Sunday, January 22, 2017

Are We That Dumb?

The Telegraph published a piece on the impact of Technology and Income Inequality as spoken by the Chosen Few at Davos. They state:

A regular refrain was that governments and technology firms are not going to be able to solve many of the imminent problems that the world faces on their own; they are going to have to work together. Joichi Ito, the Japanese entrepreneur, activist and director of the MIT Media Lab pointed out that this will require groups with fundamentally different world views to collaborate. "Typically the people who are focussed on computer science and AI don't like the messiness of the real world," said Ito. "Most engineers don't understand the law; most engineers don't understand why governments exist." MIT even has a Charm School that tries to equip students with the skills to become future tech leaders and better deal with the real world of non-geniuses. 

Now the Media Lab always held a rather strange position at MIT. Half real an half just Demo. Back in the 80s I spent time and donated funds to try to get them to break bread with EECS to no avail.

But the above remark is frankly a personal insult. Engineers deal with the "real world" every day. They deal with patents, contracts, budgets, investors, lawyers, environmental controls and regulations. Perhaps a 19 year old does not but Engineers for the most part have to bridge the gaps to create and sustain something.

Engineers do Term Sheets, NDAs, Patent Filings. The lawyers take what they do and as good scriveners reduce it to writing suitable for filing. To say "most engineers don't understand why government exists" is in my opinion absurd to the extreme. As for the MIT Charm school, whatever that is, perhaps Alumni should rethink the Alumni Fund. The Charm School may be a reflection more of the Administration than the reality of the working world.

I suppose, in my opinion and based upon my experience, the dicta from this Media Lab employee is more reflective of his world view than reality. For how did MIT alumni set up so many companies if we all are dullards requiring "Charm School".