Carson Conversations Forum | Robert Tercek
Robert Tercek, Author of “Vaporized,” 2016 International Book Award Winner at the Frankfurt Book Fair, speaks at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts. His talk: “The Future of Education.”
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[00:00:00.811](lighthearted piano music)
[00:00:07.950]Well good morning.
[00:00:09.822]I've been asked to share some thoughts with you
[00:00:11.455]about the future of education.
[00:00:13.291]It's my belief that we are entering a brand-new era.
[00:00:18.051]We're sort of in the middle of this transition
[00:00:19.638]into a new era where the rules
[00:00:22.071]of society aren't in written law books,
[00:00:23.441]but they'll increasingly be encoded in software.
[00:00:26.218]They'll be written in software.
[00:00:27.082]I call it the software defined society.
[00:00:29.126]And what's remarkable about this transformation
[00:00:31.548]is that it's largely invisible to us.
[00:00:33.921]We can't see it.
[00:00:34.842]We talk about it.
[00:00:35.826]We read about it in the press.
[00:00:37.123]We hear about it in media.
[00:00:39.372]But we very often cannot see it unless you're based
[00:00:42.653]in the Silicon Valley where they're testing robot vehicles
[00:00:46.118]and there are 10,000 startup companies,
[00:00:48.295]you often don't see signs of disruptive transformation.
[00:00:51.433]In fact, in many parts of the country the only sign
[00:00:54.584]that you'll see of this big transformation is a sign
[00:00:57.307]in the front of a window that says, going out of business.
[00:01:01.897]Since the beginning of this year, the first few months
[00:01:04.714]of this year, nine major retail chains
[00:01:07.048]have closed their doors.
[00:01:08.086]85,000 jobs have been lost.
[00:01:10.418]The retail industry is going through
[00:01:12.068]a dramatic transformation right now.
[00:01:13.927]It's the most visible sign of this transformation I believe.
[00:01:16.510]And every time a store closes its doors,
[00:01:19.115]a familiar store like in this example Blockbuster,
[00:01:22.815]every time a store like that goes out of business
[00:01:24.441]it reminds us that we've given up a habit
[00:01:26.403]that we used to have.
[00:01:27.345]For instance, we no longer rent DVDs or Blu-ray discs
[00:01:31.723]and there are many other habits we've shed.
[00:01:33.218]We don't buy CDs anymore.
[00:01:34.636]We don't use payphones.
[00:01:36.259]We don't use telephone books.
[00:01:37.382]We don't use fax machines.
[00:01:38.552]We don't visit travel agents.
[00:01:40.248]And so we're kind of shedding habits
[00:01:42.109]as we go through this transformation,
[00:01:43.424]but we're often unconscious about that process,
[00:01:46.203]because we're always moving onto the next thing.
[00:01:48.443]Now some people call this process, dematerialization.
[00:01:51.600]Dematerialization into software.
[00:01:53.036]Dematerialization into pure information.
[00:01:55.991]I have a different term for it.
[00:01:57.233]The term I use is vaporized.
[00:01:59.047]I think it's a better term frankly, it's a cooler idea.
[00:02:02.081]The idea is simple.
[00:02:03.291]And it's you know, something is there
[00:02:04.573]and then it's gone in a puff of smoke.
[00:02:05.826]It literally disappears in front of our very eyes.
[00:02:08.119]Now you see it, now you don't.
[00:02:10.548]That might seem a little bit odd when I say it that way,
[00:02:12.761]but actually every single time you use your smartphone
[00:02:15.065]you're vaporizing something that's very familiar to you.
[00:02:18.361]And if you don't believe me just consider these examples:
[00:02:21.037]Amazon now sells more eBooks than hardbound
[00:02:24.008]and paperback books combined.
[00:02:25.451]Books have been vaporized.
[00:02:27.038]The music industry's gone through this process as well.
[00:02:29.618]The streaming music services now comprise more revenue
[00:02:33.900]for the music industry
[00:02:34.840]than all other forms of revenue combined.
[00:02:37.982]The map business has gone through
[00:02:39.552]a tremendous transformation.
[00:02:40.715]Do you remember maps?
[00:02:42.792]It wasn't that long ago that you would have to buy a map.
[00:02:44.868]And think about that as a business model,
[00:02:46.568]15 dollars for a very beautifully printed piece of paper.
[00:02:50.560]Nice racket if you can do it,
[00:02:52.154]but now that business is long gone.
[00:02:53.830]Every phone that we buy comes with a much better map
[00:02:56.169]that tells you where you are in the language of your choice.
[00:02:58.658]The games industry has been transformed.
[00:03:00.890]As Megan pointed out, I was part of the group
[00:03:03.006]that brought mobile games
[00:03:04.732]to the United States in early 2001.
[00:03:07.022]And at that time people thought we were crazy.
[00:03:08.927]The game industry thought it was quite a mad idea
[00:03:11.232]to try put games on smart phones.
[00:03:13.135]Today the idea of downloading a game to phone
[00:03:15.575]is no longer novel, it's the largest source
[00:03:17.522]of revenue in the game industry.
[00:03:18.813]It's not just a new distribution technique for games,
[00:03:21.569]it's also transformed the way we design games.
[00:03:24.920]It's got a completely different business model.
[00:03:26.781]And so this distribution technology's
[00:03:28.446]actually reshaped the entire industry.
