People a few moves ahead of everyone else in humanity’s chess game against reality

Computer Scientist Scott Aaronson:

There’s plenty of mathematics that strikes me as boutique scholasticism [produced by a small, narrow-minded clique]. But there’s mathematics that looks to me like boutique scholasticism, until [mathematicians] Greg Kuperberg or Ketan Mulmuley explains it to me, and I say: “Ah, so that’s why [mathematicians] David Mumford, Alain Connes, and Edward Witten cared so much about this. Now that I understand it, it seems … almost like an ordinary applied engineering question, albeit one from the year 2030, being studied by people a few moves ahead of everyone else in humanity’s chess game against reality. It will be pretty sweet once the rest of the world catches up to this.”

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