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Walther and Albert

Walther and Albert

I suspect that few of you reading this know who Walther Mayer was unless you happen to be a particularly astute student of physics history. Likewise, I suspect that almost everyone reading this knows who Albert Einstein was.

To end the suspense, Walther Mayer was the person who did almost all of the mathematics for Einstein. Einstein called him the calculator. Other than being the answer to a trivia challenge question, the relationship between these two obviously very talented scientists is critical in this day of AI. Walther was the better mathematician; he was better at knowing things. Conversely, Einstein was the better thinker; he was better at thinking about things.

We often commingle knowing and thinking. Importantly though, they are not the same thing and AI clearly demonstrates the difference. AI has a clear advantage in knowing things. AI can store and retrieve information orders of magnitude greater than even the most intelligent of humans can in terms of both amount of information and in terms of speed. However, AI cannot think. AI cannot create. AI cannot create paradigm shifts. AI cannot imagine.

Walther Mayer, as talented as he was – and he did indeed make some important contributions to mathematics – is simply an interesting footnote in history. Einstein changed science and the world forever. Keep this in mind as you ponder the importance of knowing or thinking about your business.

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