[00:03:30.755]By the end of this decade,
[00:03:32.197]mobile games will comprise half the revenue
[00:03:34.185]in the game industry.
[00:03:35.668]And my friends in TV never liked it when I say this,
[00:03:37.975]but it's true that television's being vaporized right now.
[00:03:41.573]More than half the households in the United States subscribe
[00:03:44.337]to a streaming media service of some sort like Netflix.
[00:03:47.926]But it's not just an American phenomenon.
[00:03:50.276]You see, we're not just vaporizing the DVD
[00:03:52.622]or the videotape, of course we've already done that,
[00:03:55.613]when you launch a streaming video service,
[00:04:00.166]you're actually vaporizing the infrastructure
[00:04:02.107]of television as well.
[00:04:03.069]In the old days if you wanted to be in the TV business
[00:04:04.907]you had to buy a TV station with a giant tower and spectrum,
[00:04:07.836]or you had to put a satellite up in space.
[00:04:10.018]But today you can launch a streaming media service
[00:04:12.890]in a few days, and that's why around the world
[00:04:15.543]there are thousands of VOD, video-on-demand,
[00:04:18.184]streaming video services being launched.
[00:04:20.394]This is a global phenomenon.
[00:04:22.419]So when I use that term vaporized, what I mean is
[00:04:23.832]that we're replacing physical stuff with software.
[00:04:27.854]Invisible software that can be downloaded
[00:04:29.590]anytime and anyplace.
[00:04:31.555]And if you think it's limited to media,
[00:04:33.167]maps and music, well you're mistaken.
[00:04:35.846]It's not limited to that.
[00:04:36.687]We're actually replacing hardware.
[00:04:38.167]Your mobile phone in the past decade has taken
[00:04:40.574]on the attributes, or absorbed the functionality
[00:04:43.533]of more than two dozen consumer electronics devices.
[00:04:46.844]And the companies that make
[00:04:48.375]those consumer electronics devices
[00:04:49.973]have experienced double-digit decreases
[00:04:51.571]in their sales over the past decade.
[00:04:53.515]So the company that make GPS units, digital cameras,
[00:04:56.088]MP3 players, and so forth,
[00:04:57.711]they've experienced tremendous losses in their businesses
[00:05:00.749]as the mobile phone has absorbed the functionality
[00:05:04.059]of those devices.
[00:05:05.366]So my belief, my theory,
[00:05:06.567]is that whatever can be vaporized will be.
[00:05:08.450]Whatever can be replaced by software will be.
[00:05:11.028]Whatever can be turned into an invisible service
[00:05:13.487]delivered over the air, that will happen.
[00:05:16.336]Now I know what you're thinking.
[00:05:17.169]You're probably going, wait a minute,
[00:05:18.450]we're not going to vaporize clothes.
[00:05:19.882]We're not going to vaporize food.
[00:05:21.143]We're not going to vaporize our apartments, or our houses.
[00:05:23.144]Of course not, but the way we get those things
[00:05:24.889]is going to change.
[00:05:26.598]And the evidence of course is in retail, and we see
[00:05:28.638]a tremendous wave of transformation striking retail.
[00:05:30.974]It's not just that stores are closing.
[00:05:33.498]Retailers are also rapidly trying to reinvent
[00:05:36.013]the store by bringing digital technology into the store.
[00:05:38.290]And you've experienced this yourself where you've seen
[00:05:40.444]the mirrors and displays now
[00:05:42.450]have become interactive digital displays and so forth.
[00:05:45.530]You're starting to see digital technology
[00:05:46.886]introduced to the store.
[00:05:47.910]But perhaps the most disruptive technology hitting the
[00:05:50.046]retail businesses is this little tiny thing,
[00:05:52.396]the square reader, because that means
[00:05:54.825]that we no longer need a store.
[00:05:57.441]Anybody can be a merchant anyplace.
[00:05:58.943]So when you go to a flea market, or a farmers market,
[00:06:00.846]or something you see people are swiping credit cards.
[00:06:02.902]So everyone who wants to be a merchant can have that store,
[00:06:05.690]that cash register in their pocket.
[00:06:08.256]And this brings us to the concept
[00:06:09.519]of annihilating time and space.
[00:06:11.745]Now this phrase has been used in connection
[00:06:14.054]with every new technology that's been introduced
[00:06:16.762]in transportation and telecommunications
[00:06:19.521]for the past 200 years.
[00:06:21.496]The railroad industry is where they first used it.
[00:06:23.428]So the railroads that shaped Nebraska for instance
[00:06:25.369]in your history here in the state,
[00:06:27.100]they used to use the term annihilating time and space
[00:06:29.759]when they described how the railroad was shrinking distance,
[00:06:32.554]making it possible for people to travel quickly.
[00:06:34.841]And they used that phrase again when they introduced
[00:06:36.448]the telegraph and the telephone and so forth.
[00:06:38.335]I think now with the mobile phone you can really say
[00:06:40.571]we are annihilating time and space.
[00:06:42.739]I think there are very important implications
[00:06:44.272]for the future of education when we think about that.
[00:06:46.465]Placeless education is a possibility.
[00:06:48.576]Here's perhaps the best example of the vaporized store.
[00:06:52.033]What you're looking in this photograph
[00:06:53.194]is not a retail store.
[00:06:54.853]This is a subway station in Seoul, Korea.
[00:06:57.010]As you can see, the gentleman in the middle of the photo
[00:06:59.133]is about to step into the subway.
[00:07:00.807]He's going through the doors.
