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micro 101 homework assignment

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grant.w.underwood Posted: Tue, Jun 12 2012 1:16 PM

 

so i got this question wrong on my homework assignment. it is a pretty simple question, but tell me if you think im wrong or right.

 
question: Suppose there is an improvement in the technology for the production of computers.  In addition, the number of buyers of computers increases.  All else held constant
 
a: equilibrium quantity to increase, butt equilibrium price is indeterminant from the given information
 
b: that both equilibrium price and quantity are indeterminant from the given information
 
i answered B because i do not see how you can predict that there would be more supply.  I asked the professor after class about my concerns.  i told him that improvements in technology do not always mean that the product will be cheaper.  I sited a couple improvements in cars that caused the price that to shoot up and therefore supply went down. (he said 'oh thats government regulations')
 
i mentioned when LCD TVs first hit the market everyone wanted one, but they were to expensive for the average consumer, but companies stopped producing tube TVs.  So the quantity supplied of televisions drastically went down. 
 
and lastly i mentioned a cell phone.  (i couldnt remember which company did it or what cell phone it was) but what was to be the best cell phone to hit the market stopped production pushed back the release date because a competitor released a quad core processor phone when this company only had a dual core.   they were going to replace all the processors and install quad core processors.  The phone never came out.  So in this case supply completely stopped.
 
and i forgot to mention to him 'what about time'? it can take years to produce a product with certain technologies.  so an improvement in technology would have no effect on supply for the first year if it took over a year to produce.
 
maybe im just thinking too much into it...

 

 

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Technically you're right.  If that one sentence is all the info you are given, there's no way you could make an assertion as to what would happen...largely because "an improvement in the technology for the production of computers" is so ambiguous it could mean just about anything...and you're right, that anything doesn't necessarily have to lower production cost.  Hell I could say "an improvement in technology" was made if it was made a more attractive color...or if it was coated with sweet smelling perfume so that any workers nearby got a pleasant oder.

Of course if you had a stickler professor and made assumptions as to what "an improvement in the technology" is/does, and answered "a", you'd be marked wrong because that enough information isn't given to make that assertion.

But here you have a case of a professor not being specific and expecting you to make the same assumption errors that he does.

Such is life in the education system.

 

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Well, this is only a 101 class meaning it won't teach everything about how the world works.   But the reason the answer is A is quite simple.  Both an increase in demand and supply will definitely increase market quantity, but the change in market price (increase/decrease) depends on whether demand or supply increased more.   Think about the shift of supply/demand curves

 

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There was an increase in supply?  Where did it say that?

 

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It didn't say that, but in microecon 101, "increase in productivity", "improvement in technology, "lowering of input costs" are all code words for increase in supply.   

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Oh I see, he's supposed to make assumptions based on "code words".  Exactly like I said. 

 

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I don't see what the big deal is. If there is an improvement in technology in the production of computers, then all else held constant, supply will most definitely increase.

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It seems like the OP doesn't even understand the difference between supply and quantity supplied.

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ya the book says about  'improved technology' - "advances in technology are assumed to increase supply.  if a given technology made it more expensive to produce the same product, a firm would not adopt it' - so thats the answer the professor is giving me

so about the article "jonesin' for a soda" by Max Raskin , Jones Bottling Company redid everything just to go from using corn syrup to sugar.  it also costed the company to sell the product at 5% more.  http://mises.org/daily/2678/Jonesin-for-a-Soda

am i to assume that jones soda with corn syrup is a completely different product from jones soda with sugar?

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Friedmanite:
I don't see what the big deal is. If there is an improvement in technology in the production of computers, then all else held constant, supply will most definitely increase.

Then you obviously didn't read my post

But I'll explain to you what "the big deal is".  You're making assumptions about what "an improvement" actually is.  And as the Grant has confirmed, the textbook even admits this.

 

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am i to assume that jones soda with corn syrup is a completely different product from jones soda with sugar?

hahah

Is it the same?  or is corn syrup a whole different product (with a whole different process of creation) than sugar?

I feel like the OP is a "duh" type question.  If the book tells you to "assume" something like this.  Just do it.  Until you know Austrian theory backwards and forwards you will get no where arguing or contesting  things (even if you do know Austrian theory in and out, you still may not get anywhere).  My professors just avoided answering the questions I posed about inflation, interest, EMH, time, etc.  Only one answered them willfully and he was my prof for money and banking (E305 i think).  He thought it was funny that the Fed has "no options" and laughed when I said they have one they haven't tried, "raise rates."

