Machine Learning and the new calculator dilemma

When I was very young at the beginning of my career, one of the major concerns of educators – and my parents – was with regard to the use of calculators in schools, and how this would affect education, since the ease of doing calculations was so much that the traditional method, of mental calculation or even manual, was being threatened.

But today we do not live an even more complex reality, where, paradoxical as it may seem, the calculator itself is threatened, even more, the mental and manual calculus?

And this reality is essentially impacted by the advancement of Artificial Intelligence, especially Machine Learning, where more and more machines do the calculations and create models, programs, and setups for people, to the point that a calculator is, in theory, more and more unnecessary, especially in organizations.

But is this a correct path? Should we really outsource mental and manual calculus?

I believe not, at least totally, and moreover, that there is an error of perception of the interaction of people and machines in terms of learning potential and increased intelligence.

Just as our children need to learn to do mental and manual calculations, professionals need to maintain their skills and mastery of processes, not just acting as machine managers. And if we do not do this, we lose the conviviality with the problems in their essence.

But how to do this, given the paradox of being more productive without losing the essence of knowledge?

Simple. Both, in our personal lives and our organizations, it seems to me that the ideal is to maintain learning cells where people’s intelligence and learning are valued as that of machines.

However, if we let only machines do what they do better than people, we will soon lose the logical essence of many things, for lack of practice and experience, running the risk of losing the evolutionary link of many things and the organization’s business process.

In addition, we run the same risk of children losing the essence of knowledge, depending more and more on others – including machines – to make decisions, which can lead us to what often happens in the area of computing: the return to the past, to correct the errors of the present.

By Rogerio Figurelli at 06/04/2020

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