Phillips Brooks was 30 years old in 1865 when he delivered his sermon on the death of Abraham Lincoln saying, “The more we see of events, the less we come to believe in any fate or destiny except the destiny of character. …” See: The Destiny Of Character Gives Hope That In Humanity’s Dark Streets Can Shine An “Everlasting Light”
Futurist Ray Kurzweil predicts that by 2045 — in a mere 33 years — computers will be billions of times more intelligent than humans. He compares this watershed time in human history to a reality of physics, a “singularity,” an event so enormous in power that it is impossible to gauge, impossible to see beyond.
The power of computer per unit cost doubles every 11 months. Thirty doublings results in more than a billion fold increase. This means that powerful computers will become the size of red blood cells. Medicine will be transformed. Transportation, energy, and the economy will be transformed. The implications of the coming Singularity are breathtaking. I’m reminded of a famous quote about quantum theory: “If you are not astounded by this truth, then you do not understand it.” Kurzweil writes, “When people look at the implications of ongoing exponential growth, it gets harder and harder to accept…. They fall off the horse at some point because the implications are too fantastic.”
When we try to imagine the future, we simply cannot think big enough.
The coming singularity means that today’s children, well before they reach middle age, will be living in a the world stunningly different from the world they live in today. My premise, for the book I promised to write during my 2009 campaign for Kettering School Board — “Kettering Public Education In 2030” — is that, in response to their understanding of the coming singularity, a local community transforms its system of public education.
Wow. Talk about outlandish fiction. But the idea is that a vision of a fictional change process may serve an an inspiration for actual change. If I ever run for school board again, I want to present a blueprint for system transformation as a foundation for discussion.
I’m wondering if it might be fun to try to write the book as a work of science fiction, from the POV of an advanced computer writing in 2045. I sent this outline to my web-designer friend:
Project: Design a front and back cover for a new book
Title: The Destiny Of Character
Subtitle: Kettering Public Education In 2030
Genre: Science Fiction
- As the singularity approaches, humanity scrambles to redefine intelligence and to redefine what it means to be educated.
- In 2045, in response to the query, “Why?” a research computer prints a report entitled, “Kettering Public Education In 2030.”
- In the future — when the best architects, engineers, designers and scientists all will be machines — human education will center on the formation and development of human character. Becoming fully human, becoming effective citizens, will become the aims of education.
I got a good chuckle at the book design I received back. It communicates the message, I guess, that in the rough seas, as our ship approaches the singularity, human destiny will be guided by passion, by instincts, by character.
- The Destiny Of Character Gives Hope That In Humanity’s Dark Streets Can Shine An “Everlasting Light”; December 24th, 2011
- As The Singularity Approaches — The Aim Of Education Must Be — Awake, Find Oil For Your Lamp, Get Ready; May 30th, 2011
- When Anna Is Nineteen: Public Education In Kettering, Ohio, In The Year 2030; May 24th, 2011
- In Order To Reform Public Education, The First Task Is To See The Big Picture; May 11th, 2011
- When Computers Are Billions Of Times More Intelligent Than Humans — What Should Be The Aims Of Education?; April 12th, 2011