A prominent Silicon Valley investor offers Eleven Reasons To Be Excited About The Future of Technology, ones that “will continue to transform the world and improve human welfare”.
Some of his choices, like self-driving cars and virtual reality are pretty obvious. Others like artificial intelligence and computerized medicine are slow progressions that have potential to go on the very bad side of exciting. Clean energy is pretty much essential to the continuation of life on this planet.
Then we arrive at his number 8, High-Quality Online Education, and his crystal ball clouds over.
While college tuition skyrockets, anyone with a smartphone can study almost any topic online, accessing educational content that is mostly free and increasingly high-quality.
Encyclopedia Britannica used to cost $1,400. Now anyone with a smartphone can instantly access Wikipedia. You used to have to go to school or buy programming books to learn computer programming. Now you can learn from a community of over 40 million programmers at Stack Overflow. YouTube has millions of hours of free tutorials and lectures, many of which are produced by top professors and universities.
The quality of online education is getting better all the time. For the last 15 years, MIT has been recording lectures and compiling materials that cover over 2000 courses.
This writer1 is working from a warped, very traditional vision of school and teaching that is firmly rooted of the past and not at all something to be excited about for the future.
A view that the process of learning is simply the transmission of information from one source to another. That teaching at the college level should be nothing more than lectures and assigning chapters from expensive textbooks. That human teachers make no difference in the process of learning and can easily be replaced with smartphones, Wikipedia, and YouTube. Making college cheaper with, he assumes, at least, similar results.
This not at all exciting and should not be part of anyone’s future.
Now about those flying cars I’ve been promised since childhood…
And, despite help from Audrey Watters, I wonder, is blockchain really something to be excited about?