Honestly, I used Power and Market as my textbook for E201 and E202 (micro and macro).  I didn't even buy the university books and I got A's in both classes.  Everything they teach you (virtually) is intervention of some type, haha.

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I think that's really good advice. 

I started thinking I could apply this thinking to every single question if they just gave me the option.  This has been the only question that asked me to actually.  I'll stop thinking till later years.

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  I'll stop thinking till later years.

Some say that is the point of the ducational system, to teach you not to think.

You might try what others have done instead, giving two answers. "The official answer for the record and for purposes of a grade in this course is bla bla. The real answer is bla bla."

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Anenome replied on Wed, Jun 13 2012 3:20 AM

We've really got to go back to privately funded education. Quality has dropped so, so far. Many kids in the 19th century came out of college knowing greek, latin, french, german and of course english.

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Wheylous replied on Wed, Jun 13 2012 6:29 AM

Many kids in the 19th century came out of college knowing greek, latin, french, german and of course english.

And that makes the previous system better how? You're making the same mistake current administrators make - that 1) more knoweldge is always worth it and 2) you know what others ought to know.

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Wheylous replied on Wed, Jun 13 2012 6:44 AM

Grant, as to your question, improvement is essentially defined as making the same good for less money. Why? Because we're talking about perfect competition. Products are homogeneous. The only possible improvement is lowering costs.

That's why tech improvements shift supply right.

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And that makes the previous system better how? You're making the same mistake current administrators make - that 1) more knoweldge is always worth it and 2) you know what others ought to know.

Knowing many languages has been proven to improve critical thinking ability.  Not to mention the inter-cultural benefits.

I would almost dare you to prove that this education system is superior to the Trivium-Quadrivium or the great books, etc.  You are way out of bounds claiming that.

Schools used to be better than when the state funds and sets the curriculum.  Rothbard wrote about this.

You should know better.

more knoweldge is always worth it

Can you explain a circumstance where being ignorant is better than being knowledgeable?  (One that doesn't ironically have to do with happiness or bliss...)

you know what others ought to know.

People used to know Roman and Greek history, not to have knowledge because of the knowledge, but because it modified their character.  Abeunt studia in mores.

I don't know how you can possibly argue that knowing one language is somehow equal to or better than knowing several.

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John James replied on Wed, Jun 13 2012 11:04 AM

Aristophanes:
I would almost dare you to prove that this education system is superior to the Trivium-Quadrivium or the great books, etc.  You are way out of bounds claiming that.

I didn't see him claim that.  Could you point it out for me?

 

Can you explain a circumstance where being ignorant is better than being knowledgeable?  (One that doesn't ironically have to do with happiness or bliss...)

I can.  Being ignorant of how many grains of sand there are in the world is better than knowing, due to the costs involved in discovering the answer.  As he said, it's not "worth [the cost]."

Being ignorant of your death day is better than being knowledgeable of it due to the psychological factors that would most likely come into play.  Your quality of life would quite likely be much lower than it would otherwise be...and that's assuming you didn't end it earlier by your own hand.

Being ignorant of what every single person in the world is saying at any given moment is better than knowing such a thing because quite likely you wouldn't be able to have a thought of your own, let alone speak one.

 

Would you like some more examples?

 

I don't know how you can possibly argue that knowing one language is somehow equal to or better than knowing several.

Another straw man?

 

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I didn't see him claim that.  Could you point it out for me?

Whether he knows it or not, he equated our system to the old one.  All I did was point out what the old system was.

Also, when I said "You are way out of bounds claiming that." i was refering to what he said, not my dare.

Many kids in the 19th century came out of college knowing greek, latin, french, german and of course english.

And that makes the previous system better how? You're making the same mistake current administrators make - that 1) more knoweldge is always worth it and 2) you know what others ought to know.

I can.  Being ignorant of how many grains of sand there are in the world is better than knowing, due to the costs involved in discovering the answer.  As he said, it's not "worth [the cost]."

Being ignorant of your death day is better than being knowledgeable of it due to the psychological factors that would most likely come into play.  Your quality of life would quite likely be much lower than it would otherwise be...and that's assuming you didn't end it earlier by your own hand.

Being ignorant of what every single person in the world is saying at any given moment is better than knowing such a thing because quite likely wouldn't be able to have a thought of your own, let alone speak one.

Okay, let me rephrase, "...anything relevant and not strawmen..."

Grains of sand - strawman

death day - is interesting and relevant I suppose, I'll give you that one

current conversation knowledge - irrelevant/strawman.

Why not give examples for anything to do with culture?  Or history?  Or politics?  Nah.  Grains of sand and omniscience....good ones.

