Tuesday, September 11, 2007

On Autism

We've all seen those people who are basically human calculators, but some people find this-counting and basic arithmetic-impressive.

Most people can't do that, but they can approximate concrete calculus problems just as quickly. Running to catch a ball requires successive estimates of ball distance, projected ball position, foot, leg, torso, head, and arm position, and plotting intersecting trajectories, all while compensating for variables like traction and wind.

Personally, I find real-time calculations like that far more impressive. They might not be perfect, but there's a difference between intelligence and a calculator, and I see no reason why the latter should impress me.

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