When I wrote my first post to this blog Dec. 29, 2009, Disruption is Coming, I committed to a post every week within the themes of the future, technology, and education. I held to that until May 6, 2012. My wife and I went on our first European vacation in that month and both disconnected from blogging and Twitter. Again in August, I only wrote one post and on Christmas break, skipped a week. This past summer I skipped six weeks of blogging – it was awesome. It would seem that blogging has become a bit of a chore for me and I’m having some difficulty with the commitment to write regularly. I guess after 171 posts, I’m struggling to find inspiring new things I want to write about. Perhaps I have ‘bloggers block’. This post is a think-out-loud on some concerns I have on my mind about the three themes for this blog.
The more I read about the future the more concerned I become. Technology is “miraculous” for sure, but there are disturbing trends that I think we are overlooking. Trends towards a jobless / workerless future that is hyper automated. The financial system of the world is bankrupt with countries creating digital money out of thin air – everyone knows this yet they/we ignore it hoping it will solve itself. The authors of Aftershock apparently predicted the crash of 2008 and talk about it getting worse in this decade. There is the disturbing trend to eliminate the middle class, concentrate more of the world’s wealth with the few, and increase the ranks of the poor. I am an optimist for the most part but technological disruption of work and the financial systems are both worrisome trends.
There are truly miraculous breakthroughs in technology aren’t there. Google’s driverless vehicles are amazing – who would’ve thought that to be possible? Have you ever wondered about the complexity of our society and the remarkable talent human beings have in design, construction, and invention? Next time you are in a commercial jet flying somewhere, pause and think about what is actually happening: you are flying through the air really fast in a very heavy chunk of metal and other materials. A computer is flying the machine – it can take off, fly, and land it. The pilot is really a ‘baby sitter’. I just saw on the news that there are now pilotless fighter jets and of course we all know about the 1000s of remote flight and autonomous drones. Or, ponder the smart phone in your hand and the marvel that is. Is it a phone, map/GPS, news team, communicator, music player, tomb of knowledge, writing instrument, photo album, calculator, teacher, camera, flashlight, Starbucks Card, Bible, planner, or what? It’s every thing housed in a solid state ‘brick’ with a screen. How is this possible? We live in truly amazing times. But, our machines are really starting to gain momentum in replacing humans in all sorts of occupations. Is this something we really want? Are the inventors of these capabilities intentionally heading us there or is it science and invention run amuck converging us on a future destination without regard to the consequences? I wonder…
Education, the rewiring of the human mind. Education over the past few hundred years has proven to be an accelerator for change. The technological disruptions I refer to are a result of an amplified, accelerated loop of learning, combined with machine learning and work, like never seen before. It’s interesting how some people refer to our education system as broken. I disagree! It may need better embrace modern tools and ways but our system continues to graduation very capable individuals who go on to fill a variety of roles in society, many inventing and creating the next wave of change. I think our education systems could use a heavy dose of ethics teaching. It is our future designers, scientists, and inventors who will continue to propel us to an uncertain future if they lack an ethical orientation towards their work and the future. As we increasingly infuse technology into learning and teaching, we ought to ensure kids and teachers are deeply committed to ethical thinking, citizenship, and social responsibility. The alternative would not bode well for the future.
That’s all for now. I wonder what I will write about next time and when that might be? Stay tuned…
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