[00:07:02.340]Now in Korea they're a little bit smarter
[00:07:03.760]than the United States, they actually put glass panels
[00:07:05.609]in front of the tracks so passengers don't fall
[00:07:07.530]onto the tracks they way they can in New York.
[00:07:09.521]So a retailer there named Homeplus, thought about that
[00:07:12.921]and they said, gee we'd like to expand our number
[00:07:14.668]of outlets, why don't we bring the store
[00:07:16.488]to where the people are.
[00:07:17.467]They noticed people are standing there
[00:07:18.587]looking at these glass panels
[00:07:19.815]while they're waiting for the train.
[00:07:21.012]So they took life-size photographs of the products
[00:07:22.821]and put them on the glass panels.
[00:07:24.681]And that young man in the foreground,
[00:07:25.860]well he's making a purchase with his phone.
[00:07:27.738]And when he arrives at his destination,
[00:07:29.033]there'll be someone there
[00:07:29.866]to greet him with his shopping bags.
[00:07:31.777]This idea was so successful in South Korea that Tesco,
[00:07:35.112]the company that owns Homeplus, replicated it in the UK.
[00:07:38.397]And what you're looking at here is not a store in London.
[00:07:40.538]This is the Waterloo Train Station in central London.
[00:07:43.075]They wrap the columns
[00:07:44.222]with life-size photographs of products.
[00:07:46.198]Then again you can see the woman in the photograph,
[00:07:47.950]she's actually making a purchase with her phone.
[00:07:51.164]Now at this point you're probably thinking,
[00:07:52.778]where will it stop?
[00:07:54.034]Are we gonna vaporize everything.
[00:07:55.664]Is this guy gonna stand here all morning
[00:07:57.214]and tell us ideas about how we're vaporizing things?
[00:07:59.125]I have news for you, it won't stop.
[00:08:02.977]It won't stop.
[00:08:04.108]I'll stop, but this won't stop.
[00:08:05.646]This process is gonna continue and continue and continue
[00:08:07.422]'til every single thing in our industry
[00:08:09.703]and in our society that can be replaced by software will be.
[00:08:13.612]A couple of years ago Phil Schiller of Apple
[00:08:15.772]stood on stage at the worldwide developers conference
[00:08:18.154]and announced that there were 1.3 million apps
[00:08:20.453]in the Apple App Store.
[00:08:23.150]That was a pretty big number, and that was two years ago.
[00:08:25.306]Today that number stands at 2.6 million.
[00:08:27.789]And analysts tell us that by the end of the decade
[00:08:29.949]there will be five million apps
[00:08:31.675]available for your smartphones.
[00:08:33.212]Now they may be in a very different form.
[00:08:34.615]They may be in the form of a chatbot in a messaging app.
[00:08:37.764]They may be in the form of a voice command skill,
[00:08:39.960]like something you might encounter on an Amazon Echo.
[00:08:42.091]So even the notion of an app downloading an app,
[00:08:44.422]that may become something that's rather different.
[00:08:46.026]But the point I wanna make about this transition
[00:08:48.172]that we're going through,
[00:08:49.482]is that every one of those apps
[00:08:51.259]when there are five million apps,
[00:08:52.216]every one of those apps represent something
[00:08:53.759]that used to be sold in physical form.
[00:08:56.064]That is to say, every single app represents something
[00:08:58.699]that used to be made in a factory, typically in Asia,
[00:09:02.070]put into a box, shrink-wrapped, put in a pallet,
[00:09:04.692]stuck on a ship, a container ship, taken to a port,
[00:09:08.274]transferred to a truck, taken to a distribution center,
[00:09:09.867]and then it would eventually find its way
[00:09:11.632]to a retail shelf near you.
[00:09:14.524]All of that is being replaced by software.
[00:09:17.823]That entire value chain, that entire supply chain,
[00:09:20.565]is being replaced by software.
[00:09:23.026]These new apps don't require any of that.
[00:09:24.830]So all that stuff; the factory, the port, the ship,
[00:09:27.443]the truck, the warehouse,
[00:09:28.681]all of it is being replaced by software.
[00:09:31.180]And the main message I have for you today is
[00:09:32.921]that as goods become more information-rich
[00:09:36.210]they begin to shed the characteristics of physical products
[00:09:38.488]and they take on the dynamics of a digital service.
[00:09:42.921]I wanna repeat that, it's very important for us
[00:09:45.024]as we think about the future of education.
[00:09:48.505]Because education is perhaps the most information-rich
[00:09:51.383]product that you can consume.
[00:09:53.391]As goods become more information-rich
[00:09:55.823]they shed the characteristics of physical products
[00:09:57.736]and they take on, they acquire,
[00:09:59.499]the attributes of a digital service.
[00:10:03.106]Now if I were to ask the people in this room,
[00:10:05.650]what do you think the most important product
[00:10:07.116]of the last 100 years is?
[00:10:09.761]I think you'd agree with me, it's the automobile.
[00:10:12.873]It's the automobile.
[00:10:14.155]Henry Ford's innovation of the assembly line
[00:10:16.591]didn't just make cars available for the workers,
[00:10:18.777]of course it famously did do that,
[00:10:20.679]it also transformed the way we make everything.
[00:10:23.409]So the automobile and the assembly line
[00:10:25.529]is really the beginning of the mass consumer society
[00:10:28.936]that we live in today.
[00:10:29.793]But that's not the only important part of the automobile.