As he said, it's not "worth [the cost]."

I didn't see him say that.  What qualifier did he use for money when referring to worth?  He could have meant anything (the simple mental exertion for example)

I don't know how you can possibly argue that knowing one language is somehow equal to or better than knowing several.

Another straw man?

In what world is that a straw man?

You are just sad inside (or are exhibiting Amero-centrism).  It has been said over and over and over and over that multilingualism is beneficial. Until the 1960's you could not even get into Oxford (and many others) without already being proficient in Latin.

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John James replied on Wed, Jun 13 2012 11:36 AM

Aristophanes:
Wether he knows it or not, he equated our system to the old one.

Yeah I read that notion the first time you posted it.  Could you please show me where he did this?

 

Okay, let me rephrase, "...anything relevant and not strawmen..."

Grains of sand - strawman

death day - is interesting and relevant I suppose, I'll give you that one

current conversation knowledge - irrelevant/strawman.

This has me doubting you even know what a "straw man" is.

You asked for a circumstance where being ignorant is better than being knowledgeable.  I gave you multiple ones.  Please show me where I misrepresented anything about what you said.  I mean, you didn't even make an argument.  You made a request.  I fulfilled it. 

I would love to hear your explanation of how this constitutes a "straw man".  I'm sure it would be quite entertaining.

 

In what world is that a straw man?

The one called "Earth".

Perhaps this is a case where ignorance is actually a hinderence and knowledge would be beneficial.  See, a "straw man" in this context refers to "a type of argument which is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position. To 'attack a straw man' is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by replacing it with a superficially similar yet unequivalent proposition (the 'straw man'), and refuting it, without ever having actually refuted the original position."

See, here on Earth, this is what you have done by asserting that Wheylous argued that "knowing one language is somehow equal to or better than knowing several."  He did nothing of the kind.  He simply proposed the notion that simply knowing "greek, latin, french, german and of course english" doesn't automatically make the system of education under which it took place better.

He never suggested what you are claiming he is arguing.  You are misrepresenting his position, and creating the illusion of having refuted a proposition by replacing it with a superficially similar yet unequivalent proposition (the 'straw man'), and refuting it, without ever having actually refuted the original position.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCU8hsltEJI

 

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You asked for a circumstance where being ignorant is better than being knowledgeable.  I gave you multiple ones.  Please show me where I misrepresented anything about what you said.  I mean, you didn't even make an argument.  You made a request.  I fulfilled it.

Why not give examples for anything to do with culture?  Or history?  Or politics?  Nah.  Grains of sand and omniscience....good ones.

Sigh.

Anenome said

Many kids in the 19th century came out of college knowing greek, latin, french, german and of course english.

...his implication is that this is better than what we have today.

Wheylous responds with...

And that makes the previous system better how? You're making the same mistake current administrators make - that 1) more knoweldge is always worth it and 2) you know what others ought to know.

...implying that the system today is equal to or greater than the past system.  His implied reasoning is that there is no proof that multilingulism is better than our system today (which doesn't really promote it).

Now, reading it again, his second point is not on target either.  Simply stating that older generations were more multilingual is not saying that "what I know others ought to know", but rather that education was stricter and more encompassing than it is today.

I said in my prevoius post, I should have said "anything relevant" when referring to my request for examples.

Grains of sand is not relevant.

This request...

Can you explain a circumstance where being ignorant is better than being knowledgeable?  (One that doesn't ironically have to do with happiness or bliss...)

...should have included, "and is relevant."

Your 'grains of sand' or 'conversations all over all the time (omniscience)' are strawmen (or examples of reductio ad absurdum) as you claim to be refuting my request [a request infused with an argumentative position (and you know it)] by bringing up irrelevant positions.  You claim that these irrelevant examples 'refute' my argumentative request.  Or you claim, rather, that they are good examples for such a request.  I don't think that.

You asked for a circumstance where being ignorant is better than being knowledgeable.  I gave you multiple ones.

But, you could easily say that it is 'better' (actually maybe not 'better' but 'provides no benefit or deficiency') being ignorant of how many seconds until some random star dies, but that is irrelevant to what I am trying to point out.  Namely, that being educated is better than being ignorant (maybe I should always add the qualifier that the Tri/Quad system is better than the modern public school - which was a refutation of wheylous's implied point when he said "and that makes the previous system better how? ").  Your examples are straddling the line of reductio ad absurdum (that's latin) straw men (you build the case that they are relevant examples, which they are not.  You misrepresent my request; albeit I didn't correctly qualify it until later). 

