Episode 8 - The Future of Education (Transcription)
Justin: Welcome to hence the future podcast. I'm Justin Clark
Mattimore: And I'm Mattimore Cronin.
Justin: This week we're talking about the future of education. So Mattimore can you tell us why this is such an important topic.
Mattimore: Yeah. So every topic we've talked about thus far in the podcast, it all rests on the assumption that there are going to be smart creative people and future Generations that can figure this out.
But that's not a given that's only going to happen if we give them the tools needed to tackle things, like autonomous weapons things like global climate change things like the most critical one I believe is AI and the path to Super intelligence if we aren't able and when I say we I mean Humanity, but if you look at it even on a smaller level.
If the United States isn't able to get its shit together and invest in education invest in the future of our kids. Then we're going to continue to fall behind in the rankings and we can see a world where China or other less free societies went out in the race towards AI super intelligence and that could mean some very terrible dystopia for all of humanity. So that's why it's very important. It's almost the most critical topic of anything because everything else rests on the assumption that we will have good education for the future.
Justin: Yeah. It's just the foundation of everything that we have talked about and we'll talk about right.
Mattimore: Before we get into the different future scenarios. I think it would be good to talk about the current state of the education system. So what are your thoughts on the current state of education in America specifically and we can talk about the world later on.
Justin: Yeah. So in America, specifically I am kind of pessimistic about the public education system because it was a system that was created in the industrial revolution era. It was designed to churn out people that were very good at following orders and think very rigidly and do what they're told and that's about it. We've kind of gotten to the point where schools just Crush all the creativity and children. And think how smart kids actually are like for example when I was 6 or 7 years old, I was already using the scientific method. Well, I did it once and so so when I lost probably my fifth or sixth tooth, I knew about the Tooth Fairy at that point and then I started thinking about it as like this kind of sounds like bullshit.
So I had a hypothesis which was the Tooth Fairy's bullshit and I lost my tooth didn't tell my parents. So I designed this experiment and you know a week later the Tooth Fairy still hasn't come and decided. Oh the Tooth Fairy isn't real and that's how I found out so it's I think kids. That's not unique to me. I think kids in general are really creative and really curious. We just have to let them be creative and curious and not stifle that and I think our current education system just crushes it.
Mattimore: Yeah that reminds me of an Alex Van Allen Watts quote one of my favorite philosophers, but he said that a tree is no better than acorn.
So in other words a tree may just be an acorns way of creating more acorns. So it's not like an educated working member of society is fundamentally better than a child who's not educated yet. And it actually in many ways, it's the opposite because often times with Enlightenment. You're trying to get back to the roots of the way you experience the world as a kid, but throughout the whole education system.
It's sort of like that's beaten out of you. And like you said with the Industrial Revolution. It's more like trying to make you a cog in the machine or a bureaucrat where in my own instance. I was a very restless kid and it was really hard to get me to focus. I was constantly tipping my chair and the teachers would go crazy.
They they called me like the absent-minded Professor because like I was never listening to them, but then I would like sometimes have good answers. So it's it can be it's a difficult line to walk along where you want to give kids the tools and the education that they need, but you also don't want to squash their creativity.
Justin: Yeah, and the thing about the education system right now is so there's this really popular Ted Talk. I think it's one of the most popular TED Talks Of All Time by someone named Sir Ken Robinson. And it's just "do schools kill creativity" and he makes the point that schools are always based upon. Do you do this right or not?
But so you basically get penalized for making mistakes whereas creativity is inherently full of mistakes. And when you are penalizing these kids for doing something that isn't exactly right then they start to be afraid to express themselves how they want to express themselves and over time kills it all.
Mattimore: Well, that's why so many kids especially especially boys. They had to take adderall and ADD medicine because it's time now it's a goes against their nature to be sitting in this desk just taking in information regurgitating out what they're expected to regurgitate and being quiet and obedient and never trying anything different never coloring outside the lines so yeah, it's a big problem for everyone but because of the nature of rambunctious Boys in particular, I think it's especially hard on boys when they're trying to make their way and learn.
Justin: Oh, yeah. Yeah, so there are some things that. Going well, I think so if you heard of Montessori schools, no, I haven't. So those are schools where the kids learn through play. Basically, it's a self-directed system where there are teachers there are kind of the basics, but the teachers give students projects to work on but the student will okay.
Let me back up. The teachers don't actually give students projects the students pick their own projects and the teachers helped them design the projects to maximize their learning and the other cool thing about this is they don't get squandered. They don't get grades. and they end up being some of the most creative and well-rounded students like one of my one of my good friends is a he was a math tutor for several years for top students. And he said the kids that come out of these Montessori schools are just on another level. Hmm, and a lot of people like to think that oh, if you don't give students the exact direction that they need to go then they're not going to do anything. They're just going to be lazy and right do nothing.
