In Lecture three of the 2019 CHRISTMAS LECTURES, Hannah Fry looks at why maths can fail and asks what the limits of maths are. Are there problems maths can’t or shouldn’t solve? And in an age where ‘fake news’ abounds and statistics can be twisted to prove anything, should we always trust in numbers?
About the 2019 CHRISTMAS LECTURES
We think our lives unfold thanks to a mix of luck and our own personal choices. But that’s not quite true. An unseen layer of mathematics governs every aspect of our world.
Life’s most astonishing miracles can be understood with probability. Big data dictates many of the hot new fashions we follow. Even our choices on Netflix, or our choice of who we marry, is secretly influenced by computer algorithms.
In a series of Lectures packed with mind-boggling demos and live experiments, Hannah Fry shows us how to decode life’s hidden numbers; to help us all make better choices, sort fact from fiction, and lead happier lives. But she also warns how our unwavering faith in figures can lead to disaster when we get the sums wrong.
Unravelling suspicious statistics, engineering meltdowns and deadly data, Hannah asks big ethical questions about the trust we place in maths today. Are there any problems maths can’t or shouldn’t solve? Do computer algorithms have too much control over our lives and privacy? Could artificial intelligence decide if someone lives or dies?
Ultimately, by probing the limits of maths and its role in our modern world, Hannah ends up revealing and celebrating what makes our human minds so unique.