David Gelernter, a professor of computer science at Yale University, a writer, and a social critic, attended a meeting with Donald Trump in New York City last Tuesday, as reported by press secretary Sean Spicer.
Gelernter is a well-known critic of the presence of liberal intellectualism in American college campuses. In his book America-Lite: How Imperial Academia Dismantled Our Culture (and Ushered in the Obamacrats) he talks about the decline of American culture and values thanks to the presence of Jews in the country’s higher education centers, while Gelernter is also a Jew.
Back in October, he wrote a note for the Wall Street Journal which read: “There’s only one way to protect the nation from Hillary Clinton, and that is to vote for Donald Trump.”
He called Trump “the empty gin bottle they have chosen to toss through the window,” representing the contempt for the vision of America that both Clinton and Obama are said to represent. Concerning Obama, Gelernter sees him as America’s babysitter.
A computer scientist will oversee the next four years of scientific development
The Yale professor would become the first computer scientist to become science adviser to the president, while also not being a member of the National Academy of Sciences.
Furthermore, he cited in his book that he is doubtful about the veracity of whether scientists are concerned with global warming or climate change, something that is sure to ring a bell on Trump’s way of thinking.
Gelernter is seen as a contributor to the idea that computer science is cluttered with people who love computers and lacks people who desire to make computers easier to use. He argues that the computing industry does not understand how the broader audiences use their products. One would think that Gelernter would be inclined to support Steve Job’s legacy of seeking simplicity and elegance in computing, although did not agree with him, suggesting that Jobs was more of an artist rather than a computer engineer.
The soon-to-be science adviser wrote a book called Mirror Worlds, where he fantasized about the capabilities of what we now know as the internet. He predicts that soon, virtual communications will take place more like neighborhood chatting and less like telecommunications such as mail and messaging.
Arguably, he cannot be entirely mistaken, seeing that he is the creator of Linda, a programming language for parallel programming, which allows computers to coordinate commands. Linda lets several computers connect to a dominating machine, all while operating in unison. Gelernter alongside some of his colleagues showcased the project in 1991 by connecting 14 computers, achieving the processing power of a supercomputer while being several times cheaper.
On his views, Gelernter predicted that the world would be eventually wired by a giant computer, although people could protest due to the lack of privacy that such scenario would imply, which can be compared to what it is being lived today.
Such claims had Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, send a mail-bomb to Gelernter in 1993, injuring his right hand and his right eye. Kaczynski sent several letter bombs, killing three people, which led to his arrest in 1996.
A pioneer in network computing
Due to the attack, Gelernter started writing and painting, and after a couple of years he founded a company called Mirror Worlds and envisioned the idea of a lifestream.
A lifestream would cover a person’s life until its death, containing photos, videos, and anything that a person had witnessed in its life. These lifestreams could be made public by flipping a switch, thus serving as a record of a personal life and a public life.
“I wanted the company to build software for college students, who are eager early adopters. It would be designed not only to eliminate file systems but also to be a real-time messaging medium. Social networking was the most important aspect of it. Starting with Yale, we would give it away for free to get undergraduates excited about recommending it to their friends,” he stated according to the Economist.
His project evolved into something called Scopeware, which shifted its purpose and was sold to just some state companies. In 2004, Mirror Worlds left the market, and shortly after, Facebook was launched.
Gelernter also found himself at a crossroads with Apple, as it appeared that the company pioneered by Jobs took advantage of some of Gelerntner’s ideas. Gelernter sued Apple and Apple sued back. The result had Apple pay him $625.5 million in damages, although Gelernter assures that he was betting his reputation rather than his financial assets. A year later the verdict was overturned, as a judge ruled that Apple should not pay a dime to Gelertner.
After Trump was elected, scientific societies of the U.S. sent a letter to him urging the need to choose a science adviser to discuss then how matters of science and technology would be addressed in the upcoming administration, and it seems that it would be done through Gelernter. The letter was signed by members of the American Astronomical Society, the Association of America Universities, the American Institute of Physics, and much more.
Source: The Washington Post