Technology Growth: Are We Preparing Today’s Students?

There is a fascinating op-ed in today’s Chron. It’s about the exponential growth of technology and how that will impact future energy options (the example given is solar which is very encouraging), medicine, life expectancy and prosperity.

The life expectancy thing is interesting:

The point is this: Now that we can model, simulate and reprogram biology just like we can a computer, it will be subject to the law of accelerating returns, a doubling of capability in less than a year. These technologies will be more than a thousand times more capable in a decade, more than a million times more capable in two decades. We are adding three months every year to human life expectancy, but given the exponential growth of our ability to reprogram biology, this will soon go into high gear. According to my models, 15 years from now we’ll be adding more than a year each year to our remaining life expectancy. This is not a guarantee of living forever, but it means the sands of time will start pouring in rather than only pouring out.

As is the stuff on prosperity:

What’s more, this exponential progression of information technology will affect our prosperity as well. The World Bank has reported, for example, that poverty in Asia has been cut in half over the past decade due to information technologies and that at current rates it will be cut by another 90 percent over the next decade. That phenomenon will spread around the globe.

If, in the very near future, people world-wide will live longer and be more prosperous, what does that say for economic models, retirement, business, education, politics, the environment, etc., etc., etc.

We need some very smart people getting ready to deal with a fast changing world. In the meantime, fifth and eighth graders are getting ready to take the Science TAKS test on May 1st. Is this getting them ready to make wise decisions that will guide our future? Maybe. Those Science TEKS objectives sure force a more scientific thinking process model on science education. And, kids have to think conceptually to do well on the TAKS test. All is not lost with the accountability testing, but we need to do better, considering the world is not going to slow down and wait for us to figure out how to prepare students for fast technology growth.

(cross posted from musings)

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