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Six scenarios for the Technological Singularity

Two articles related to the Singularity Summit have appeared on preparing for the Technological Singularity:

First, Jamais Cascio writes on a Metaverse Roadmap Overview:

In this work, along with my colleagues John Smart and Jerry Paffendorf, I sketch out four scenarios of how a combination of forces driving the development of immersive, richly connected information technologies may play out over the next decade. But what has struck me more recently about the Roadmap scenarios is that the four worlds could also represent four pathways to a Singularity. Not just in terms of the technologies, but — more importantly — in terms of the social and cultural choices we make while building those technologies.

The scenarios explored are:

  1. Virtual Worlds: the combination of simulation and intimate (highly personalized) technologie
  2. Mirror Worlds: the intersection of simulation and externally-focused technologies
  3. Augmented Reality: the collision of augmentation and external technologies
  4. Lifelogging: brings together augmentation and intimate technologies to record the experiences and histories of objects and users (what Cascio refers to as “participatory panopticon“)

Read more at Open the Future

Second, Bryan Gardiner writes on the Wired blog that Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, multi-millionaire Facebook backer, and the president of Clarium Capital Management, a global macro hedge fund, is devising a Singularity-aware investment strategy based on two, polarized scenarios in a near-future world where machines will become smarter than humans:

  1. Negative scenario: where machines won’t need us and humans become expendable
  2. Positive scenario: where humans would still have a positive outlook

Regardless of the two scenarios, Gardiner points out that the volatile booms and busts over recent years are indicative of the market’s attempts to align itself with near-Singularity transformations:

In essence, he argues that each of these booms represent different bets on the singularity, or at least on various things that are proxies for it, like globalization. What’s more, we’ve been seeing them now for over 30 years.

The markets are catching on to accelerating change. Why not bet on the Singularity in our schools as well?

A New Paradigm of Knowledge Production

My doctoral dissertation, A New Paradigm of Knowledge Production in Minnesota Higher Education: A Delphi Study, is available for purchase online or for online preview:

SPECIAL:

Download now and save! For the month of September, the PDF edition is available for download at the discounted price of $30.00 $15.00 (50% off)!

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Quick poll on 21st century education

I sent an email out to a few folks with a short question:

Which trend will have the greatest impact on education in the 21st century?

[ ] Globalization
[ ] Rise of the knowledge society
[ ] Accelerating change
[ ] Other: _______

The results will be posted below as I receive them. If you did not receive an invitation, but would like to participate, please email me at moravec@umn.edu with your response.

I will update this response summary over the next couple evenings:

responses.PNG

(64 responses recorded as of last update)

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Top ten global trends that force us to rethink education

ten-days-sm.pngWe open our ten days of top ten lists with a list of global trends that force us to rethink education. What does the future hold for today’s students in the 21st Century? In a future driven by globalization, knowledge, innovation, and accelerating change, education will need to be re-missioned to meet new needs:

  1. A global, knowledge-based society: Ubiquitous and ever-opening access to information creates a need for skilled workers who can transform information to meaningful, new knowledge.
  2. The innovation-based society is emerging: Successful members of society will create innovative- and contextually-relevant applications for new knowledge.
  3. Knowledge and innovation-based jobs are moving to India and China: Western companies have already learned that it makes sense to move industrial jobs offshore. Today, many companies are beginning to move their creativity and R&D jobs to markets with lower labor costs.
  4. Personal success in the innovation society will require novelty at the individual level: Standardization and centralization at the workplace will give way to individualization and decentralization. Employees will be viewed and rewarded for their creative inputs as individuals, not for the roles they could play as proceduralized automatons.
  5. Technology changes human relations: Advances in technology allow people to interact in new ways that were previously obscured by geographical, economic or social boundaries.
  6. Jobs that exist today will not necessarily exist when today’s students finish school: Why do we insist on preparing students for jobs that existed before they were born instead of for jobs that will exist when they finish school?
  7. An ageing population: Advances in sanitation, nutrition and medicine have extended life expectancy in many countries. The life span, about 127, is now the object of research and development. Should people be helped to live 2,500 years, or even “forever”?
  8. Globalization: Tom Friedman is right. The world is flat. The phenomenon of globalization compels students and schools to compete on a global scale.
  9. Change is accelerating: The doubling time of information is now under one year. In 20 years or less doubling time may drop to a few weeks. If our cultural institutions don’t change at least as fast, what will happen to our senses of identity and security? How can we become situated in the future as much as the present or past?
  10. The Singularity is almost here: Human-surpassing intelligence will guarantee that the future is far more different than we can imagine. Are we supplying students with the creative skills required to thrive in a future that demands routine human creativity?

Future of Education conference

The University of Manitoba is hosting a free, virtual Future of Education Online Conference that will end June 8.  Live presentations will be archived, and discussion is encouraged via the “U of M” Learning Technologies Centre Moodle site:

http://ltc.umanitoba.ca/moodle/course/view.php?id=12

From the organizers’ description of the conference:

Tumultuous change is creating new opportunities for schools, colleges, universities, and corporations to rethink their approaches to teaching and learning. Many buzzwords are used to describe the change: globalization, web 2.0, the world is flat, the wisdom of crowds, and the long tail.

What exists beyond the hype? What is happening to education? What will be the shape of education in the future? Answering these questions is no easy task – the change drivers have not yet settled sufficiently to reveal a clear path forward. For academics, researchers, and leaders, it is important to begin exploring the trends emerging and potential implications and directions forward. The Future of Education is a free online conference exploring trends impacting education – K-12, higher education, and corporation training.

This could be great!

Inside Higher Ed: Time for US to wake up

Inside Higher Ed has an article on the decrease of political and financial support for American education relative to global competitors. Citing research by John A. Douglass at UC Berkeley, the article states:

Douglass says that other nations are using government policy to match or exceed U.S. participation rates and to more fully integrate higher education into national economic and social policy. “They have many problems of their own,” according to Douglass, “but it is the political will and trajectory of their efforts that offers a sharp contrast to the U.S.” He notes that for the first time since the late 1800s, America no longer has the world’s highest rate of young students going on to a postsecondary institution.

Furthermore, China and other nations are building hundreds of new schools, each aiming to become the next Harvard…

Frost & Sullivan: Anti-IT outsourcing legislation likely to fail

Article link: Anti-outsourcing legislation unlikely as global outsourcing of IT jobs gains momentum

The German Innovations Report published a summary of an analysis on IT outsourcing by the consulting company Frost & Sullivan. The trend of outsourcing IT jobs from developed countries to less developed states cannot be stopped through legislation. If a country were to impose limitations, all others without such laws would have a market advantage.

The article continues: Moreover, to be effective, any legislative action to protect IT jobs in developed regions of the world will have to be part of a global alliance of developed governments – an unlikely scenario. Ultimately, developed countries will have focus on education and innovation to protect their IT workforce.