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Demolition Man – Living in the future

Olusegun Oludare Written by Olusegun Oludare · 1 min read >

The Sunday following my first intensive week at Lagos Business School (LBS), which by the way felt like a month in a concentration camp, I crawled into my bed on return from a church service. Somehow, it felt different lazing in bed without having to worry about the next case study to review. Freedom, I thought, how exhilarating! However, for some strange reason, the sleep I desperately craved eluded me that afternoon. I guess the coffee-induced adrenaline that sustained me during the week was yet to wear off.  After tossing and turning for about an hour, I opted to engage myself in the boring activity that will ultimately induce sleep: seeing a movie.

Only the gods could explain what informed my decision that day to see the 1993 Sylvester Stallone classic: Demolition Man. As the movie began, I drifted into a reverie, reliving so many memories of my secondary school days as to how we reacted to its futuristic scenes. But just before sleep welcomed me into its loving embrace, I remember a discussion that ensued during one of Dr. Bongo’s Data Analytics classes. The conversation around exponential organization led the class to reflect on how the use of technology has drastically changed the concept of traditional workspace since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, about 3 years ago. We talked about how the now widely acceptable virtual meetings, were almost inconceivable before the lockdown. One of the executives enlightened the class on the emerging “Meta-verse” technology and its potential to radically change how we work and learn in the coming years. Dr. Bongo concluded the discussion by explaining to the class how all these technologies are built on basic mathematical concepts of probability and regression.

Simply put, “Probability” is the likelihood that an event will occur. The value of probability lies between 0 and 1. A zero probability means an event can’t occur while a probability of one, means an event will certainly happen. Regression, on the other hand,  is a statistical concept that uses historical trends to predict future events. Applying the concept of probability and regression, it wasn’t a surprise to any of the MEMBA11 executives when Dr. Bongo was made a professor a few weeks after our first encounter with the erudite scholar.

Back to my movie, seeing Demolition Man just a year shy of 30 years after its release helped me to appreciate two important things. The producers of the movie must be way ahead of their time. Their ability to imagine what life would be like in 2032 is uncanny. While we still do not have cryogenic prisons, at least not to my knowledge, the emergence of autonomous self-driving cars a few years ago indicates it is not impossible. Going by the changes the world has seen since 1993 and the discussion from Prof Bongo’s class, it is obvious to me that anyone that fails to join the moving wagon of technological advancement in the world today, will one day wake up like the main characters in Demolition man (Sergeant John Spartan and Simon Phoenix) in a world they are not equipped for.

PROBABILITY DISTRIBUTIONS

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