Posted by: crudbasher | July 11, 2011

Can Education Keep Up With These Kinds of Social Issues?

(cc) Today_is_a_Good_Day

One of the reasons I call this blog Education Stormfront is because I believe there is a tremendous amount of technological change that will soon be transforming education. One of the reasons for this is because society is going to be wrestling with technologies that can be used for both good and bad purposes. Therefore, we are going to have to develop and adapt our morals and standards to accommodate these new technologies. Here is an example of what I mean.

Recently, Apple has announces something called iCloud. It’s a way to store photos, music and other files on the Internet in such a way as it can be shared between devices. There are several other companies that are already doing this but there are still certain implications that need to be addressed. First of all, who’s data is it? Can a company that is storing your information, access it in order to sell certain statistical info about you? If the government asks, can they go snooping into your info without you knowing? These are serious issues that haven’t been resolved yet.

So let’s look at today’s development. It’s a tiny camera that could fit on the head of a pin, and is very very cheap to make. You don’t get a good picture with it, but certainly it will improve over time. I can see a time in the not too distant future where we routinely video record everything going on around us at (almost) all times. It could be very useful to be able to go back in your life and replay events. This of course would be a huge amount of data, but it’s not infinite. The way things are going, it would make sense that it would be streamed into the cloud for storage. So, who has access to those video records? If you are witness to a crime, would the government have automatic access to them? What if they are looking for a criminal? Would they be able to access everyone’s video streams in a certain area in order to find the criminal.

So far I’m sure in these cases many people would be ok with this but it can get very ugly too. What if you live in a country that has government furnished health care? Would they be able to monitor your diet to know what kinds of treatments you are eligable for? If you eat poorly, could they deny you certain drugs and treatments? Medical supplies aren’t infinate after all. In government system, rationing occurs. (I know it does in private systems too).

This is just one of dozens of disruptive technologies being invented that will have far reaching ramifications. As a society we have absorbed these sorts of changes before (cars, planes, computers). The difference is those other technologies A. came once a generation, and B. came one at a time. In the idea based world, change happens as fast as you can communicate, which is at the speed of light. A revolutionary cell phone app can be in 100 million users hands by the end of the day of release.

What role (if any) will education play in this society? I would say that only a citizenry that is capable of critical thinking will be able to navigate the maelstrom of change that is approaching. The only problem is, I don’t think our education system is designed to produce that.

Any thoughts?

    • Picture a camera that has no lens, no moving parts, costs fractions of a penny to make, and sees as dimly as a short-sighted worm. Doesn’t exactly sound like a game changer–but it is.
    • Cornell scientists have achieved the breakthrough by producing what’s called a Planar Fourier Capture Array camera from a super-cheap material, doped silicon, that’s currently used in all sorts of chip technology. It’s just one-hundredth of a millimeter deep and a half a millimeter on each side, which means several of them could fit on the head of a pin. The magical aspect of the cam is that it doesn’t need a lens because it makes use of the wave-like properties of light to work out what it’s looking at, and all the image construction is done by algorithms in a computer later.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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