Sunday, June 01, 2008

Stick to teaching not futurology....

I've just read about the new chief executive of the Independent Schools Council, Admiral Chris Parry, who told the Times Educational Supplement,
"It's a very short route from wireless technology to actually getting the electrical connections in your brain to absorb that knowledge.... Within 30 years, sitting down and learning something will be a thing of the past.... I think people will be able to directly access, Matrix-style, all the vocabulary you need for a foreign language, leaving you just to clear up the grammar."
And in other news, pigs will grow wings and the sun will start to go around the earth. The brain is not a computer OK! How exactly does Parry think we will receive wifi signals in the brain? Are we going to start inserting RFID tags into people? Where will this amazing amount of information be stored? Do we have any ROM in our brains? I don't think so.

It would be best if Admiral Parry stuck to the issue of education rather than making universally stupid comments about what the future holds based on a sci-fi movie that did pop philosophy and ontology for the masses. I'm still waiting for the flying cars they promised me would be here eight years ago!


Anonymous said...

Don`t forget the jet packs ask Paul Merton he knows.

tory boys never grow up said...

Admiral Parry isn't talking for the masses (good job too!). I'm sure he'll only want brain implants to be available to public school kids - some would say that private schools are pretty advances in that area already.

Croydonian said...

Yup, and the holidays on the moon in geodesic domes.

Mostly Ordinary said...

Is he a scientologist?

Anonymous said...

I am relieved to realise that it is only the ship steerers who can get to the rank of Admiral. For if he had been a technician or artificer and got to that rank we really would be up the proverbial gum tree!

Anonymous said...

So we'll have cracked all the challenges to:

* implant a device in the brain
* maintain and provide power to the device (and upgrade its software when required)
* keep the device permanently connected to what hopefully will be a pretty secure network
* receive vocabulary data directly into the device
* process that data into "knowledge", presumably somehow adding context and meaning relevant to the individual to the data string for "le garcon"
* have a physical interface between the device and the cell structure that makes up the brain so the "knowledge" can be transferred
* and, most impressively, have a logical interface, or translator, that will turn the bits of data held on the device into whatever format the brain stores knowledge in

All that magnificant achievement, in no more than 30 years....

... and we're not going to crack the challenge of handling grammar as well. Seems a lost opportunity. Well, either that or the Admiral has been brainwashed whilst in the military into believing all the mad scientists when they were pitching for thei next round of funding.

Maybe this all says more about the recruitment procedures of the Independent Schools Council.


Anonymous said...

Well , there was that monkey on tv news recently feeding itself with a mechanical arm controlled by brain impulses detected by implanted electrodes ..... works one way ..why not the other ...

On a similar time scale I remember being amazed by Manic miner on a rubber keyboarded 48k spectrum loaed from a cassette tape ,just what did we imagine back then ...www?

why not ?

Fidothedog said...

Lets hope that he is right, we can sack all the leftie teachers then as all that will be needed for learning are some of those brain devices and people can learn at home.

Maybe he has not thought that one out otherwise he would have forseen the end of his own career....

Anonymous said...

I'm reminded of this conversation from The West Wing:

So, I had this meeting with NASA this morning.

What a waste, since the moon. My generation never got the future it was promised.

What do you mean?

35 years later, cars, air travel's the same. We don't even have the Concorde anymore. Technology stopped.

The personal computer.

A more efficient delivery system for gossip and pornography. Where's my jet pack, my colonies on the Moon? Just a waste.

Alex said...

I may be wrong, but I recall that one of the first LAN's was a packet radio network at the University of Hawaii in the early 1970's. It has taken 35 years to get from there to 802.11 b/g/n. At that rate of progress, figure brain implants some time in the next millenium.

Old BE said...

And there I was, being all old fashioned, thinking that education was about teaching people to learn not just cramming them full of data. It's usually that aspect that separates good schools from bad, so is he advocating a universal poor education?

Anonymous said...

"A more efficient delivery system for gossip and pornography."

Well, that's hardly inconsequential.... ;)

Anonymous said...

??? What does it say about our Navy, that it promotes a man with such ideas to the Rank of Admiral - who will hopefully for many years to come enjoy an inflated Inflation=Proof Pension, at the expense of the taxpayer

Anonymous said...

Dizzy - if you want a trip in a flying car, pop over - my 'driving' skills will make you think you're flying :)

Alternatively - unless Lewisham Council have improved immeasurably - try any of their minor roads at 30 mph - the pot-holes serve as take-off ramps.

Anonymous said...

Obviously no one here has heard of exponentiation or Ray Kurzweil (Bill Gates' favourite futurologist).

The "Singularity" is scheduled for 2045. The Admiral is spot on.