[00:10:33.055]The automobile as product also changed
[00:10:34.621]the way our cities are shaped.
[00:10:37.204]In the old days you used to be able to walk across a town,
[00:10:39.161]a town like this one, in an afternoon.
[00:10:42.326]It wouldn't take you long to do.
[00:10:43.505]Today towns, like I live in Los Angeles,
[00:10:45.547]they're 60 miles long, it's unthinkable
[00:10:47.478]that you could walk across Los Angeles.
[00:10:48.670]It's an impossible concept.
[00:10:50.211]That's a consequence of the car.
[00:10:52.422]And that's not all.
[00:10:53.255]The automobile also put us on the global petroleum economy.
[00:10:55.811]And today half of all petroleum purchases
[00:10:58.419]involve automobiles or trucks.
[00:11:01.259]And that's not all.
[00:11:02.203]There's another big change.
[00:11:03.383]The car changed the way we eat.
[00:11:05.916]I'm not kidding, think about it.
[00:11:08.787]There was never a time in the past when there was a guy
[00:11:12.020]in his restaurant flipping burgers hoping
[00:11:13.044]that someone in a horse and buggy would stop by.
[00:11:18.210]But today that happens a million times a day.
[00:11:20.166]Fast food is a consequence of the automobile.
[00:11:22.492]Now until fairly recently, the idea, in American society
[00:11:27.302]in particular, was that as you became an adult
[00:11:28.962]you would buy a car.
[00:11:30.256]And a car was kind of equated with adulthood.
[00:11:32.326]Not just adulthood, but liberty.
[00:11:34.618]This idea; your personal liberty, freedom, and so forth.
[00:11:37.542]And a hundred years of car marketing has done that to us.
[00:11:40.036]It's kind of embedded that notion in our heads.
[00:11:42.019]But for a rising generation,
[00:11:43.221]particularly young people who live in cities
[00:11:44.965]like San Francisco, the car isn't looked at as freedom.
[00:11:48.358]It's looked at as a heavy burden.
[00:11:50.083]It's a hassle.
[00:11:52.516]If you live in San Francisco and you owned a car,
[00:11:54.145]you have to pay for a place to park it.
[00:11:55.559]It's like having a second apartment.
[00:11:57.120]And you have to feed it with gasoline.
[00:11:58.558]You have to pay for insurance and so forth.
[00:12:00.140]And so the car is viewed as a burden.
[00:12:01.846]But until fairly recently, there was no alternative
[00:12:04.440]to owning a car particularly
[00:12:06.618]in the western part of the United States.
[00:12:08.067]We really don't have great public transportation
[00:12:09.925]and so a car was simply something you had to buy.
[00:12:11.938]But today we have an alternative.
[00:12:14.469]Today you can have software instead of ownership.
[00:12:16.466]And so you don't necessarily vaporize the car,
[00:12:20.921]but absolutely you can get rid of ownership of a car.
[00:12:23.813]I'm referring to carsharing
[00:12:24.957]or ridesharing services like Uber.
[00:12:27.508]And of course you're all familiar with it,
[00:12:28.919]but if you haven't used Uber in a while,
[00:12:30.436]it's a very simple app.
[00:12:31.461]Instead of trying to hail a taxicab
[00:12:33.059]in the pouring rain, you simply touch an icon
[00:12:35.117]on your smartphone and a few minutes later car shows up.
[00:12:38.298]And that car is just for you,
[00:12:39.984]and it's gonna take you where you wanna go.
[00:12:41.690]And if you've used Uber in another country,
[00:12:43.952]well it's a remarkably good experience.
[00:12:45.815]Instead of hassling with a cabdriver and trying
[00:12:48.032]to fumble out instructions in a foreign language
[00:12:49.742]and deal with foreign currency, you simply jump in the car.
[00:12:52.638]The driver knows where to take you,
[00:12:54.235]when you get to the destination you jump out.
[00:12:55.781]No cash, no money changes hands
[00:12:57.716]and the driver deals with the car
[00:12:59.090]and goes and finds another passenger,
[00:13:00.334]you carry on with your meeting or whatever you're going to.
[00:13:02.359]And so it's a really remarkably great service.
[00:13:05.032]And of course it's such a good idea
[00:13:06.178]it's been replicated all over the world.
[00:13:07.691]So Uber's hardly the only company doing this.
[00:13:09.565]In India, Ola is a giant force that competes with Uber.
[00:13:12.933]In China, Didi Chuxing is a major force.
[00:13:14.947]Here in the United States,
[00:13:17.424]Lyft presents competition for Uber.
[00:13:19.138]And in Europe there are literally dozens of services
[00:13:21.167]like BlaBlaCar that compete with Uber there as well.
[00:13:24.313]So the idea has been replicated around the world.
[00:13:26.465]But what's really interesting is until fairly recently
[00:13:29.106]the auto manufacturers didn't take this seriously.
[00:13:31.607]The auto manufacturers looked at this
[00:13:32.929]and they said well that's disruptive for the taxi
[00:13:35.567]and limousine business, but it's not a threat to us.
[00:13:38.460]It's not a real issue to us.
[00:13:39.605]And the auto companies didn't really wake up until 2015
[00:13:42.656]when they saw this: Uber raised money at a private valuation
[00:13:46.936]of 62 billion dollars which exceeded the public market
[00:13:49.722]valuation of Ford Motors and General Motors.