Mattimore: Well, there's so much information out there that we should not be focused on giving information and it should be like the focus of schooling. I think should be more on how to make sense of information and discern what is true from what is untrue and what is important from what is unimportant?
Because yeah, of course you can go online and you can search amazing videos about how the polar ice caps are melting and about the double slit experiment and all of these super interesting scientific things that are very relevant for the future of technology and society and everything, but you can just as easily go and find cat videos or Info Wars crazy conspiracy theories or like there's an endless supply of information.
So I think the focus should be about how to make sense of that information and how to use the tools that are available. To pursue whatever it is that you're passionate about in your life. Because that's one thing we talked about with the future of jobs income and fulfillment is that in the far future, there's not going to be education for the purpose of finding a job like there is now so right now there's two purposes for Education. The primary purpose is to help you get a job, basically. The secondary purpose is to help you navigate life and just live a happy fulfilled life and basically find your path and become who you are, but that very much takes a back seat.
It seems like to just finding a job. So when we look towards the future, it's it's going to have to give a greater way to finding happiness and fulfillment and what you truly enjoy doing versus just finding a job.
Justin: Yeah, and it seems like that is sort of happening in other countries. I was looking at the top schools in the world and let's see Finland was number one and they have a similar setup as the what you were describing and I guess sort of the Montessori School to it's just kids can do what they want and there are other countries like Germany that have tiered school systems where the kids can go into trade school or go into art school very early on and they don't need to go through the rest of the crap that you have to go through in a general education system. So there's there are some good things happening worldwide. I think the u.s. Is just far behind.
Mattimore: Well, there are private schools that like you said the Montessori schools. I also know Elon Musk started his own school. That sounds very similar to Montessori. We're basically there are no grade levels. So if you're really good at math you're going to be with the other kids that are really good at math regardless of their age likewise, if you're really good at art or really good at putting words together, you'll be with those kids that are really good.
And if you're falling behind you'll do what the kids that are at those level. So there's there's no none of this One-size-fits-all approach none of this like either you get it or you or tough luck, which is basically the current system. And yeah, this is another actually Alan Watts has another take on this where he basically says that.
The whole system of school, it can be treated as the metaphor of a journey or often times, the predominant metaphor is that life is a journey or school isn't. And so basically it's like okay you get to kindergarten and that's great because once you're done there you get to first grade and then second grade and so on and so forth until you're done with grade school and then high school and then you go on to college and then it's like okay now I'll get it go to grad school and then you get a job selling insurance. And then yeah, and then you're like, okay got to make this quota and then you wake up one day and you're 40-something years old and you realize that. You now have whatever it was that you were trying to get the whole time, but you don't feel very different. And in fact, you feel like you have kind of been fooled the whole time because you thought life was a journey you thought the point of life was to get to some destination but life is not a journey.
The uterus is not aimed to go somewhere. I mean from all we know there's like a big bag and then a big retraction and it goes on Infinitely. So the point of life is not a journey life is more of a dance. It's a musical composition. The point of life is to dance while the music is being played. So whether you're a little kid or a grown adult no matter what it is.
The point is to enjoy life and to be excellent and whatever it is that you do and to cut out all of the BS that you deem unimportant for for you based on your own inclinations and what you find valuable.
Justin: Yeah, I really like that lecture to he's
Mattimore: He's so good. But he's so far ahead of his time to yeah. But anyway, so let's I think we should put a couple stats to this just so that people understand how big of an issue this is in the US. So, I don't know if you have some step. I have a couple so the US. current math ranking. At least this is from 2015. It's probably changed a little bit since then, but in math, we are number 518.
So we're behind Slovakia Hungary Lithuania in math. And okay. I'm sure there's there's great teachers and I mean I'm not ripping on those countries, but given how enormous our GDP is compared to theirs and how much resources we have. Compared to them as the wealthiest country in the world. It is absurd that we have this that we have this low of a ranking there were this far down the list.
Justin: Yeah. It's terrible to because in the public education system and this is probably true in most education systems private school college, whatever but what happens is especially in math if you don't get one concept early on like let's say you're learning your fractions or something pretty trivial when you're older but not as trivial when you're learning it for the first time but you still pass the class. Like let's say it's only a small portion of the class at the time. You can still pass the class and move on to the next level. But each level you move up it assumes, you know, everything from all the previous levels. So when you're stuck on these early concepts, how are you going to succeed in math, when you're being forced to go along with everybody else in the class when you just needed a little bit of knowledge on a very specific topic and everything would click like I see people that because I tutored calculus for a while and I see people that should know most of what's going on because calculus the concepts behind calculus are relatively straightforward. But a lot of a lot of people get hung up on the algebra of calculus and it's it's just a self-reinforcing system.
