figured out that it’s bigger than what we are.
Already as you said and it’s already there. That’s where the acceleration takes place and going to an assumption is not absolute. It’s highly probable based on human nature but the sustenance level is going to continue to come down. Life is going to get easier. I was having a conversation regarding Starlink, which is Elon Musk’s company that is going to be providing internet. Satellites are very good internet connection relative to what people have in parts of the world where the infrastructure doesn’t exist. That right there is going to accelerate learning among a lot of people that right now are not able to leverage technology. They can’t communicate the way we’re communicating. They can’t have this knowledge being processed in certain ways and have access to that to accelerate their lifestyle.
I believe that the world is going to take off in a sense and it’s exciting. At the same time, it goes to this point of the future is going to be different from the present in so many ways because it’s happening exponentially. If our assumptions right now as far as what it’s going to take to achieve a meaningful life are based on a certain set of assumptions, those assumptions are going to change. The costs and experiences you want are going to change. The biases that human beings have are going to change. That’s the evolving and exciting piece. The role of math, science and logic is simply to evaluate and explain it.Technology is the ability to learn anything you want to learn. Click To Tweet
This is where beliefs come in. This is not the truth. I’m going to talk about a belief. That discipline is going to become a critical piece of moving forward because right now anybody can coast. Technology has got to a place that we can pretty much coast. We can waste time, mental effort and not starve to death. Because we don’t have that drive that keeps us on task, we have to have the discipline to continue to do that, to continue to feed our mind with stuff, try to grow and figure stuff out because we don’t have to. In today’s society, we can kick back and that’s where death occurs. It’s when everything becomes about entertainment and nothing about what’s important. We separate ourselves from everybody around us. We start to rely on email and other pieces for our communications, and talking to people and finding out what drives them. It’s that relationship that disappears. It’s the discipline that has to step in and say, “All this other stuff is taken care of.” Nothing is critical anymore. I have to stay on task because that’s tough.
It’s agility as well. I look back on COVID-19. In quarantine, our office completely shut down. I was used to traveling and going to events and doing things at least a couple of times a month. Everything ceased. I’ve been in the office number of times. It’s a massive office with nobody here. I rode my bike during the summer into a city where I didn’t see cars on my way in. Nobody was here. I came to this empty place and business was amazing because you had people at home, we were able to be agile and have all of our employees work from home, and our expenses went down.
Everything was amazing because of how our business rhythm is set up. I found myself with nothing to do for many days. I was unhappy and miserable. It didn’t matter what was going on right here, there and elsewhere. I would consider things that were successful. The meaning I attached to coming in, being with people, going to events, learning and expanding my knowledge. Everything had been disrupted. It took me but it didn’t take that long. I had to come to grips with that and find meaning elsewhere. The same thing is going to happen, not to that extent. That was very abrupt but there’s going to be technology that makes life even easier than it is now.
I believe that there’s still a drive inside of people to survive, earn a wage, pay the bills and put food on the table. People find meaning in the ability to do that, which I totally understand. When that’s taken care of or it takes 10% of the effort to do that, you’re not going to experience the same meaning from it. Therefore, it’s this constant evolution of expanding, growing, and it’s the awareness of it. Discipline is a relative term. Discipline is to be aware, to be agile and to constantly seek growth. I believe that is within all of us. When you’re not growing, you’re dying. I’m sure that there are lots of ways in which we can evaluate that. There is the Second Law of Thermodynamics. There are some physical laws as far as growth, transformation and evolution that can be measured and evaluated. I believe that you’re going to have to be more agile because the change to the environment is going to happen at a much quicker pace.
What’s cool about that is the opportunity for more time has been given to us because of technology. What’s also been given to us by technology is the ability to learn anything you want to learn. You have at your fingertips with the computer and the internet. You have to siphon through the garbage that’s out there because there’s a lot of untruth stuff but if you apply it in your brain to look at the logical side of things, see what makes sense and what doesn’t and follow that, any idea you have, you can follow that. You can improve who you are mentally by taking some of that time that’s been given to you and invest in your own education in whatever area it is. You can become the professional that we talked about pretty easily with the amount of data that’s out there if you’ll spend the time with it and have some drive in that area. Find something that you like.
That’s one of the downsides of the old model prior to what we’ve seen in many years. That is, “I go to work in this place. I decided when I was a kid that I’m going to do X because that’s what my dad did. I hate this. It didn’t drive me but at 5:00 I get to go home every day and that’s supposed to be fulfilling.” Now you have the ability to do whatever it is that you want to do and make money at it if you just think through it. It comes back to what we were talking about the two-fold idea. You can learn something and make money doing something that you like. Wouldn’t that be cool? We have the opportunity to do that and you can do it part-time, which is even better. You don’t have to quit what you’re doing, which is providing for your family, to go down a different track. You can educate yourself on that other track while you’re earning a living from something that you don’t like doing right now. You get both ends and then you get to be to a place where you’re going to be beyond productive because you’re doing what you really like.
That’s the North Star in a sense. It’s to look for the things that you love, enjoy and you have talent and ability in a sense superior to the other things that you know how to do. Usually, those are what give you that fulfillment and meaning. As you said, there are so many opportunities these days. Jack has got into this fascination with 3D printing. He wants this little toy 3D printer for his seventh birthday. We were watching some videos of this YouTube channel that 3D printed wheels for Hot Wheels cars. It had 200 million views or something like that. For those that understand how YouTube works and advertising models, that’s that guy’s full-time job. It’s 3D printing wheels and showing us how to do it. You have all sorts of bizarre channels and things that people found a profession that you could tell they love to do. The sky is the limit these days. I’m sure there are some doubters who are like, “That’s for you. That’s for this.” That’s an assumption. At the same time, if you know where to look for it, there is evidence that some pretty amazing things are possible even for the doubters.
That goes back to what you said about our path through time as human beings. We’ve got stuff internal to us that many times were put in place to the fight and flight idea of protecting us. Unfortunately, that protection limits us in an environment as we have now. It’s the idea that can never work. I’d have to do what I normally do. I couldn’t provide for my family if I took a chance on this or whatever else. At this time, it’s not that big a chance that you have to take. You can play with it, find out and you get to learn. The beauty of it is you get to be who you are.
Dan Sullivan with Strategic Coach has the idea of unique ability. It’s a fabulous idea. The interesting piece to me on the idea is around unique ability is that your unique ability is hard for you to recognize because as human beings, we all think everybody else is wired like we are. We all think everybody else thinks and believes the same way. That’s something that we do as human beings. That’s how we can get along with other people. It makes us fit in if everybody is like we are. When we have something that we can do that’s special, we think everybody else can do it. If we can take the time to figure out what that is and monetize it, people would gladly pay for that benefit because it’s something they don’t have.
About Todd Langford
Todd Langford is the Founder & CEO of Truth Concepts, Partners 4 Prosperity, and Prosperity Economics Advisors.
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