[00:13:52.738]And at that point the auto industry said,
[00:13:54.327]wait we gotta take this stuff seriously,
[00:13:56.119]and they began to pivot.
[00:13:57.163]And they made a major investment,
[00:13:58.471]a series of major investments.
[00:13:59.516]Today every auto company in the world has a major stake
[00:14:02.932]in a ridesharing company or car hailing company,
[00:14:05.254]or in the case of Ford Motors,
[00:14:07.047]they actually bought a ridesharing company.
[00:14:09.730]And so as you can see,
[00:14:10.563]this information economy is beginning to reshape some
[00:14:12.920]of the things we take for granted.
[00:14:14.517]And some of the principal artifacts of the 20th century
[00:14:17.833]are being reshaped by information technology.
[00:14:19.878]The way we understand them, the assumptions
[00:14:22.203]that we make about those products,
[00:14:23.857]those are shifting very, very quickly as well,
[00:14:25.758]Now I wanna continue with the Uber idea with one
[00:14:28.829]of the notion that's very important for education as well,
[00:14:31.013]which is that the idea of labor,
[00:14:34.086]something that every person possesses
[00:14:35.402]and can bring to the marketplace.
[00:14:37.137]That's being transformed right now
[00:14:39.365]because we're using software as a substitute for labor.
[00:14:42.524]Uber's been very clear in their intention
[00:14:45.090]to replace human drivers.
[00:14:46.880]And last fall, in September of last year,
[00:14:49.517]they began testing a robot taxi service in Pittsburgh
[00:14:53.364]and now they've expanded that to other cities.
[00:14:55.099]But what's most interesting is
[00:14:56.701]that Uber wasn't the first company to do this.
[00:14:59.184]I was in Singapore last fall when a company called NuTonomy,
[00:15:02.188]which is a spinoff from MIT,
[00:15:03.878]launched the very first robot taxi service.
[00:15:06.266]And that's not the only one as well.
[00:15:07.696]And they're testing the service now in Tokyo.
[00:15:09.627]It's rolling out in the UK
[00:15:11.641]and in about 20 other cities around the world.
[00:15:15.175]And so as you can see this information technology
[00:15:17.275]isn't just about games and maps and music.
[00:15:19.692]It's actually transforming our understanding
[00:15:21.724]of the motor vehicle and it's starting to transform
[00:15:25.302]the way we approach work,
[00:15:26.654]the way we think about what labor may be.
[00:15:28.872]These ideas are being challenged right now
[00:15:31.036]by this concept of vaporization.
[00:15:33.534]Now robots in the car industry are nothing new.
[00:15:35.477]Robots have been around for 30 years in every car plant.
[00:15:37.922]So if you go inside a car factory this is what you'll see,
[00:15:40.401]very few human workers are in the body shop.
[00:15:43.288]But what is new, is that the price of robots
[00:15:44.906]is dropping tremendously.
[00:15:46.073]This Baxter robot from Rethink Robotics
[00:15:48.081]cost about 22,000 dollars.
[00:15:50.289]That puts it in range of every small business.
[00:15:52.314]Doesn't replace a human worker.
[00:15:53.644]A human worker can train it.
[00:15:55.542]It actually frees a human worker
[00:15:56.734]to do more challenging tasks.
[00:15:58.699]We're starting to see robots all over.
[00:15:59.999]Of course a major driving factor
[00:16:01.372]in the push for robotics is the US military.
[00:16:03.983]They wanna keep soldiers out of harm's way, human soldiers.
[00:16:07.024]And so you'll see that in the future they predict
[00:16:10.112]that by 2030 robots will be on the battlefield.
[00:16:12.753]We already have robots flying around the sky.
[00:16:15.669]And of course for the last several years,
[00:16:17.990]for two decades or more,
[00:16:19.809]all the really serious scientific research done
[00:16:22.120]in space has been done by robots.
[00:16:23.953]This example is the SpaceX robotic aircraft spacecraft
[00:16:29.217]that's refueling the space station.
[00:16:31.475]But today you can find robots
[00:16:33.230]in all kinds of situations around us.
[00:16:37.142]The SoftBanks Pepper robot is being introduced
[00:16:41.579]in retail shops as a kind of shopping assistant
[00:16:43.984]right now in the United States.
[00:16:45.780]In Tokyo, there's a robot hotel were 90%
[00:16:48.476]of the tasks in the hotel are done by robots.
[00:16:51.025]In Beijing and in San Francisco there are robot restaurants.
[00:16:53.997]And in Berlin this robot bartender
[00:16:56.157]will mix a drink to your specifications.
[00:16:59.493]But remember, robots are just a manifestation
[00:17:02.220]of software automation.
[00:17:03.853]So robots are a subset of automation.
[00:17:06.413]Automation is much broader,
[00:17:07.638]but it's invisible, it's intangible.
[00:17:08.887]Software automation is not something we can see.
[00:17:11.336]And it's often presented in the press
[00:17:13.403]as a scary thing as it is here.
[00:17:15.380]This giant tornado that's wiping away desk-based jobs.
[00:17:19.266]It's always presented as a threat.
[00:17:20.785]So here we have the Financial Times and it says,
[00:17:22.882]that software automation is a threat to employment,
[00:17:26.065]a threat to jobs in the future.
[00:17:27.779]And most of the frenzy in the press on this topic
[00:17:30.161]of automation and the robot apocalypse
[00:17:32.734]that will take away all of our jobs and so forth,
[00:17:34.561]most of that stemmed from a research
[00:17:37.018]that was done at Oxford University
[00:17:38.856]and was released about four years ago.