Mattimore: well, they say I mean one common metaphor is knowledge is a tree and if you don't know the trunk of the tree. Then how are you going to make sense of the branches of the leaves? Yeah, so that's that's an issue and I think by going with the Montessori and Elon Musk approach where it's just based on where you're at not how old you are or what your grade level is. That's just such a better approach.
Justin: Oh, yeah, like I had a friend in high school. He's one of he's still one of my best friend's he is a math genius. And he was actually able and we had probably a little bit better resources than most public schools. It was still a public school, but he was able to after he took his AP Calculus class sophomore junior year. He was able to take online Stanford math classes in high school. But that's not available to most people right and I think and I think the other thing is we we hold we hold the people that are extremely far ahead back and we push the people that are more behind too fast. Just we're pushing everybody with their extreme diversity into this narrow line that they have to tow the.
Mattimore: Well, It seems like part of that problem is like we said the system of putting people where they belong as far as their skill set. I think another part of that is having enough data so that you can continue to optimize for each individual. So the current way that we collect data on students is at the end of the year you get satisfactory not satisfactory.
It's like you get a basically a one word analysis. I mean, you know private schools Charter Schools. Sometimes they do a better job of this but by and large and they give it to you at the end of the year, it's too late at that point. Like you're going to go on summer vacation and next year you're just going to focus on next year. But if they treated it more like how the tech World treats their processes where there's constant feedback. You're seeing how not only how each student is progressing in different areas. But you're also seeing how effective the teachers are at, you know, creating success for their students and how it affected their teaching methods are and then you optimize the system the next year.
It's not rocket science. It's the same thing that we're doing in Tech you experiment you analyze and you optimized but we're not doing that at all. We're basically saying, Oh, well, you know it didn't work for 40% of the kids and then someone says well, what are you gonna do next year? They say we're going to do the same thing.
It's like how can you expect different results if you never change the fundamental system and optimized it based on what you're learning.
Justin: Yeah, I think now speaking of that is a good time to talk about the future like what are the trends going forward? What do you see?
Mattimore: Yeah. Well, unfortunately, one of the big factors is the budget because currently most people are in the public school system and their beholds into budgets and state budgets and people were people thought you know, like one possible future scenario is we make college free for everyone just like Bernie wanted we get someone in the White House who is able to pass that through.
But there's going to be a huge opposition to that and there already is people are saying oh well, how can we pay for all that? Who's going to pay for a where's the money going to come from? But the reality is if it's important enough we pay for it. The US GDP is fourteen point seven trillion dollars.
Okay, 716 billion of that is spent on defense quote-unquote defense 716 billion. To make to put every kid through college it would only cost 75 billion. So that's a fraction of our military spending. And if you subtract that from the defense budget, we would still have by far the largest defense budget of any nation in the world.
Justin: So the thing about that is we don't even need to put all of our kids through Harvard. We can just have their state school. If you live in Illinois, you go to some sort of University of Illinois. Yeah, it's not like it's not like we're putting them through schools that have 50 60 thousand dollars a year tuition.
Mattimore: Yeah. Yeah. It's and the tax cuts alone that you know Trump passed through. Just recently that's going to cost two point three trillion dollars over the next ten years.
Justin: Yeah, and there's there's not necessarily a bad thing with cutting taxes, but we don't have we're not cutting government spending, right?
Mattimore: Yeah. Well the deficit I mean, yeah that's going to be a major issue for us coming of age. And so it's like a double whammy it's like basically. We're just putting off all of these IOUs that are going to have to be taken care of by Future Generations, but then we're not willing to pay for their education so they can actually figure this out.
It's so rotten and just the whole system of government spending is so horribly corrupt that it's hard to see the light of day. but I'm hopeful that eventually the people will wake up and I think one of the things that we have going for us is the inevitability of joblessness and automation, which is going to spark some serious change.
So I mean we can talk about the scenarios, but that's a big factor in the scenarios that I have for worst-case best-case and most likely.
Justin: Yeah, let's let's start with those want to start with the worst case.
Mattimore: Yeah, so the worst case scenario in my mind is that. Basically the status quo of what we're doing right now continues along the path that it's on which to say that that's I mean, you know, I guess it could be a little worse even than that.
But basically if we continue where the corrupt interests of government went out over the interests of the general population, that's a terrible situation. So if we don't we learn exactly what they want us to learn. Yeah, and it has this negative feedback loop, right? So if we don't provide people with the education that they need that creates more uneducated people and guess what uneducated people are way easier to manipulate and if you're able to manipulate people then the handful of people at the top who are just looking out for their own self-interest.
