A common element in science fiction / speculative fiction is an advanced form of learning – the matrix has its super fast virtual reality programs and 2001 has a similar accelerated information transfer system which allows David Bowman to have the knowledge of three “modern” (re. 1968) specialists. These advances all speak to what is treated in our readings (look under 9/5) as an obsolete concept of what learning is – per “New Culture”‘s second chapter, “A tale of two cultures”:
“The ultimate endpoint of a mechanistic perspective is efficiency:
The goal is to learn as much as you can, as fast as you can.” – Thomas & Brown
If this is obsolete, what is the new form of advanced learning? If any of the authors we’re reading this week were to write an idealistic novella, novel, short story, &c. set in the future, how would their characters be learning?
The year is 2051. Zawadi Bowman (obviously, the future is female but it still has to be as American as possible, so we’re keeping Bowman) is embarking on an Odyssey and she has the experience of . . . what?
The focus of our readings is essentially on massive cooperative chatrooms – technologically facilitated places for conversation. Does Zawadi literally have the experiences of 3 or even 3,000 specialists at her neural fingertips? Perhaps she hosts the consciousnesses of a massive diverse team of highly experienced individuals in her bionically modified super-mind. Her strength and general physical rigor along with her own exceptionally varied life experiences and personal perspectives have contributed to her designation as Captain of this cloud. She can delegate subsets of her team of consciousnesses to very dexterous robots when more “hands” are needed on her vessel. The access is what matters. Her education is instantaneous and also the result of many lifetimes of experiences. Oh, and no-longer-baby-Dave is somewhere out there detonating warheads at will and floofing about as a cloud. Is this the future?
ps. Did anyone notice how WoW took heat from Carnes as essentially beer pong but its concept was widely celebrated or it was explicitly celebrated elsewhere in the readings?