So, instead of arguing about definitions...

Why not provide "relevant" examples of ignorance trumping knowldge?

"Do voters perform better in ignorance or in knowledge?"  (not trying to start an argument based on this, but just giving an example)

"Is speaking multiple languages beneficial to speaking one?"

I don't want you to cop out on responding to this, either.

You are just sad inside (or are exhibiting Amero-centrism).  It has been said over and over and over and over that multilingualism is beneficial. Until the 1960's you could not even get into Oxford (and many others) without already being proficient in Latin.

"Do people live better lives when they are knowledgable or when they are ignorant?"

"Is ignorance really a sin?"

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Aside from JJ, the point i wanted to make was that college used to be for already educated people.

Thomas Jefferson (William and Mary) and Alexander Hamilton (Kings, I think) had to translate the classics from Greek to Latin or from Latin to English in a different tense just to get into college.  Today, if you can get a state mandated vaccination and sign a contract for a loan, then you're in.

That is why I say that education used to be better than it is today.

They didn't offer remedial english or algebra or greek back then, you simply weren't accepted.

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Wheylous replied on Wed, Jun 13 2012 12:38 PM

I'll respond more if I need to later, but for now I wanted to say that I added "worth it" on purpose - sure, we could try to teach everyone quantum physics, but the cost would be prohibitive. That is one of the problems in our current system - administrators want everyone to know everything - we all want to be renaissance men. A market in education would better decide who needs what skills.

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"Aside from JJ, the point i wanted to make was that college used to be for already educated people. 

Thomas Jefferson (William and Mary) and Alexander Hamilton (Kings, I think) had to translate the classics from Greek to Latin or from Latin to English in a different tense just to get into college.  Today, if you can get a state mandated vaccinationand sign a contract for a loan, then you're in. 

That is why I say that education used to be better than it is today.

They didn't offer remedial english or algebra or greek back then, you simply weren't accepted."

I think the word you are looking for is exclusive. Higher learning use to be more exclusive then it is today.

'Men do not change, they unmask themselves' - Germaine de Stael

 

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Wheylous replied on Wed, Jun 13 2012 12:46 PM

implying that the system today is equal to or greater than the past system

I did nothing of the sort.

I said that it's your job to prove that the education of the past is better than that of the present. Which, of course, you can't do because there is no objective measure. Only the market can align employer need with student skills.

That's why we can't say that knowing 4 languages is better for the system than knowing 1. We might be able to get everyone to know 4 languages if we invest 10% of our GDP, but is it worth the cost? Of course, for the individual it's probably almost always better to know more if there were no costs incurred. But there are. We exist in scarcity of input resources, brain power, and time.

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That is one of the problems in our current system - administrators want everyone to know everything

Are you sure?  Specialization?  It seems that the "general education" requirements aren't what they used to be.  At my University, the people in the Education department are retards in economic theory.  They are only taught Keynes, Coase, and Bentham.  Yes, you read that right.

- we all want to be renaissance men.

or at least dilettantes, amirite?

A market in education would better decide who needs what skills.

Yes.  It actually becomes part of the division of labor and hence specialization.

That's why we can't say that knowing 4 languages is better for the system than knowing 1. We might be able to get everyone to know 4 languages if we invest 10% of our GDP, but is it worth the cost? Of course, for the individual it's probably almost always better to know more if there were no costs incurred. But there are. We exist in scarcity of input resources, brain power, and time.

If you forget that children were taught classics from about 4 to about 12.  Elementary school wasn't what we are used to.  It was more akin to college...

In saying this, you contest the worth of Jefferson speaking English, Italian, French, Greek, and Latin.  For the 'statesman' these are invaluable (I qualify statesman because it would mean next to nothing for the fast food cashier).  He translated works on economics for VA that the rest of the country didn't have for 20 more years (DeTracy). 

Also, your point of limited resources is flush with the fact that less people went to college 200 years ago.  Even  A.J. Nock points out that PhD's used to be a real challenge (not saying I'm up to it), but today they are given out like candy (and he was saying such in the 30's).

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I said that it's your job to prove that the education of the past is better than that of the present. Which, of course, you can't do because there is no objective measure. Only the market can align employer need with student skills.

I have recently been thinking that objectivism in society is not necessarily a bad thing.  Robert Nisbet makes good cases against universal application of subjectivism in Part III of The Present Age.