[00:17:41.085]Two researchers there did analysis of jobs
[00:17:43.987]in the United States and they found that half the jobs,
[00:17:45.957]47% of the jobs, are highly repetitive
[00:17:48.401]and therefore susceptible to be replaced by robots.
[00:17:51.927]Now that's a very important thing
[00:17:52.899]as we think about the future of education.
[00:17:54.455]We think, well what are we training people
[00:17:55.803]to do in the future if after decades and decades
[00:17:58.998]of deskilling work we've made it possible
[00:18:01.786]for half the jobs to be replaced by software automation?
[00:18:04.518]What kind of world are we preparing students for?
[00:18:07.106]It's certainly not a world of factories
[00:18:08.606]or factory-based jobs.
[00:18:10.712]But in fact that's how our education system is set up.
[00:18:13.693]Sir Ken Robinson is the one who's pointed out
[00:18:17.866]that the public education system in the United States
[00:18:19.003]and the UK was principally designed to train future workers.
[00:18:23.527]So we had students taught in the one room schoolhouse,
[00:18:27.056]but even today, taught to sit in orderly rows
[00:18:29.062]of desks so that they can sit in orderly rows
[00:18:31.217]in factories and sit in orderly rows in front of machines.
[00:18:35.461]And similarly, at public schools across the country,
[00:18:38.552]children are taught to stand in line.
[00:18:41.087]They're taught to stand in line so that they'll be ready
[00:18:42.860]to stand in line at the factory
[00:18:44.150]and perhaps more appropriately to stand
[00:18:45.866]in line at the soup kitchen when the jobs are eliminated.
[00:18:49.716]And so in many ways our education system today
[00:18:51.964]contains a mimetic echo of the past.
[00:18:54.336]It's got built into it assumptions that are very old.
[00:18:56.750]In fact, they predate the automobile.
[00:18:58.758]They predate mass manufacturing.
[00:19:01.005]I would argue that the education system
[00:19:03.103]that we have today is dominated by 500-year-old concept,
[00:19:08.159]You see, the book, as Marshall McLuhan explains;
[00:19:10.944]the book is the very first mass-produced product.
[00:19:13.678]It's the very first mass-produced information product.
[00:19:16.966]And that concept of division of labor was perfected
[00:19:19.740]in Venice in the early printing houses were one person
[00:19:23.537]would be a typesetter, another person would be melting lead,
[00:19:25.840]and two other people there
[00:19:27.805]are working the press in that picture.
[00:19:28.985]And that's the idea that Henry Ford borrowed
[00:19:30.894]when he created the assembly line.
[00:19:33.060]That idea that you can use division of labor.
[00:19:34.968]Get people specialized on a task
[00:19:36.749]and you can create things at a much greater scale.
[00:19:39.692]Now the printing press also made it possible
[00:19:41.225]for the modern concept of mass education
[00:19:43.500]to happen the way we deliver education today.
[00:19:46.094]The picture on the left shows you a lecture.
[00:19:48.707]And the university lecture is a format
[00:19:51.263]that's over 1000 years old and that was because
[00:19:55.113]in those days books were very scarce,
[00:19:57.743]and so someone could read to a group of people.
[00:19:59.919]It's a bit like the setup
[00:20:01.442]that we have right now in this room.
[00:20:02.409]Someone's presenting, everyone else is listening.
[00:20:04.869]But the idea that you can have a classroom full
[00:20:06.556]of students who could all have an exactly identical copy
[00:20:10.445]of the same manuscript and they can all be
[00:20:12.809]on the exact same page, that is a byproduct
[00:20:16.260]of the printing press.
[00:20:17.831]That's a byproduct of the book.
[00:20:19.790]Now what's very interesting is that you can see
[00:20:22.585]that the book then shaped the way the classroom looks.
[00:20:25.137]That photo on the right there is a good illustration
[00:20:28.114]of way classrooms are set up today,
[00:20:29.957]the way we think about education,
[00:20:31.521]all of this is kind of derived from this notion of the book.
[00:20:35.225]But what's very odd to me is that when I visit universities
[00:20:38.300]I notice that we set up our computer labs
[00:20:40.857]in the exact same set up.
[00:20:42.540]And it's no surprise to me
[00:20:44.655]that no one's in these computer labs.
[00:20:45.956]Whenever you visit a school
[00:20:47.015]you notice they're completely empty.
[00:20:48.758]Because when you look at what students are actually doing
[00:20:50.497]with computers in a lecture room,
[00:20:51.773]if you stand in the back of the lecture room,
[00:20:53.077]you notice they're looking at cat videos
[00:20:54.332]on YouTube during the lecture.
[00:20:57.384]I think it's time for us to rethink everything.
[00:20:59.567]I think we have to really sit down
[00:21:01.191]and have a fundamental rethink of what education is about.
[00:21:04.114]And of course the question I would pose to you,
[00:21:05.681]is will the university be vaporized?
[00:21:07.608]I think you know where I'm going with this.
[00:21:09.357]You can probably predict my own feeling about it.
[00:21:11.534]What I do notice is that every time I've had
[00:21:13.909]that conversation with universities
[00:21:15.821]and faculty across the country,
[00:21:18.097]I've encountered a lot of resistance of this notion.
