27 February, 2007

The real post-industrial society.

It is known that education is getting worse these days, less and less people desire to study sciences, more and more choosing to major in "general studies" which basically means anything that is not boring, which, in turn, is discussing plans for the next party for most people.

Interestingly, it seems that nothing is done to remedy the situation, quite the opposite -- a lot the is being done to continue this trend.

So why don't governments care about the education? Don't they need taxpayers with high income, which is achieved by high education? Certainly, uneducated public is much easier manipulated, but someone just has to develop those WMDs, right? Well, just a few very intellectual people are needed for that, so they probably will get through no matter how bad the education system is, but what about "regular" engineers, air traffic controllers, economists, etc.? Countries still need those, right?

That is so, but one has to consider that these professions may not require much creativity. For example, software engineering used to be an art, but as computers' performance grows, the quality of the software does not matter that much anymore, so most of the coding is just routine work, like digging a trench. So, just as machines are way better in trench digging then humans, machines are (or will be very soon) able to also do software. And control airplanes. And predict market movements. Even drive taxis and clean the rooms -- advances in AI and robotics may allow for most of the jobs to be replaced by machines.

Apparently, the time is coming when you won't have to work, unless you want to. And by "work" I mean using your brain for actual thinking, all other activities seem to be quite doable by computers. Therefore, general public may be quite happy with endless shopping and TV-watching, and other fun activities that do not require any education.

But where are we going to get money for shopping, some may ask, if practically everything is going to be done by robots? Well, I'm sure there will be "jobs" where, of course, we won't be asked to do anything boring or anything we don't like. Some basic education system will also be around, acting as a scout network for picking up new talents who are going to advance technology further. And those talents certainly can come from a much smaller population, so the fact that the population of the "post-industrial" countries is decreasing is also an indicator of movement in the direction outlined above.

/Colonel Armstrong Tree, signing out.

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