If mathematics were fine art, then Wilson's view of it would be that
it's all about painting a fence in your backyard. Why learn how to do it
yourself when you can hire someone to do it for you? But fine art isn't
a painted fence, it's the paintings of the great masters. And likewise,
mathematics is not about "numbercrunching," as Wilson's article
suggests. It's about concepts and ideas that empower us to describe
reality and figure out how the world really works. Galileo famously
said, "The laws of Nature are written in the language of mathematics."
Mathematics represents objective knowledge, which allows us to break free
of dogmas and prejudices. It is through math that we learned Earth isn't
flat and that it revolves around the sun, that our universe is curved,
expanding, full of dark energy, and quite possibly has more than three
spatial dimensions. But since we can't really imagine curved spaces of
dimension greater than two, how can we even begin a conversation about
the universe without using the language of math?
and
One of the key functions of mathematics is the ordering
of information. With the advent of the 3D printing and other
new technology, the reality we are used to is undergoing a radical
transformation: Everything will migrate from the layer of physical
reality to the layer of information and data. We will soon be able to
convert information into matter on demand by using 3D printers just as
easily as we now convert a PDF file into a book or an MP3 file into a
piece of music. In this brave new world, math will be king: It will be
used to organize and order information and facilitate the conversion of
information into matter.
