elemtilas wrote: ↑
22 Jul 2019 05:27
Khemehekis wrote: ↑
21 Jul 2019 04:55
In 1987, Sir Arthur C. Clarke wrote a book titled July 20, 2019: Life in the 21
The fiftieth anniversary of the Apollo Moon Landing was chosen to mark the date in the future in which Sir Arthur speculated about what life would be like, well, today.
Good timing! And good to see you back, even if just for a moment!
Thanks! And when I posted to share this book, I saw a notification on my lifespeeding thread (a response from you, no less!), a thread I had totally forgotten about! So sorry! I've got to get back on that thread!
It is indeed a mildly interesting book. Predictions vague enough to be interpreted any way the future reader might want. Entertainingly written for the contemporary audience while being quite humorous for the future audience who happens to pick the thing up in a rummage sale or used book shop 30 odd years after publication.
I find it simply a fascinating book. I've gotten more than a few of the lexical items to be included in Kankonian from it. The predictions don't seem too Barnumish/horoscopic to me. Not even Howe & Strauss' writing about the Fourth Turning seems like a horoscope; as much as many fans say their predictions were "spot on", so many Howe & Strauss predictions look not only falsifiable, but now falsified
, to me.
Sadly, like all futurist genre writing, it's hit or miss on just about everything. Clarke's "future" (our present) is still cast in the mold of 1960s futurism, marked by robotic humans and human AIs.
Yes, the AI's and everything-O-matic was a very Jetsonsesque touch. Clarke just stopped short of predicting the Singularity with all his AI-ery.
If only he could have predicted the moral decay (no, more than decay, but rather the irrational rejection of the good, the beautiful and the true in favour of the dark, the chaotic and the equivocal) and social dystopia in stead.
You mean like goth culture and gangsta rap? Or more like smear-campaign politics and the rise of Donald Trump? I sort of knew things would be headed in a terrible, Trumpian direction since many years ago. To quote the song "Walls Fall Down" from The Bittersweet Generation:
They tell me this world is improving, but I’m just not seeing it yet
We ain’t seen nothing yet
Are you ready, are you set?
We’re going to see how bad it’s going to get
And things will get worse
A phase they have to go through first
Before they can improve
Into something like you’ve
Never imagined, but that will be paradise
Very nice, a new roll of the dice, after blood and sacrifice and paying the price!
And, dammit! We still don't have the flying cars we were promised by the 1950s futurists! Why have you abandoned us, George Jetson!?
I actually read an Amazon review on The Fourth Turning
with a recurring theme of how the author thought we'd all have flying cars by now, and exactly why said author was wrong.
Very frequently, hands-on courses offered. You just can't learn to do venipuncture or a new surgical procedure by looking at a screen.
Yes . . . in fields like medicine, this will always be important, even if it's just a paramedic doing CPR on a dummy or a dentist working with a typodont.
Teach Yourself Avantimannish
Sir Arthur C. Clarke writes that schools will exist by telepresence, instead of everyone being physically present in a classroom. Folks will be able to make themselves comfortable!
In this, he was right. Though only in part. E-learning courses are the natural evolution of the distance learning afforded by the correspondence school.
Maybe Clarke never knew about correspondence schools? Lifeschooling certainly dates back to the 19th century, and was well enough known in the early 20th to be lampooned by humourists, so I'm surprised. Apart from formal correspondence schools, people could attend chatauquas or public lectures; "self educators" were a popular genre of published matter since the early to mid 19th century.
! I'd heard of Chautauqua, didn't know it involved teaching as well as entertainment.
And then we see articles like this one
. Factory jobs haven't actually gone away.
Although you've got to notice the part of the article that says the percentage of the non-agricultural workforce in factory jobs has greatly decreased.
Of that model of schooling, I'd say Clarke is engaging in slightly deceptive focus. Learning to control your behaviour and to absorb facts by rote may incidentally be beneficial for Herr Preussenfabrikinhaber's working minions, but it also has its positive effects. Social skills, ability to focus on a variety of tasks. Learning by rote is not a bad thing, when applied rationally. I've been forever grateful that multiplication tables were taught by rote. I am not mathematically inclined in the least, but when it comes to basic numeracy, because I don't actually have to sit down with pen and paper or calculator app to figure out how to do 6x7. The answer is "just there".
Yes, it's nice to drum these in, but they can be taught better than it was in the day when Abraham Lincoln went to school. Schoolhouse Rock was invented when a mother said her son (or was it an aunt said her nephew?) could remember the words to all the songs on the radio, but couldn't remember his multiplication tables. And thus did Xers begin learning multiplication with "Four-legged Zoo" and "Little Twelvetoes".
The problem arises when education systems rely too heavily on rote memorisation and for too long. This I know is a problem in some Asian school systems. Any student that can regurgitate facts will do excellently on exams that require regurgitated answers. Application and analysis --- those become impossible tasks for him!
In my high school days, I had a number of preppy classmates in AP and Honors classes (a large proportion of them Asian-American, in fact -- Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese) who crammed in memorized facts like this. Quite a lot of them were unknowledgeable about common knowledge not covered in the California education curriculum (not knowing what the Andromeda Strain was, for instance). My classmate Mitch (Sicilian, by the way, not Asian) who said his "great idea" for learning the meanings of his vocabulary words for English class was to memorize a phrase to go along with the word, and asked me if it was a good method. I told him -- quite frankly -- that it was a terrible
method: to learn a word, one has to really get the feeling
for what it means. Best by being exposed to as many uses of the word in context as possible.
