A few quotes that have my attention today. The first an from an old, dead, smart Greek guys. The middle on from an old, dead, smart nun. The last one from an old, alive, smart (but scary) American guy:
And what is my sort? you will ask. I am one of those who are very willing to be refuted if I say anything which is not true, and very willing to refute any one else who says what is not true, and quite as ready to be refuted as to refute-I for I hold that this is the greater gain of the two, just as the gain is greater of being cured of a very great evil than of curing another. For I imagine that there is no evil which a man can endure so great as an erroneous opinion about the matters of which we are speaking and if you claim to be one of my sort, let us have the discussion out, but if you would rather have done, no matter-let us make an end of it.
The argument is conducted in a spirit of inquiry and love and truth. If, in the course of the discussion, one disputant sees that the opponent’s view is true and that which he has advanced is false, he may be justly said to have won the argument because he has gained truth, which, he now sees, his opponent had at the start
– Sister Miriam Joseph, The Trivium
Imagine if this is the way people you knew looked at being proved wrong in an argument…
The process of automation that began in England two hundred years ago—and continues today at an ever accelerating pace (as per the Law of Accelerating Returns)—eliminates jobs at the bottom of the skill ladder and creates new ones at the top of the skill ladder. Hence increasing investment in education. But what happens when the skill ladder extends beyond the abilities of the bulk of the human population, and ultimately beyond the ability of any human, educational innovations notwithstanding? The answer we can predict from the Law of Accelerating Returns is that the ladder will nonetheless continue to reach ever higher, implying that humans will need to become more capable by other means. Education can only accomplish so much. The only way for the species to keep pace will be for humans to gain greater competence from the computational technology we have created, that is, for the species to merge with its technology.
Not everyone will find this prospect appealing, so the Luddite issue will broaden in the twenty‐first century from an anxiety about human livelihoods to one concerning the essential nature of human beings. However, the Luddite movement is not likely to fare any better in the next century than it has in the past two. it suffers from the lack of a viable alternative agenda.
– Ray Kurzweil, The Age of Spiritual Machines
This last one is timely with Transcendence opening tomorrow. I agree with Kurzweil on the “why” education is the way it is and that it needs to change to meet modern needs. Not sure I want to wire up a computer to my brain as the answer to the problem though)