They're going to be able to exploit those people using all of the common ideological tactics that already are present which is fear of foreigners, you know, religious fervor around a single I'd single like, oh my religion is the only right way to think about the world alternative facts and just vilification of opponents like when I see some of these ads for people, you know running for government and they're just hit pieces on the opponent. I'm always thinking like who is fooled by this because it's so blatant lie just like you don't have anything good to say about your plan. So you just dissed the opponent but a lot of people are fooled by that and that percentage of people who are basically that I don't want to say that I mean, I don't want to basically sheep, you know, That portion of the population is going to increase and we don't want to live in a world of sheep.
It's because it's going to be really bad for the people who are oh yeah. Yeah that for everyone really except for the ones pulling the strings.
Justin: Yeah, and I mean just talking about ideologies. We don't even need corrupt government to to push these ideologies. If we have certain portions of certain regions of the u.s.
That follow certain belief systems. That can really poison thinking then that's an issue too .Like I have I have a friend who was brought up in an Evangelical homeschooling group. He is since you know gone to college it seemed to light but he was telling me about how in his science books there were.
so he was learning biology, but it was like. Bible biology, so so the world very clearly is only 2-3000 years old whatever the claim is and then there are Bible verse. I've literally dug up bones that are older than that on an archaeological excavation so I can say for certain but I'm looking at a piece of 200 million year old petrified wood like it's here with me.
Yeah, it's just insane how some of this stuff can be taught legally and
Mattimore: It is crazy that it's and it's all under the guise of religious liberty, but it's just you can't give people false information when there's we know that not to be true and I feel like a big source of this problem is the.
Narrow folk like the narrower the focus the bigger the problem the broader the focus the less of a problem. So if you go to school and you're only taught the history of the US in history class and in theology class or science class, you're only taught the history of Christianity, then you're going to come out of there and guess what you're going to have very bad thoughts about people who are not Christians who are not Americans and there's going to continue to be this butting of heads internationally that will prevent Global change that we need like figuring out safe autonomous weapons AI climate change all of these things. Whereas if instead in History Class, you learn about the history of humanity all the way from the first organisms up through chimpanzees and humans and how we've developed all throughout up until now and likewise in science and religion class you talk teach about all religions from the early Mesopotamia all the way through the Greek and and you tell them how Christianity evolved out of Judaism as did Islam and
Justin: Yeah once you and you can inform everybody about the right information, and and you also have to include in the curriculum. That we're not even certain about of lot of about a lot of things we can we can rule things out but we can't say that. This is the way things work for certain. Yeah, and but if you're learning about the Bible, which I think people should learn about religions because it's really a course on history, but I think if people realize that for example, the Bible was written about six decades after Jesus death. Think about think about how that would actually work and most of it was written more than 300 years after that was just the earliest that was it. That was the start. Yeah, so that would be like somebody right now with only stories to tell very little written communication telling us a very detailed account of World War Two.
Yeah, when the hell would that would that work?
Mattimore: Yeah. Well, I mean we are going to do a future of religion episode at some point. Yeah, so we should get much deeper into that when we have that episode, but I think what you're what you're touching on is really important in that when we don't teach people the big picture and when we don't teach people the gaps that we still don't know.
Then they have this mindset where they think like. Oh everything I'm being told is true. It's all been figured out. I pretty much just got to follow along and then I'll know the whole picture but I think in like, let's say your goal is to spark the interest in kids who should be scientists who want to be scientists. It's in their nature to be a scientist and you want to spark their interest as to how cool being a scientist could be and how this is a viable path. I think the best method would be to give them a big picture of everything and to show them all of these questions that are still unanswered and that they can be a part of finding out the truth that we still don't know that's much more exciting than just teaching someone Newtonian physics and not even giving them a hint that there's something more like relativity.
Yeah, then they're just be like, okay. This is just boring equations that have already been figured out. Why would I waste my time on this? Like if I were to and I think we might've talked about this on our first episode but I think if you tell people the story as the in the way that humans have discovered it like in science class look originally there was just the Heaven and the Earth people didn't really think too much about it.
Then people realize. Hey, there's Stars what's going on up there? Oh, okay, there must be stars in Heaven above and Hell below and then they realize oh wait, there's actually a son that's moving. Okay, so it must be that the sun is moving around the earth and you know, so there must be stars and like this other space area and then you realize oh no wait, actually Earth is moving around the Sun and then it from there, it becomes way more interesting. You're like, oh my God, not only are there multiple galaxies and solar systems. There might be multiple universes and there might be multiple Dimensions that we can experience and string theory is the evolution of our current thought on science and that poses that there are 11 dimensions and we can only experience three of them like how kind of time if if you include time as the fourth dimension. I think there's like some weird details there. Yeah. Yeah, but that's the point is that it hasn't really been hammered out. So if we get kids who naturally have all this creativity and curiosity and instead of just like basically like. Like squeezing their brain into a cube and saying okay like do you get Newtonian physics?
