Saturday, February 13, 2010


I've heard that some people think technology isn't really progressing at an amazing rate. I think they're crazy. I don't think I've shared this yet, it's an example of the state of technology:

Frankly, I think we have so much technology at our fingertips that we have hardly even begun to scratch the surface of what it's capable of. On top of that, better technology is hitting the scene faster than anyone can keep up with. I certainly think that we are in a technological singularity, and that Kurzweil's condition (strong artificial intelligence) is satisfied by our own intelligence as augmented by the Internet. It's a subtle, almost secret form of artificial intelligence that, from what I gather, no one has yet realized the significance of. With the power of the Internet, a person, so willing, may learn practically anything, and at record speed--no digging through card catalogs or driving to the library necessary. Suppose you want to learn engineering but can't afford school? No problem, one of the best engineering schools in the country, MIT, has put all course materials for the first four introductory engineering courses online (lectures, notes, assignments, labs, etc) for free, available to anyone with an Internet connection. You'd probably want more than an introduction, so it's a good thing they've made freely available most of their curriculum, including that from other programs. You don't get any certificate, but does that really matter? I'm certain that a degree is worthless in lieu of an education, and that an education is no less valid if it isn't certified. This isn't a new fact, it's just easier to get an uncertified education now than it has been in the past. Take Dean Kamen, the man behind this amazing prosthetic arm and many other similarly astounding creations--he didn't earn even an undergraduate degree, though he now has around 7 honorary doctorates. The real point is that now other potential Kamens are easily able to obtain the resources necessary for their talent to reach fruition. An important addition is that I think most people have more potential than is generally realized; if this is true, than we should expect a significant increase in technological progression. The question I'll leave for you to answer then is this: have we seen a significant increase in technological progression since the Internet became widely available?

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