[00:21:21.328]There are a lot of professors I've spoken to that said,
[00:21:23.109]no you'll never replace the on-campus experience.
[00:21:25.398]But then I also notice
[00:21:26.342]that every major North American University
[00:21:28.340]now has a free version of their curriculum
[00:21:29.996]streaming on the World Wide Web.
[00:21:32.237]So it seems a contradiction in terms.
[00:21:34.115]Now you might wonder, why would a private college
[00:21:36.531]that charges 60,000 dollars a year tuition
[00:21:39.433]offer their product for free on the Internet?
[00:21:42.799]Seems kind of counterintuitive, doesn't it?
[00:21:45.003]The answer to that question is that they have no choice.
[00:21:48.659]Because venture funded startup companies like Udacity
[00:21:51.696]and Udemy and Coursera are coming along
[00:21:54.816]and they have a mission to scale their educational programs
[00:21:58.060]to serve billions of students, because they understand
[00:22:00.535]that in this coming information economy we need
[00:22:03.087]to train many, many more people
[00:22:04.952]than the physical universities can accommodate.
[00:22:07.470]The student they're going after will never set foot
[00:22:09.399]on campus at Harvard, or MIT.
[00:22:12.910]They're trying to reach a global audience.
[00:22:14.850]They're trying to scale up to them.
[00:22:16.052]And so there's tremendous pressure
[00:22:17.279]being introduced by these moves.
[00:22:19.106]The interface, the way people access these schools,
[00:22:22.155]is typical going to be through a mobile device.
[00:22:24.850]And that mobile device is important.
[00:22:27.027]As educators, we have to be aware
[00:22:28.623]that the mobile phone has transformed our students.
[00:22:30.893]It's changed their expectations
[00:22:32.685]in some dramatic and very profound ways.
[00:22:36.273]For a generation that grew up
[00:22:37.807]with ubiquitous broadband access to mobile devices,
[00:22:40.069]the letters W-W-W don't stand for World Wide Web,
[00:22:43.103]they stand for whatever, wherever, whenever.
[00:22:47.477]And that's their expectation.
[00:22:48.854]They expect that they should be able
[00:22:50.103]to command media on their terms.
[00:22:51.279]They are not the subject of mass media.
[00:22:53.466]They're the driver of it.
[00:22:54.802]They're the commander of it.
[00:22:55.938]They control the consumption of their media.
[00:22:58.748]They control their media habits.
[00:22:59.878]They get to experience what they want,
[00:23:01.268]when they want it, on their own terms.
[00:23:03.550]And we need to cater that.
[00:23:04.383]We need to respond to that,
[00:23:05.250]because that expectation is big then.
[00:23:07.648]When I work with major media companies,
[00:23:09.294]I try to encourage them to make room
[00:23:11.220]for the three and a half billion people
[00:23:13.020]that are already using the Internet.
[00:23:15.106]By the time students graduate from this school,
[00:23:17.380]from the Johnny Carson School,
[00:23:18.863]there'll be five billion people using the Internet.
[00:23:21.194]And I would encourage students to bake that
[00:23:22.867]into their assumptions about what media and arts will be.
[00:23:26.011]When we think about people who are audiences
[00:23:28.340]of digital media, we must think of them
[00:23:31.758]as a kind of activated audience.
[00:23:34.372]And as a creator of digital media,
[00:23:36.141]you cast your audience
[00:23:37.449]the same way you cast actors into roles.
[00:23:39.641]You cast your audience, you give them something to do,
[00:23:42.273]not just to sit there and watch,
[00:23:43.614]you give them something to do.
[00:23:45.188]So if it's a game,
[00:23:46.591]if there's a game-based marketing component to your product,
[00:23:49.593]well then of course they're gonna players and participants.
[00:23:51.814]But if it's a content experience,
[00:23:53.931]then your audience can be commenters,
[00:23:55.799]or they can be curators,
[00:23:56.893]or they can be discussion moderators.
[00:23:58.533]And of course, with online marketing and social media,
[00:24:00.919]they can become influencers and contributors as well.
[00:24:03.934]With the advent of crowdfunding and crowd sourced financing
[00:24:06.736]there are other roles for the audience.
[00:24:08.379]They can now become participants by investing
[00:24:10.650]in a program, investing in a new product,
[00:24:12.509]or even investing in a company.
[00:24:14.212]Of course, then they become evangelists for it.
[00:24:15.727]They have a stake in the success so they're gonna try
[00:24:18.208]to encourage other people to experience it.
[00:24:20.833]So I want us to think beyond the book.
[00:24:22.315]I want us to think in these next two days as we start
[00:24:25.284]to think about the future curriculum for this school,
[00:24:28.809]I want us to try to shed the assumptions
[00:24:30.785]that have been baked in about what education is,
[00:24:33.085]how it's presented, and how it should be consumed
[00:24:35.425]and start to understand the dynamics of the living network.
[00:24:38.351]I'm going to just briefly go through
[00:24:40.321]this one boring slide with you because I think
[00:24:42.113]this is the important takeaway for this part.
[00:24:45.393]So when we think about education beyond Gutenberg
[00:24:48.315]and moving past the Gutenberg legacy,
[00:24:50.572]the Gutenberg legacy gives us static content
[00:24:52.778]that's presented in fixed media.
[00:24:54.819]It doesn't change when you use it.
[00:24:57.317]It's a one-way presentation to a passive audience.
[00:24:59.773]And it's always involving a physical place,
[00:25:03.080]a classroom and a campus.
