It’s long been knows that to maximize a persons potential at a complex task, training should start at a very young age, while the brain is still developing.
There was a psychologist who set out to demonstrate this by training his daughter at a young age to become a chess wizard. His experiment was a perfect demonstration, and his daughter became one of the worlds top champions.
I’ve been dicking around on the piano for the last few years, and occasionally it comes to mind what a missed opportunity my grade-school music classes were. The teachers were unskilled, untrained, inept, and sometimes outright stupid. They considered music class a throwaway make work babysitting job, and just had us sing along to row-row-row your boat.
Schools also have the policy to not segregate the smartest students together. Grouping smart kids dramatically increases the smart kids development, but it’s at the expense of the crowd. Having smart kids among stupid kids makes the stupid kids smarter. So average administrators who identify with average students adopt a short sighted socialist policy believing it to be for the common good.
But in the long run it stunts the greater good. It is the outliers who make the big contributions to society.
Public schools also simply don’t have the resources to maximize the potential of their students. The wealthy know about both the limitations and importance of school resources, and so go to extreme ends to get their children into the best possible schools.
I’m told that the public schools that I went to in Canada were above average to quite good. But I didn’t have a private music tutor who could push me to learn in ways appropriate to my particular learning style, always challenging me just above my current ability. Imagine if I had! I’d be fluent in most musical styles and be able to improvise complex arrangements on many instruments, or hear a song and reproduce it and add to it, playing by ear.
The lost opportunity is a genuine tragedy. How is the lost opportunity any different than if I had developed such a talent and lost it all due to a violent head injury later in life?
You can take a group of 30 random children, seat them in desks from 9am to 3:45 pm and teach them all course work. That’s not against the law – in fact it is demanded by law. Teachers in my grade-school admitted to me that their job was little more than babysitting. It’s outmoded, inefficient, and tragic. Criminally tragic. Imagine as an adult being forced against your will to waste your time and your future?
Instead we need highly specialized teaching, so that developing minds are engaged to learn at a level constantly adjusted to be just above their current ability. In subjects that are not make-work throwaway useless to their future actions. Not everyone needs to learn algebra.
We insist on standardized testing to ensure that our children become jacks of all trades and masters of none. And we all of us, individually and collectively, suffer for it.
Kids should have the opportunities to start learning meditation, chi-kung, programming, sales, social engineering, hypnosis, biology, and other highly specialized skill sets and knowledge pools. They need access to the best possible training starting at the youngest possible ages. That can’t be done in our current system of having underpaid and inept educators demanding identical rote responses from a randomly associated group.
Course work needs to be highly individualized and fluid, and specializations need to begin at young ages.
We don’t need 100 teachers each earning 150k per year per classroom of 30 students to accomplish this. We can instead use virtual classrooms.
As of now it isn’t until college that students are segregated according to ability. It’s very difficult to get into exclusive music or dance or business or science schools. Aptitude and sustained diligent effort must be proven, often along with supporting social characteristics. We can segregate young children such that each one is taught at just above his ability, in the most interesting and challenging ways. We can do this with virtual classrooms.
VR tech will continue to improve, but even today goggles and fast internet connection are good enough to closely mimic the traditional classroom. We could have one expert teacher paid 1/4 million per year to lecture to 1000 students in a VR class, pay programmers and educators millions to design learning games, similar in principle to what we already have, such as typing-tutor game, or guitar hero. We can have individual tutors rated publicly, and available for private and group sessions.
Different educational systems could compete in the open market, by having a household allowance to spend towards private schools of your choice. Results could be tracked over short to ultra long term. Over a long timeline meaningful results could be correlated for childhood education and it’s relation to lifetime achievement and satisfaction. Who cares if you got an A+ in math in grade two, if you died an alcoholic at 40?
The increased economic output of a more productive tax base would more than make up for the expense of re-organizing and continually optimizing a publicly funded free market of educational systems.
Kids could still show up at school, and still play kick-ball at recess. There would still be shared activities in meat-space. School would still function as the social hub of the children’s communities.
But not the only hub. Each child would spend most of his learning time in VR classes.
Society could leapfrog into a next generation – a version 2.0. This would be a dramatic influence on all parts of our lives. We could maximize our individual and collective potential.
We would achieve orders of magnitude more.
And education towards job performance is not the only goal to maximize. Not everyone is an outlier – most people are destined to be consumers, not producers. The education system can prepare people for maximizing personal and collective happiness as well. It can prepare people to contribute to each other in a service economy of helping each other.
Long ago we realized that a food surplus gave people the free time to pursue cultural interests; you can’t subsidize a community of abstract impressionists in a hunter gatherer society.
As AI and robots automate more of what humans were required for, we will have more options than to either program the toothpaste making machines or starve in a hovel. And slacking off being fed marshmallows by Jeeves the robot while our hands are busy with the game controller doesn’t have to be the third option.
We can paint each others nails, give each other massages, and service each other socially in endless meat-space and virtual ways. Google and Facebook can morph their cloud AI infrastructure to monitor our personal satisfaction and tease out what works to increase personal and collective satisfaction. The consumer mentality can be guided into click-bait and farmville type addictive activities that lead to increasing Google’s and Facebook’s profits through increased long term productivity. Henry Ford wanted his workers to afford his cars. Google wants society to prosper.
Some of us will prosper through becoming the next stoned Willie Nelson, and some of us will prosper by inventing what amounts to the next blue light LED. The more curious and talented can be guided from the youngest ages to excel to the maximum of their potential, and the less curious can still be guided well.
Then we can all finally have our flying cars, transcontinental hyperloops, and vacations to the wind tunnels in the moon where we can plug our spinal taps into Pterodactyl suits and hone our aerobatic skills. And meet our surgically perfected mate of the month, who trained from a young age to achieve the 10th level black-belt in 10 erotic arts.
All of this becomes obvious if you take up piano at a late age.
AI is going to play an ever increasing part in decision making.
If executives are short sighted, AI algorithms will not be. Statistics don’t actually lie, and correlation is closely tied to causation. Executives who ignore AI will be replaced by it, and AI will discover deep patterns in vast fields of data and explore all outcomes of millions of chess moves ahead to help us navigate our best potentials.
We’ve already passed the singularity – you can’t learn fast enough to keep up with new tech. There will be AI and bio-engineered intelligences, that even if not sentient, will have informational processing power far beyond our human ability visualize. If the borg looks on us kindly, all ships will rise with the tide.
Elon Musk is involved with democratizing AI. He realizes that those without access to AI will essentially be poor.