If we use technology to build a system to educate all equally. Oh what a world that would be…

Any number of movies are based on the premise that the coming world will change radically based on the deployment of technology. A look back at literature shows that over the thousands of years of story tellers there have always been doom and gloom tales. The world, is coming to an end. In part of course because we, human beings, have done something. In the case of technology we end up creating a grand artificial intelligence that realizes the world is better off without us.

Luddites run to the hills forsaking all technology and living primitive lives such as we were intended to. But were we? The great speech, paraphrased from the movie Amadeus by Anton Salieri “why God have you given me ears to hear your voice but not the art to create it” is the antithetical position to the Luddites. Realizing there is more to the universe than you can create. Technology isn’t evil. Technology is simply the latest tool used by humans to advance our world.

Humans you see on their own aren’t able to effectively hunt. We have to be in a group and we don’t have the teeth or claws to catch much of anything. It is after all tools that make us unique in the food pyramid. Without the tools sharks, tigers and lions dominate the world and we simply run (and seldom if ever swim).

That said there are wonderful presentations of the evil of technology. I personally enjoy (although I am mired well back in the series right now and need to catch up) watching the show person of Internet. At first because it was a group of anti-heroes coming together to save people that had lost their way. This season (I am just starting) is all about fighting against bad people making an AI that is controlling humans? So in the beginning we are presented with good, allow humans to live without manipulation and save those that are threatened. Now we see the rise of evil technology that manipulates and controls the humans around it, and living on the planet. The thing about the show is that evil people are the ones who loosed the evil technology and that is the critical point.

clip_image002Bad people are going to do bad things. There is in the end nothing we can do about people turning towards bad. Except educate as many people as we can that the world is a place of beauty that should be preserved. In the end I believe heroes rise not because they were born to be heroes. I believe heroes rise because they realize without them the situation will go from bad to worse. That if they act at least 1 person will live. Every life matters in the end. Every person has value.

I am not espousing a utopian view of the universe. That technology will help humans band together and become one group of people. I am not that naive. I realize that in order to change the world you have to first educate everyone. That all of us must be able to look across the street, or across the world and see someone with ideas, thoughts and dreams that is in the end just like us. That comes from education. From helping everyone equally receive and act upon the gifts they are given. Who knows where Mozart lies in a world where everyone gets an equal shot.

In my book The Syncverse I talked about creating an educational model the Eduverse. Some of the ideas In the book have come already. Ted Talks and Khan Academy are great examples of shared education. The rest of the Syncverse will come over time as well. It’s about mobility and supporting students. Great teachers recording lessons that can be used by teachers around the world. Not mind you great minds only, but actually great teachers who like Socrates can change the minds of those around them. It is the concept of equal education for all. It makes the value of educators much greater than it is today, which is probably a pretty good thing. It also reduces the inequity between those who have and those who have not. Want to pay 20,000 a year for a private school, no problem. But the education your child gets will be no better than that received by the poorest child in the poorest part of the poorest city in the world. A world that is in the end equal.

Salieri had it wrong. It wasn’t a deity but education he needed. He was an exceptional composer in the end. He was painted as the villain in the movie because you needed an anti-Mozart. But perhaps Salieri wasn’t a composer in his heart. Perhaps he was something else. The lack of a system that supported educational experimentation forcing him to a path.

Imagine the technology that could burst forth from this world with 7 billion minds thinking about problems. With 7 billon minds able to throw brain cells at problems. Today we use mesh computing to solve massive problems. But computers were designed by humans. The human mind remains the best computer ever. So let’s start using technology to build the super human computer mind.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.