Ask A Genius 568 – Affirmative Action for the Rich (6)
March 17, 2019
[Beginning of recorded material]
Scott Douglas Jacobsen: How will this stratify America in the 2020s?
Rick Rosner: America is already the most stratified that it has been and the most divided it has been politically, and stratified it has been economically, in 100 years. It is at Depression levels.
The economic inequality is probably at Depression levels and probably at higher levels, comparable to the Guilded Age in the 80s and 90s. The college thing is one more thing on top of the economic stratification.
Then there is the coming technological stratification. But I feel access to technology is, maybe, less stratified than access to elite education and less stratified than income and wealth.
You don’t have to be rich to good at technology. It probably helps some. But I feel the technological stratification is less than other areas of stratification. Tech can help reduce economic stratification.
In that, there is a little democratization via online learning. You can online. You can take thousands of classes from your choice of any decent university. You can pay money and then take them for credit in some cases.
But most of these online classes; you’re basically auditing the class. You take it for free or close to free. You work through the material. You listen to the lectures on YouTube or how ever they set it up.
Sometimes, you get a certificate. We are in the baby days of online learning. But that may eventually serve to democratize education somewhat. Education, in general, is in trouble because old models of education are just based on sitting and listening to somebody tell you stuff.
Then you work through assignments based on what you have been told and your textbook. That used to be the best way to learn. 100 years ago, it was the system. It was good. It was better than learning via staying on the farm.
The school was the most interesting part of the day. It was where your friends were. It was where the fun stuff was. It was where people became boyfriends and girlfriends. It was where you could compete in sports if that was your thing.
Now, most of your stuff and access to friends is in the palm of your hand. Many of the social and educational functions made school exciting, though miserable, for people. These have been supplanted by the awesomeness of being in constant contact with your group via your phone.
Now, school is where you go to be told to turn off your phone and to get not very personalized information at a single very slow rate to groups of people. So, school is no longer the most information rich and most interesting, and most emotionally compelling, part of a school-aged kid’s life.
So, that is going to have to change.
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American Television Writer
Scott Douglas Jacobsen
Editor-in-Chief, In-Sight Publishing
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