Friday, January 16, 2015

Considering my public responsibility

It occurs to me that I have some responsibilities to the public, and this post is meant to address those of which I'm aware in as plain language as possible, which means there will be no math in this post.

The intention of this post is to inform, and is an expression of my opinion. And I am NOT a mathematician and am not presenting myself as a mathematical expert. I think that's important to emphasize. Nothing in this post should be construed as legal guidance nor an expression of a legal opinion.

I consider myself to just be some guy who found some math.

And I think it's important but that's my opinion.

To me the best case scenario would be you find something mathematical you think is important and you send it to the experts, who are mathematicians. If it is important then I firmly believe that it's their job to act on it.

However, I am not in a position to make anything happen in that regard. So yes, I can send it, or try to send it, but can't make anything happen as a result as that is up to other people.

It's their decision.

And I can say that I have sent various findings of mine to mathematicians, and to my knowledge they have not acted on that information as I expected.

But that behavior in my opinion has not impacted me negatively. In fact, I probably benefited from it in multiple ways, including extended time to continue research with little competition in areas that I opened up.

So an important thing to do here is note my conflict of interest, with what may be seen to be the public good.

And it's not clear to me how I might have resolved this situation in the past.

It's not completely clear how to resolve it now.

It is important that I inform about my conflict of interest.

I believe I had little reason to be concerned with recognition by mathematicians, except as a responsibility to the public, and I do believe I've made good faith efforts in that regard and continue to make such efforts.

Mathematics might be profitable in and of itself with savvy efforts in that direction, but that is not a path that interests me greatly. Recognition from mathematicians is irrelevant to me, and I like to emphasize I'm not a mathematician so it has no career impact. Potential mathematical prizes pail in comparison to what I might make in other directions. And recognition could have brought potential pressure to spend time with mathematicians, which I have no intention of doing.

Actual mathematicians are just potential competition. It's better for me if they keep their distance.

By "mathematician" in general I mean a person who has a degree in mathematics. That does not necessarily apply to someone who is interested in mathematics. I am specifically talking about those academically trained in a mathematical speciality.

By noting competition I am pointing out the obvious, as it makes sense that people with specialized training and interest in mathematics could have competitive advantage over me. Potentially I might have found some collaborative relationship with someone so trained but that did not happen. For me that turned out well.

Of far greater benefit to me has been the ability to pile up results. Over time that is extremely more valuable in many ways. Today I have far greater potential stature in human history than I might have had with early recognition, especially if that had occurred a decade ago and I'd faced competition for my results.

It is my desire that this situation is resolved to the benefit of humanity as quickly as possible. And I am increasing my efforts to make that happen.

Decided to make this information public because I think it is contrary to what many might think. And others might behave differently believing that I was somehow worsened by the situation or greatly at a disadvantage by it, when in actuality it has greatly helped me.

James Harris

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