[00:25:06.754]But with digital media,
[00:25:08.852]we can move away from that to something rather new.
[00:25:12.692]The living network.
[00:25:14.357]The interactive network allows us
[00:25:15.654]to present a dynamic knowledge-base that responds
[00:25:19.432]and grows and changes and is shaped by the users themselves.
[00:25:23.838]And it can be presented in interactive responsive media
[00:25:27.078]that we participate in.
[00:25:28.084]So that passive audience shifts
[00:25:29.917]and becomes an active co-creator in the experience.
[00:25:33.871]And that's a cool vision for a school of the future I think.
[00:25:36.565]My vision is that school education can be presented
[00:25:40.141]at anytime, anyplace, on any screen, on any device,
[00:25:42.869]to any student in the world.
[00:25:46.295]And that program won't be subject
[00:25:48.075]to the rules of mass media.
[00:25:49.330]It'll be personalized and responsive.
[00:25:51.173]It'll conform to the expectations
[00:25:53.303]and the use habits of that audience.
[00:25:55.800]And we think then thereby we may be able
[00:25:57.465]to cultivate a habit of lifelong learning.
[00:25:59.735]This idea that you go to school for four years
[00:26:01.798]and you kinda fill up the gas tank of knowledge
[00:26:03.748]and then you're gonna go embark on a 40-year career.
[00:26:06.888]That idea is a thing of the past.
[00:26:08.456]All of us now are tasked with responsibility
[00:26:10.281]to think and grow and continue to learn.
[00:26:13.810]We wanna teach our students that habit.
[00:26:16.445]That lifelong learning habit.
[00:26:19.284]Now with respect to the emerging digital arts
[00:26:21.863]or emerging media arts.
[00:26:23.092]I wanna end with a few thoughts about
[00:26:24.711]what the students at this school,
[00:26:27.176]what subject matter they might focus on.
[00:26:31.339]I've presented you with a number of ideas
[00:26:32.684]that are very challenging and very disturbing.
[00:26:36.238]And for a lot of people today right now,
[00:26:38.118]that creates tension, tremendous tension,
[00:26:39.766]some source of anxiety.
[00:26:41.243]And I think that dynamic transformation may be
[00:26:44.296]at the heart of what these students will focus on
[00:26:46.581]at the Johnny Carson School.
[00:26:49.209]They'll focus on platforms.
[00:26:51.282]They'll focus on the future of platforms.
[00:26:54.070]And they'll engage in a debate
[00:26:55.226]about whether those platforms should be open or closed.
[00:26:59.928]Of course, connected to those platforms
[00:27:01.574]is this notion of control.
[00:27:03.478]I think control is gonna become a very important topic
[00:27:05.573]when people design interactive media experiences
[00:27:07.788]and digital arts.
[00:27:10.075]And control is really a debate about whether the future
[00:27:14.527]of our digital network should be decentralized,
[00:27:17.367]that was the original promise of what Web 1.0,
[00:27:20.543]a decentralized content system.
[00:27:22.899]But today, Web 2.0 has led us
[00:27:24.491]to this highly consolidated world,
[00:27:27.156]highly centralized knowledge bases,
[00:27:30.059]where data assets are hoarded by gigantic companies.
[00:27:33.364]David Weinberger had a great phrase in the early days
[00:27:36.225]of the web, he called it small pieces loosely joined.
[00:27:40.484]But I would describe today's web
[00:27:42.015]as large chunks tightly integrated.
[00:27:44.629]And so we've really had a tremendous swing
[00:27:46.505]from one direction to the other.
[00:27:48.868]Perhaps Web 3.0 will go back
[00:27:50.542]in the direction of decentralization.
[00:27:51.886]Perhaps the students at this school
[00:27:53.311]will play a role in articulating that.
[00:27:55.775]I believe there's gonna be a debate
[00:27:57.123]and a dynamic tension around the concept of identity,
[00:27:59.206]in particular, what of my identity do I own?
[00:28:04.307]And what part of my identity is owned by somebody else
[00:28:07.842]as a data asset in their database?
[00:28:11.818]And finally one other thought,
[00:28:13.445]very timely for the moment that we're in,
[00:28:16.196]this quest for truth.
[00:28:19.566]The notion of truth.
[00:28:20.907]The notion that there can be a truth
[00:28:23.385]has become something that's challenged.
[00:28:25.825]That's pulled into question right now,
[00:28:28.768]as we're subject to so much fake news and fake allegations
[00:28:32.023]of fake news and this kind of counterclaiming
[00:28:34.756]that's going on right now.
[00:28:36.324]I think our students in the future will have
[00:28:38.008]to contend with the notion of despair
[00:28:42.432]that several generations are experiencing right now
[00:28:46.221]as our shared notion of a consensus reality collapses
[00:28:50.871]and is under assault, and the idea
[00:28:52.584]that you can invent your own truth
[00:28:53.921]or fabricate your own truth and live by that.
[00:28:56.337]That's a novel, new idea.
[00:28:58.754]And I hope that the students at this school
[00:29:00.577]will explore that idea as well.
[00:29:01.797]And so it's with those thoughts that I introduce you
[00:29:04.457]to this concept of thinking about the future of education.
[00:29:07.945]I'm Robert Tercek and I'm very, very excited to be here
[00:29:10.933]and to participate in this conversation with you today.
[00:29:16.222](lighthearted piano music)
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