Hidden Figures: Could the Human and Technological Primates Coexist?

Oleksiy Fesenko

February 1-st, 2019

(About Film Hidden Figures (2016) directed by Theodore Melfi and written by Melfi and Allison Schroeder had been viewed and discussed in American House in Kiev on February 1, 2019)

The time and the scene of the film took place in the 1960-s when cordoned off NASA decided to factor in a loss of talent pull. I like two episodes in this film which describe the qualities that we may need in the future.

The movie starts us off from a scene where the gifted Afro-American girl Katherine Goble had ushered in a new era of desegregated schools in the USA. She is a mathematician and she is solving an equation (picture 1) "If the product of two terms is zero then common sense says at least one of the two terms has to be zero to start with." The further development of this episode had also been conjuring up the worlds, of Americans, Afro-Americans and Clever Machines.

What or who are the hidden figures in this film?

Are they the computers in the skirts or computers challenging the future of any competition?

If computers are the purpose of technological progress, how do humans add up?

Or, is it possible that in the future, the humans would not be able to add up, as according to John Maynard Keynes “In the long run, we are all dead.”

What if at list both the humans and computers should not be the zero from the beginning? Should both of them be human? Should both of them add up? I think that anything human can add up: Desegregated schools, the intellect in the skirts, the processing speed in iron and glass or even the affirmative action as a product of the post-desegregation human judgment.

The second episode had demonstrated Serial Position Effect when Mary Jackson asked His Honor Judge “you of all people should understand the importance of being first.” She had started talking with the judge about the importance of “a primacy effect.”

So I recognize this film as a spot where the human primates and the technological primates can coexist by co-working.


McLeod, S. (2008). Serial Position Effect. Retrieved from https://www.simplypsychology.org/primacy-recency.html

© Copyright 2019 Oleksiy Fesenko