Okay. Now if you are still interested, you can go onto the X and who would be but if instead you spark the the Curiosity and just give them the tools that we currently have but show them that there's so much more out there. That's how we're going to make major breakthroughs.
Justin: Yeah, and that kind of touches on my best case scenario to because there are a lot of really cool advancements coming. Let's just talk about VR for a second education and VR and one of the issues with what you were talking about getting kids excited about physics. It's kind of hard to experience these really abstract concepts in a concrete way. And it's so it's harder for students to really care about it.
Like why does this matter? Why does quantum mechanics matter to me? But if we had some sort of VR world or VR education system where you could go in and actually take a journey through the cosmos and see it firsthand what's going on? You could even go to the atomic level or subatomic. And experience these really weird things that are going on.
Mattimore: Yeah or in History Class. You can transport yourself. I mean you can already do this today. You can transport yourself to the Parthenon in Athens. Yes and see the history that you're being taught and really feel like you understand it and I could imagine in the future. We have whole simulations of the cons and you're out there feels like you're really riding around with Genghis Khan.
And you know you suddenly you get it, you can do that with any number of situations whether it's historical scientific social studies political whatever it is.
Justin: Yeah, and the cool thing that you could do as well is you could experience the different accounts of history, for example, because there are so many different accounts of how history happened you could go through and actually see.
Okay, this is how one person this is a one textbook describes it. Now, what does the textbook of China describe it as or what does the textbook of Germany describe this as and you can actually start to realize that just because you're told something doesn't mean it's true. You can actually you can actually broaden your horizons and realize that people think differently and people have different accounts and different experiences. And I just think that would be an overall good thing for people to know.
Mattimore: Yeah, and as we think about the best case, I think it's key to have all of the the knowledge and understanding that we've been discussing but it's also key to have the real person to person interaction.
Because that's one thing that you can't digitized. I mean you can but it's not going to be as good as the real thing. At least not yet. I mean you could make the argument that we are already in a simulation and that we can make something just as real as this which I think is pretty much inevitable.
But let's say for the next like 50 years probably not going to happen at that level because I think as you learn even in grade school, but especially in college. A lot of your learning happens not from your classes or your professors. It happens from your interactions with peers and understanding social situations and learning from the people who are at the exact same stage in life as you are.
So I think we're going to need to continue to have real-life some sort of real-life college experience that can be supplanted by these VR experiences and other forms of technology, but we can't do without that either.
Justin: Yeah. I mean it would be really cool to have those things super intertwined. Like maybe you send kids off to a boarding school and hopefully this isn't, you know, just for the very wealthy, but you could send them off but the purpose of that. Maybe it's more of a camp. Maybe not boarding school, but the purpose of it is to really learn these social interactions like you were saying and then you can also have these deep personal learning experiences because you aren't going to learn the same way as your best friend necessarily.
Yeah personalized learning is huge going to be. Oh, yeah because imagine imagine a system where. You have this. Personal AI that is talking about not talking but it's designing your curriculum based on where your where you are in your learning. So if you're a super genius and math, but you aren't super strong at reading then it can tailor your entire curriculum based on what you know, yeah.
Mattimore: Yeah, I think that's going to be huge. As far as my best case scenario, I think it's pretty much the same as what you had said, I think fundamentally what it should accomplish is the ability for you to take on anything that life throws at you. So not just like okay your job your you know your role in a current company, but any possible thing that life could throw at you because we're going to need to reinvent ourselves multiple times over at even you and I but to an even greater extent our children and grandchildren. Yeah going to need to constantly reinvent as new technology progresses and all that and there's a really a thought insightful Zen story about this where this is Zen master.
Sitting in his dojo and he's got you know, he's drinking some sake with friends and the Geisha girl is serving him and she's serving with such Grace that he has an inkling that she might have some Zen training. So when she comes over he says, excuse me, but I'd like to give you a gift and she says, oh I would be most honored to receive a gift from you.
And so he takes out a hot coal with his Chopsticks and he gives it to her. And so she has this long kimono sleeves. She world's them up and she takes the hot coal and she goes to the back room. She puts the call down and then she changes her kimono because the hot coal had burned all the way through so then she comes back and she says zen master.
I'd like to give a gift for you gift to you and he says, oh I would be most honored and so she picks up a hot coal. And then he takes out a cigarette and says, oh thank you. That's just what I needed and I'm like the cigarette butt like the purpose of that story. The reason why it's a good Zen story is because you should be able to fluently respond to anything that life throws at you with grace and elegance and excellence and not having to like basically your whole intuitive system and your analytical system should be intertwined such that you live life as a ballerina does you know with with Grace and responsiveness and I think living in the moment living in the moment and it's and that's all tied in with happiness to you know, like especially when people aren't going to have to work anymore. We should not be teaching them just about how to do a 9 to 5.