The Present Age: Progress and Anarchy in Modern America by Robert Nisbet http://files.libertyfund.org/files/876/0177_LFeBk.pdf

"Every War and Peace is in reality a text resembling a Rorschach inkblot test.  There is no ‘‘there’’ there in the purported book or event in history, institution, culture; only an almost infinitely diverse possibility of images formed by the reader or student of the ‘‘text.’’

...

"When the personalities of other human beings and their events, accomplishments, joys, tragedies, and accidents become impenetrable to whatever literary and artistic talents lie around, then, by all means, turn to the subjective; to one’s own little ego and assembled feelings. Explore it and them unceasingly, laying before readers every little detail of what one did, thought, felt, loved, hated, throughout one’s life; that is, from hateful toilet training to all the sturm und drang of middle-class life in the United States."

It is a mistake, in my opinion, to think that subjectivism can be applied to culture the same way that it can in oeconomics.  (I am aware of how much libertarians like to blur the line cause/effect, blah blah)

 
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Anenome replied on Wed, Jun 13 2012 4:58 PM

I find it surprising that anyone on these forums wouldn't accept, even without supporting evidence, that a market-based education system is and always will be superior to a government-run system.

Languages are just one aspect I threw out off-hand, though I'm sure that in a free-market system there would be a return to languages as well.

We live in a world where the left have a political interest in dumbing people down and removing them from the lessons of history, and indeed slanting history itself to support their political conclusions. While they bolster the idea of democracy and diminish the idea of the republic they also cut people off from latin where one could read the original sources on how horrible democracy in fact is.

While they bolster the idea of economic intervention, in the form of Keynes et al., they cut people off from learning competing economics theories, make economics as boring and technical as possible, same with math and have dumbed down logic and reasoning skills generally.

We live in a world where an college graduate with an english degree has no idea what a cumulative sentence is or how to explain a gerund, yet has been made to read marxist theory of literary interpretation.

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I find it surprising that anyone on these forums wouldn't accept, even without supporting evidence, that a market-based education system is and always will be superior to a government-run system.

I would not say that the government run system is better than what the market would create.  But, as the market weeds out the useless (or less useful) subjects for study, and quantifies them as the market would, there will still be a relatively objective, comparative, standard set for what the different schools have in common.  Everyone here knows this.  What profitable stays and what's not goes.

The Church ran the education system before the state did.  The Church taught theology/philosophy, etc.  Even mathematics, geometry, different languages in all aspects.  Theology and philosophy would likely not be taught in a practical market for they provide very little productive benefit.  Just as Plato said, only the already affluent would find it useful.  The IVY League would be the church/philosophy schools; the places where your degree is in thinking.

This trichotomy of things, useful market schools, theological/philosophical schools, and the things that are currently taught that are only useful to the state, is what I would think a decent measurment of how "good" the education system is would have to be and a way to compare it to the past.

 

The state, obviously, subsidises things that aren't useful (Schiff likes to use sociology, but I bet that advertisers and marketers care about it).

Languages are just one aspect I threw out off-hand, though I'm sure that in a free-market system there would be a return to languages as well.

I would assume that for international business, legal reasons, etc.  Languages would be taught.  I'm not sure about Greek and Latin, however.  They might only be taught at church schools.

I wonder if anthropology would be useful to big companies enough for it to be taught in school.  It's useful enough for CIA and DoD to research into it.

While they bolster the idea of economic intervention, in the form of Keynes et al., they cut people off from learning competing economics theories, make economics as boring and technical as possible, same with math and have dumbed down logic and reasoning skills generally.

Banks are responsible for Universities teaching Keynes too.  I wonder what economic theories would be the most useful for the market.  I wonder what business would promote Austrian economics..  JPMorgan owns Purdue National Corporation (for instance).  How involved do we think corporations and banks are in Gradute study programs or even curriculums today?

We live in a world where an college graduate with an english degree has no idea what a cumulative sentence is or how to explain a gerund, yet has been made to read marxist theory of literary interpretation.

This is what I am saying.  The trivium is English; grammar, logic, and rhetoric in that order.  But, I know English majors who have never heard the terms used to describe an education system.  For God's sake if you want to learn logic, you have to go take courses in the Philosoph dept. at a college, let alone being taught it when you are six years old.  Rhetoric is taught when you are headed to law school...The average educated 18th century teenager was as knowledgeable as some of our JDs.

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Anenome replied on Wed, Jun 13 2012 11:18 PM

One major thing that probably would be introduced from a young age in a free market system is programming as a form of applied math training--that is, as a basic skill which can augment any profession. This is one of the major emerging trends, applying computation to all other professions in its various forms, be it data mining, statistical analysis, a/b testing or the like. Possibilities are endless.

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