Instead, the Prussian system
is by and large dominant today. This has gotten worse as Millennials entered school. Millennial teens still grouse about the authoritarian nature of school (including restrictions on when and how many times they can use the restroom!) and the very un-teen-like early starting hours for school, while Boomer, Joneser and Gen-X adults still mouth insistences that school needs to prepare kids for the "real world", and post-HS Millennials are still in shell shock from their bad experiences in K-12 schools. (And no, Millennials didn't turn into the deferential social authoritarians who like and are well adapted to the K-12 school system as Howe & Strauss predicted, either.) While adult education is an option, people don't really do lifeschooling -- yet.
Every teen has groused about those factors since schooling became common. We certainly groused. Thankfully they didn't restrict bathroom use --- unless it's obvious to the teacher you're just a malingerer.
Check out this article:
https://www.scarymommy.com/kids-bathroo ... IoHXF4qSYs
The problem with schools preparing kids for "the real world" is a basic misunderstanding of what school is for. School never prepared children for the real world, and they still don't. School is designed with three basic purposes in mind. First and foremost is the State coopts the parents' basic function of being parent. This is good, because parenting styles vary too wildly and many parents disagree with secular values or don't know how to teach them properly, so it's best if the State takes over this function and as early in life as possible. Second is the injection of fact. Not only "neutral" facts like 6x7 and the ABC, but culturally desirable facts (such as "Black History Month" or "family diversity studies"); facts that the State finds useful for programming its future voters. Third is the preparation of the child, not for the blue collar factory jobs of the 1950s, or even white collar jobs, but rather for the grey collar jobs of the service sector. We see this with the focus on and specialisation in math and science programmes, usually to the detriment of the already anemic arts and letters.
Well, there certainly are parents out there who aim to teach their kids that "Hitler was a good guy"! When you said "programming its future voters", are you saying this is a good aim or a bad aim?
My issue with the "Schools should prepare children for the real world" viewpoint is that it is often un-visionary and prone to the naturalistic fallacy. To demonstrate what I mean, consider an adult arguing in the school segregation debate in the 1950's or early 1960's: "When you're an adult, you can be arrested for drinking from the White fountain, so shouldn't schools be preparing their students for the real world?" This doesn't mean that segregation at schools is A Good Thing any more than it means that segregation in the adult world is A Good Thing. In this case, the takeaway was that the whole system in the United States needed to undergo a shift: getting rid of segregation across-the-board, not just in the sterilized environment of K-12 schools.
Rare anymore is the educational system that fosters individual creativity, learning and thought. Most children, even those who are in K or pre-K this year, will never advance far beyond the State model. They're just another brick in the wall. Those that do, will most likely be home schooled or have gone through the Catholic school system or some other private liberal arts grammar schooling. Those who were subjected to State schooling but find it disagreeable will have to continue their education on their own through "lifeschooling" --- they'll have to (find!) and attend an excellent school (e.g., Hillsdale College) where they can learn to shake off the dust of the system and exercise their own thought. Or they'll have to discover truth, beauty and good through reading the Great Books.
Kudos for quoting the Pink Floyd song! And as for the Great Books, I'm going to miss Mortimer Adler. In the copy of the Britannica
I won after winning my county spelling bee in 1994, the foreword to each of the ten divisions of knowledge was penned by Adler. He could get wonkish at times, but he did introduce some thought-provoking stories like the tale of Harrison Bergeron through his program.
My high school did offer a few Internet-based classes, along with three other high schools in its district and a number of schools in the double digits nationwide, though. It began when my class, the first Millennials, were in high school. If only all classes could be like this!
Happily, for anyone out there now with school age children The System is shooting itself in the foot by offering entirely free and entirely online State schooling (via k12.com). Now, good parents can keep close track of what their children are actually being taught, can fill in gaps, can correct errors. If they choose!
I checked out the k12.com website. It proudly announces: "Over one million students have chosen K12-powered schools". Let's hope it outgrows traditional public schooling in the coming decades!
I paid some attention to the "Day in the Hospital" section. As expected with any futurist genre piece, his predictions are very hit or miss. Many things that he touted as futuristic are really pretty old school. He got the corporate takeover of health care and the attention to the bottom line over attention to the human person spot on. A lot of the details seem to be pulled right out the whimsy of 1960s era SciFi. I mean, a candle lit dinner of shark and asparagus? Puhleeeeze!
Actually, I liked the shark part. It reminded me of Kankonian clergy eating liturgical sharks.
He got the increased use of computers sort of right. I had a chuckle when I read about a stumped physician "typing in" a list of symptoms in order for "the computer" to spit out a diagnosis; and the "central image processing" computer. It's called "googling" and getting answers from "WebMD"! Clarke had no fricking idea the Internet was coming or what a profound effect it would have on literally everything in medicine. Even with computerisation, one thing he didn't foresee is the concommitant increase in the amount of paper used to support all those computers. I've never seen so much paper in all my life!
Surprising that the missed the whole paper issue. And there's an Internet meme that says:
Physician: Don't confuse your 1-hour web search with my 4 years of medical school.
Patient: Don't confuse the 1-hour lecture you received on my condition at medical school with my 20 years of living with it.
By the way, I am fewer than twenty words away from reaching my sixty thousandth Kankonian word. It is a milestone I am raptly anticipating . . .