A university professor’s uninformed claim that the Python software program can 'predict the future' has caused new embarrassment for the government in Iran.

A one-minute video emerged Wednesday of a March 28 meeting between President Ebrahim Raisi and academics allegedly in the “top one percent of world scientists” during which one of the participants makes hugely uninformed remarks while the president listens with interest and takes notes.

The meeting was apparently organized by the ministry of science, research and technology and over 100 of the “top one percent [Iranian] scientists” attended.

University professor, Davood Domiri-Ganji, suggests to the president that the “Python universal software” and “Python global network” could be used to predict the future in the fields of medicine, military, and economic developments such as the growth of inflation “in the next four years”.

The mistake does not appear to be a slip of the tongue as Domiri mentions it several times and even claims that there is artificial intelligence “inside” the human body.

University professor Davood Domiri-Ganji

Domiri-Ganji’s major gaffe, apparently mistaking the Python computer programming language for artificial intelligence, has caused an uproar in the media and social media, even pushing the word Python to the top of Persian language hashtags on Twitter.

“These vulgar remarks angered many because everyone knows that Python is a simple programming language … but not everyone knows what inflation is or what shapes the rate of foreign currency exchange,” Sadegh Alhosseini, a prominent economist, said in a tweet while warning about the consequences of giving such uninformed individuals a role in policymaking.

Domiri-Ganji, is a mechanical engineer, a former head of Amol University of Special Modern Technologies and the National Elites Foundation of Amol. He is currently a professor and research deputy at Babol’s Noshirvani University. According to Iranian media, Domiri-Ganji has close ties with the hardliner political establishment and media. According to his Google Scholar page, he has published dozens of scientific articles.

The issue is not just the uninformed suggestion of the said professor, former Iran newspaper journalist Ehsan Bodaghi who dubbed the incident as “Python-Gate” said on Twitter. “Even worse is the fact that there wasn’t even one person among all those ‘top one percent of world scientists’ to know what Phyton is and to point out that it was nonsense.” 

Bodaghi has also pointed out that this incident and other cases when hardliners have made hugely uniformed remarks, or carried out scientifically baseless projects with government money, are the result of involving ideology and politics in technical and scientific matters. “The outcome is the circumstances we are witnessing now,” he wrote.

One of the cases that Bodaghi and many others have mentioned is the claim of invention of Corona virus detector in early 2020 by the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC). The machine which was presented to the public by the IRGC Commander-in-Chief Hossein Salami in April 2020 at a televised ceremony appeared to be only a fake bomb detection device that was first sold by James McCormick, a British fraudster, to Iraqi security forces.

“There are still many honorable, knowledgeable, patriotic and ethical individuals in Iranian universities but in a symbolic manner, Python-Gate is indicative of the decline that has overtaken universities,” said Mohammad Fazeli, a former professor of sociology at Shahid Beheshti University who was expelled for political reasons in a tweet Wednesday.

“No-one knows of this decline and is aware of the procedures leading to its existence better than academics themselves,” he added. Coining the word “Pythonism” to refer to uninformed and pseudoscientific theories that are put to action by the authorities, Fazeli warned that such theories are gaining traction and forming the basis of policymaking in Iran.

Python-Gate has also sparked a host of jokes on social media. “One should use Python to look at the next four years to see if these mullahs are going to be gone by then or not,” one tweeter wrote

More News