We should be teaching them how to live a good life. And so I think in the past like for instance nowadays, it's not very common for someone to become a master Carpenter and just spend all the time creating beautiful wooden chairs, but I think in the future we're going to see a situation where whatever people enjoy the most which tend to be things that we had done maybe thousands of years ago.
Just simply because of the caveman principle people going to do those things. They're going to be making music they're going to be creating a beautiful wooden desk from scratch. They're going to be doing all of these, writing poetry or or just you know, learning everything there is to know about science and really philosophizing and looking at the moon and making love to your lady friend and like this truly enjoy or man friend or man. All that life has to offer so that in my mind that's the best-case scenario a situation of personalized and it's all based on. Being able to respond to anything that life throws at you with Grace. And so you can be a happier more fulfilled person as well.
Justin: Yeah, and in the foundation, there is also learning how to learn so being responsive means that you have to learn new things whenever some sort of new technology comes out like where ya say, let's say that Quantum Computing does become a feasible technology.
The programming and the algorithms are completely different than they are now. So we're going to need a whole generation of computer programmers that need to reinvent themselves. Yeah to adjust to this new technology.
Mattimore: Yeah. That's why I feel like comedians are some of the best prepared people are good at improv because yeah because they just doesn't matter what what you're what the conversation is about. They can make jokes and insightful like I think of Chris D'Elia or like Joey Diaz or some of these compare Joe Rogan. It doesn't matter what someone's talking about. They can just respond to anything and if you think of someone who instead has just like if they're not prepared they freeze up and they're like totally freaked out that is someone who has not learned to dance through life.
They're still trying to go through life as if it's a destination that needs to be reached and that they need to be prepared for only the most common situations that they might encounter.
Justin: Yeah, and I mean I didn't really talk about my worst case but I actually had something written that is the flip of that people being educated to be very rigid in their thinking and they can't they can't adjust to new technologies, which probably wouldn't be a huge issue in the super long term if they don't have to work but if jobs are still a thing in the next 20 to 30 years, but they're taught to their top things that are relevant to 10 years ago because the current stuff that is being taught isn't even relevant to today.
Mattimore: Yeah. Well, I think that's that's you can see that clearly just through how people are guilty to not be working all the time. Like the American mentality is such that if you're not work, like even if you have enough money to not be working and to instead lay on the beach read great novels talk with friends have dinner parties all the things that you enjoy most. Then you still are going to feel this guilt about just like staying home.
And that's that sort of like a almost like a Protestant work ethic that's. So drilled into us that we forgotten how to enjoy our lives and yeah, we might be fine in the long term because people aren't going to have to work anyways, but if they're not able to be happy and fulfilled and they're just depressed and they just plug into their VR system in the same way that people come home from work and they just put on TV and they drink a beer and it's like they're not even experiencing Society. They're just like watching a digital replication of society that they're not even like fully a part of and that's how they get their enjoyment. Like how backwards is that? Like if you talk to any person who's living in very poor society, let's say in you know in sub-Saharan Africa or something.
If they could even imagine the amount of money that like the average American Business person makes they would imagine a life of luxury not a life where you only have like two hours a day that are your own and during that time you're just glued to a television watching, you know, stupid reality TV or whatever like you would imagine a life that's full of Adventure and passion and dancing and music.
Yeah, I mean think about right now to with the education system kids are stuck in the school for eight hours a day. And the I mean, that's the status quo. You do have maybe two three hours to yourself maybe less because you have sports which may be fun to you if you're not being forced to do them, but you also have homework.
Yeah, and then by the time you're done with everything.
Mattimore: I also think that the the whole segmentation. Is not a good way to plan it out where it's like now we're doing science. Okay. Now we're doing art not like the champion woven together. Like I think is a better system would be okay. We're learning all about a frog so we learned the evolution of a frog and then we actually dissect a frog and then afterwards you draw a picture of the frog from memory and if you get the whole that you get it from all angles.
Can you write a paper about it? And then you write a paper about how a frog a journey from a tadpole to a frog and if you like poetry you can write it as a poem If you prefer prose like yeah,
yeah, it's awesome. I really like that idea. I've always kind of thought of a similar approach like math and computer science.
I think they should be taught together like you if you're learning how to do certain arithmetic. You should be able to write a program that can just generalize the whole thing and you so if you're learning how to take fractions, you can actually write a program that will do fractions for you and you can learn fractions while you're learning to program and then I've also had a computer science course where we didn't this was my favorite one of my favorite classes ever.
We didn't have any exams. We wrote papers on the stuff that we were reading about and we got to write it on any topic we want because we could go find whatever supporting literature we could find it's actually I didn't expect it but that kind of stuff is just awesome that I mean, you wouldn't think of mixing English with computer science.
