Approximately specific

Betsy inadvertently provided me with a good blog topic when she noted that “Okay Google” doesn’t have a very good understanding of the word approximate.

During the lead-up to the series of winter storms we have had this winter, we have taken advantage of our Google Home system to check on the weather. Which has often led to the question”Okay Google, how much will it snow today.”

The Google answer is invariably “Approximately 2.7 inches” or “Approximately 0.01 inches, or some other decimalized amount. But those numbers are aproximate. Those numbers are exact, or precise, at least.

Which leads to the fact that decimals and metric numbers are almost invariably precision items, while imperial measurements and whole units are flexible enough to be estimates and approximates.

But are fractions approximate or exact. After some discussion I came up with the decision that fractions are approximates with smaller denominators, and more precise with larger ones.

So what do you think? how inherent is approximation and precision to various numerical measuring units, or fractions?

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