Physics of the Future: Future of Education

What I’ve learned from reading Physics of the Future by Michio Kaku:

So Wednesday I talked about the jobs that are becoming extinct. But there are so many jobs that are still needed. There are so many jobs that are going unfilled because no one is qualified for them–because we are not educating ourselves or our children to be ready for any kind of real job.

Machines may be able to take over a lot of repetitive factory jobs, but they are incapable of doing anything that requires common sense and critical thinking. (Machines are not even as smart as an insect). Unfortunately our schools are not really preparing us for anything. They treat every child the same and teach every child the exact same thing, completely ignoring their natural talents and interests. When you treat everyone the same you know what you end up with? A bunch of completely unremarkable average young adults who have no idea what they can offer to the world–and even if they do know what they would like to do, they have not had the opportunity to expand on or develop those skills unless they somehow took their education into their own hands.

I watched a really interesting video on the internet: “Digital Aristotle” about how education might (and hopefully will) change in the future. Basically from the start (though I would say after age 6 or 7 or even a little later, when the child is starting to be able to grasp abstract concepts) the child learns through tutorials on the internet. The internet is the child’s teacher, choosing the next lessons based on interest, comprehension, and learning style. Every subject there is would have hundreds of possible lessons to explore, and it would be like each child had his or her own personal tutor–as the video points out, like back in the days of Aristotle and Alexander the Great.

And so maybe someday soon the job of teacher will also become extinct. But there will still be a need for hands-on learning, so maybe new teachers can actually take students to places to experience different jobs–physically programming things, creating things, building things. The teacher can actually guide children and even adults, because an education system like this can be lifelong, instead of standing in front talking at them about things they could care less about.

(Though I am not worried for my job–either of them, actually–because people will still need caretakers for their children, and young children still need constant hands-on exploration to learn and are not benefited as much from staring at screens, and because I feel the world will value creative efforts like stories, art, etc. even more in the future)


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