Alan Kay

Los Angeles, CA, United States

Someone is shy

Alan hasn't completed a profile. Should we look for some other people?

Comments & conversations

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Alan Kay
Posted almost 3 years ago
What is Your BIG IDEA in just 6 WORDS?
Hi Darina The first one I came up with has more coverage but is a little more vague: "Humans learn to transcend their genes" I'm more concerned with our genetic built-ins for thinking than for disease, aging, etc., so I went with the one above. Bertrand Russell would ask "How much of human nature can be tempered by human nurture?" We can think of "training" as processes that help the acquisition of knowledge, and "Education" as processes that help the acquisition of new perspectives and contexts. It would be difficult to explain to the 100 million or so killed by other humans in 20th century wars and oppression that "things are better now", but overall, things do seem to be better on a number of fronts than compared to 500 and 1000 years ago. The two large questions are: (a) can we learn our way to further deeply qualitative changes in our behaviors which are not subject to the passions of the moment? (b) if so, then what processes over what duration must be set up to effect the gradual transformation? It is worth being optimistic about (a), and thus we need to put in much more time and effort in on (b). The tragedy could be that (a) is possible, but that we lack the will and perspective to do what is needed in (b). For example, what if consumer economics and marketing coupled with modern media were to be shown as deep barriers to real changes for the better? Best wishes, Alan
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Alan Kay
Posted over 7 years ago
Alan Kay: A powerful idea about ideas
Yes, Alejandro is quite right. That's what I get for trying to do this in my head while trying to end the talk. I was off by a factor of 30 (so probably missed the number of days in a month). It's more like "a working day is about $100M spent in Iraq". (Still a lot, but I regret not calculating this beforehand.) OTOH, I don't kick myself for such things.... On the other hand, I do have a degree in mathematics (which obviously doesn't mean that I can do arithmetic!), but I do understand the Pythagorean Theorem. So Mr. Tomko is technically correct in some sense, but I really meant the sides and really meant the standard form of the relationship. Perhaps I was cutting corners by not adding the additional labels. OYAH, no one has worried about this until now, and most people have just enjoyed the proof, which is likely a very early one. I thank the responders for their generosity. (I must confess that the 18 minute deadline at TED lends itself to some talks and is a real problem for others. I felt quite constricted trying to jam too many ideas into the short time allotted.)