Mattimore: Yeah, I mean that the current way that we have education is very didactic meaning that you'll basically be like, okay. This is a wrench and a wrench is used for this this and this. Okay now memorize wrench. Okay now match up renting what that's what it's used for. Whereas if instead you say, okay.
Here's an engine. We have to take apart this engine. Oh, how would we possibly take a part of this book? We need a tool. Okay, which of these tools is the best tool? Okay clearly the wrench and then you actually take apart the engine and yeah and instantly know what a wrench is used for just in your deepest self because it's you've already done it you've already used it for what it's intended for. So rather than having this approach where it's. A teacher with a PowerPoint presentation telling you stuff and then you basically are just supposed to like recite it in your mind until you remember it if you instead learn by doing it's much more effective. Like, you know, my brother Ryan, he just went through a three-month graphic design intensive program in New York with this this very cool school called Shillington started by this Australian guy who realized there weren't good enough designers in America, so he basically was like, okay, I'm gonna start my own school. But the way that they teach students is really interesting because every single day they give you a project brief and you can choose from any number of possible ways to take on that project brief and you go ahead and you do it and the teachers are there to help you but you really are doing it by the end of the day you turn it in just like as if you were a consultant so it's not like the general assembly approach which is like basically. Okay, here's all the PowerPoint information. It's all Theory now you figure out how to actually do it after the fact but we're not going to actually help you do the real stuff.
Yeah, you take it you take a multiple choice test. Yeah the stuff that you learned.
Mattimore: So it's that's why it's like it's all in your head. It doesn't feel real. Like I remember even in business classes. You can't you don't really get what business is all about until you're in it no matter how much Theory they give you up front. It's really hard to understand what actually makes the world turn until you're part of that turning.
Yeah. I have a issue with a lot of. That even in college. I mean it's not specific through it's not specific to K through 12. Yeah, but even like you were saying and in college and business classes, they had that most of the business classes. I took same thing. I mean there were there were a couple outliers where it was a class that was in partnership with a local business or something and then we got to actually work on some sort of project for them. That's so rare.
Mattimore: Yeah, my favorite business class was where we actually pick stocks and then we got to let's see how our portfolio evolved over time and there was I mean, there are very cool simulations that you can do. And that's the other exciting thing about Tech is that we're going to be able to have some very serious simulations that simulate the real world in a much better way than current technology, but unless we have the intention to implement that and move away from this didactic person in front of a PowerPoint just telling you stuff then we're not going to see the we're not going to see our rankings go up. That's for sure.
Yeah, and if we really do need lectures, I think the lecture should be more in the form of a movie like you're saying go learn history by watching like being in the world of the Khans.
Mattimore: Yeah, or. You know take the best lectures of all of the best professors and make them available to everyone. So it's not like you'll have some people who have a subpar lecturer and some people who have an amazing lecture. Everyone has access to the creme de La Creme of professors because I might as well just recorded and share it if the goal is to teach and to learn.
Yeah, so that's actually happening. So if you've ever heard of Coursera or EdX course are is kind of a general app where you have colleges from all over the world. They'll put on let's say a teacher is teaching Quantum Information Theory or something super Niche or I mean, it's they also have the the basic classes to but there's an entire lecture series in Quantum information theory on Peter Shor who's like one of the founders of well, he created something called Shor's algorithm which is like why everyone is so impressed. It was like the first real world application of quantum computers. And there he is at MIT giving his lectures on Quantum Information.
Is it free or yeah, it's free. Wow. Yeah, and this is kind of like masterclass but Master Class you have to pay. I mean, it's still very affordable. Yeah, so you can you can do something where you do it for free where it's just like YouTube you go and watch the lectures but there's also something where you do everything you take the exams you basically take the class remote and you can get this this certification that you completed. And I don't know put it on your resume. I don't know how much weight they carry which is the biggest issue because I would imagine it's really easy to cheat on something like that. But yes, that's definitely a thing right now and you also have stuff like Khan Academy which covers like math and science.
I think those are the main topics and then some test prep. Yeah. They do a great job.
Mattimore: Oh, yeah, so let's talk about the most likely scenario because we haven't touched on that. So do you want to do you want to start with your scenario or you want me to do
So, I think the government will Almost 100% Okay. I don't want to sign a hundred percent but a very probable chance that the government will completely fail at adjusting the education system. The good news is I think private companies will do something about this because it's in the top company's best interest to make sure that there are educated people out there. And what I think is probably going to happen is there's going to be some sort of online education curriculum sort of like Khan Academy, but maybe a little more personalized. Like let's say Google creates an AI education system where it does track maybe at first little room entry, but it can track your own progress and you can get a world-class education wherever you are in the world. And that'll be kind of a worldwide thing. And I so I'm optimistic in the sense that I think over all things will end up in a pretty decent place. I think we'll go through some Growing Pains first. Like we're I think we haven't hit rock bottom in the public education system for it to really be a catalyst for change.
