(* Note: This is a revised and updated post originally based on the article in the Washington Post about the Virtual Revolution in College education. The link appears to be broken.)

Robin Lynn Ore

Two way interactive networks. with HDTV, can be just as effective as face to face communications. There is no reason why Universities will remain in control of the economics of degrees. The better professors can be paid for their audiences in large numbers, much like a movie star is today, bypassing the University systems altogether and making education more available to the masses, elective, and affordable.

This can only happen with a secure communications system and definitive identifiers, as well as an evaluation system for accreditation. Learning is learning, regardless of how the information is acquired. With a Personal Identifying Information (PII) component, it is also possible to know the originator of ideas, which have profit value, making theft by any means identifiable to law enforcement. This is critical to the protection of business trade secrets, researcher credits, child protection from pedophiles, and much more. It is important as well to job creation and the loss of value, and income, to cyber-thieves.

The networks are already moving into the mind. Embedded devices that connect brains to one another are already in place and expanding very rapidly. Neuromarketing is a reality and soon… advertisers will have unregulated access to medical devices (i.e.. implants). Brain studies into the minds of infants has been alluded to in using babies for mental vacations. It would not be a good time for the baby.

The sociological outcome will be either mind control, (which means a person has no choices or individuality, often disguised under other terms, like “social engineering”), or… it will become elective communications abilities, far beyond face to face communications or any audio visual experience. People will be able to communicate anything without the need for computers or phones.

We are at a crossroads between economics, sociology, and technology. As automated systems of all kinds, by necessity, prevent subjective mind controllers from forcing their “ways” upon us, individual human rights are at the core of the decision making about how these systems are evolving. Robotics is eliminating menial labor and even electronics and software will disappear, as we know them. They are being replaced by femtocells and tiny, distributed, interactive chips and embedded devices.

Education is too expensive, and therefore for the few, because of the rising costs of tuition, cost of housing and feeding students, not their professors. Laboratory equipment, books, and buildings are what tuition money pays for mostly. All of these can now be distributed to personal computers. It is only the verification of learning and testing that is required to verify skill. Most Universities look the other way in the academic achievements of a star football player, due to his “value added” to University revenue, unrelated in every way to “book learning”.

The question remains, what are the markets of the future? The United States has already lost it’s manufacturing base to Asia and jobs are not being created here for the fortunate few who do attend Universities, let alone those who do not. We need to transition to a new economic model that rewards learning financially, if we are to survive.

Private/Public partnerships that share tax revenues of goods purchased in a location, and based on a points system, might be one model to explore. This would put societies back on a basis of supporting education, writing, philosophy, art, music, science and yes… documentaries and entertainment too. Fines on poisoning, polluting, and drug industries to pay for these infrastructures would be another. This is taxing spending, (the only fair tax), and a point system would reward the inclinations of people toward their areas of interest.

A knowledge society has to be based on knowledge and the acquisition of that knowledge has to be available and rewarded just as companies with goods and services are.

The success of such a reward system for the future is predicated on an ability to prevent a mind control takeover of our networks and a healthy society, so we can make these choices to reward the right endeavors for ourselves. Individuality and Constitutional protection of human rights and IP, must prevail… rather than becoming a nation and a world of shared thoughts for the consumption of “those in need of our knowledge for economic gain”.

We may become entertainment value as puppets of those in control of the networks, (not at all necessarily the United States or any World Government.)

Social engineering, as defined by the Defense Department as preemptive conditioning as a matter of National Security, is a blanket policy that effects us all and is going to lead us all, like zombies, off of a cliff. On the other hand, leaving people defenseless against foreign powers, cyber criminals or neuro-marketers, that want access to people for entertainment purposes is totally unacceptable.

There has to be a better way. Rewarding learners and creators is the way to begin and automatic systems to prevent unwanted wireless access to us, is the method of insuring our freedom and prosperity in the future.

May 4, 2011