I think the point of no return is going to be the kids coming out of schools these days like a vast majority of them are completely worthless to society the modern business. Yeah, and I think once that happens. Businesses will take the initiative like okay we need to do something about this and offer some sort of online education system or even some it would be nice if they had brick and mortar places. Yeah for the optional program the person learning.
Mattimore: Yeah. I think you're right about the private Enterprises. Being the ones who pick up most of the slack at least in the short to medium term. I do think eventually the government will figure it out and actually implement the right practices, but unfortunately, I don't think that's going to happen in the near term.
I think that's going to be something that's only going to happen after the AI superintelligence Revolution when it's more just about like. Okay, we've created all the wealth that we pretty much ever need to now we might as well like give people the tools that are relevant because obviously there's no jobs that are very few jobs that any human would even be valuable, you know valuable at performing versus a machine, but I do think that in the near term there are going to be the right kind of schools for wealthy people. So it's unfortunate that I don't think this is going to spread to public schools in the near term. But I do think that with some of these schools that we've been talking about Elon musk's will the Montessori schools.
I think that we're going to see a big growth. In that area where these new schools are going to be popping up and if you have the money you'll be able to send your kids there and they will be much more prepared for the future. But you know that it's certainly going to lag behind within the public sector especially with all the deficits and everything and and you know, there's going to be a lot of damage done before we figure it out.
Yeah, and I'm really hoping that when the private sector takes over. They can offer these these courses or this curriculum for either very very cheap like affordable to people in third world countries. Let's say it's ten dollars a year or a hundred dollars a year to be more realistic which okay in sub-Saharan Africa hundred dollars a year is still a steep price, but for most people, in the developing and developed world the hundred dollar figure that bad. You know what I'm just putting an arbitrary price on it, but they don't they wouldn't need to pay for kids to go to some brick and mortar location which has some downsides in and of itself, but they can still be educated and interact online with people and I'm hoping that that can be a solution in the near term.
Even if it's just online for now, people can still learn what they need to learn. Yeah for the most part minus the whole social skills thing which might be which might be viable, you know talking to people over video chat. It's it might be a it's not going to be perfect, but it'll be something.
Mattimore: Maybe do we should we get some advice to people about opportunities and how they can better position themselves given the future scenarios that we've laid out. Yeah, I mean, I think already the Khan Academy Coursera masterclass. Those are good places to start as far as virtual learning.
I think also a lot of its just about reading books and following your own curiosity. Like I mean at least with with how I navigate my life, especially my academic life. I'm always just figuring out where my gaps are. So I have I was blessed by my parents and and by society that I grew up in that I have a strong trunk of the tree which a lot of people don't have but if you have that strong trunk of the tree, you just need to follow your own inclinations as far as what are you interested about and it takes a while to figure that out, but you got to start somewhere. So you got to start exploring certain areas. And once you find out what you're interested in you sort of move along that path and read all of the great authors, you know first and then go into more Niche and then go into more recent and up-to-date and but if you follow your own passions and really ask yourself, what is it that you find interesting about life and what do you really love to think about then? That's that's a good place to start.
Yeah, and you don't need to not everybody even learns through reading so don't feel like you have yes, if you audio or video exactly and so there are audio books you can get the exact same information and there are also podcasts which there are probably podcasts on any subject. You can possibly think about like I have I listened to a couple that are. Specifically about data science related things. So what are the newest advancements on machine learning and artificial intelligence and you can find whatever your Niche is you can you can find podcasts that are specifically about advertising or specifically about history. That would also just speaking of History. I would recommend Hardcore History to all of Hardcore History so good so good. Especially their world war one episode. That's my favorite Dan Carlin. In the thing about that is you get them for free. If you listen to them relatively recently after they come out because with this world war one, I think it's a six-part series with an average of four hours per episode.
That's information than a couple audiobooks. Yeah. I I can't recommend Hardcore History enough.
Mattimore: Yeah, the other piece of advice I would give is. One thing Scott Adams talks about is your talent stack. So I feel like a lot of people they just want to be really good at one thing. They think like okay, I just want to be a master at real estate and it's hard to be a master real estate because there are a lot of good Realtors out there. A lot of people that are a lot farther along than you are. But if you combine that with something else like real estate plus computer. Or yeah, real estate plus design or whatever it is if you're targeting or marketing.
Yeah, if you combine any two areas almost like the better the farther apart, they are the better. Then you have a very unique talent stack and maybe you're not the best realtor but you might be the best realtor / computer scientist / designer. Yes out there. So or maybe you learn like hypnosis and then you also learn painting abstract concept and then you're like creating this mesmerizing works of art that if you had never heard that knows this you wouldn't have, you know, even created something close to that. Well, this has been the future of Education. And thank you all for listening.
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Mattimore and Justin