Archive for October, 2015

The alternative to cutting edge education is slavery

October 18, 2015

I was watching this:

What does work look like in a data driven economy?

I think our collective mistake was the lack of innovation, experimentation and improvement in education. In the 70’s we already had big movie and television studios making very advanced media. If tens if not hundreds of millions of people have to learn something (in each language) there should be plenty of room for a big budget production.

However attached people are to the idea of torturing kids though a text book and however appealing the idea of discipline is, you are going to lose a large percentage of the audience and many who tried learned only part of it or forgot most of it by lack of utility. You have to compare things side by side without attaching artificial value to the new or the old ways. We could replace sesame street with a text book listing the numbers from 1 to 12 then use force to have the kid learn to count but is that really a superior solution or are you just being a sadist for thinking it is? After sesame street came a large media void where we seemingly didn’t need to learn anything else.

in the 80-90’s we had great computing, there was cool stuff but also a learning curve, the reward for learning how things work was that it allowed you to create and do absolutely everything you could imagine doing with a computer. Stuff was not very complicated so it was worth learning it.

One could argue people refused to learn the basics but we could have shown them this on the Tee Vee in madly informative formats. Games at the time were written by 14 year olds in machine code or assembly, simply having the 14 year old do a code review or drawing a hero for a game should be exiting enough on its own, the studio wouldn’t have to do much to make it interesting enough to watch but they could have, there is always getting the audio right, switching between cameras, inserting cut-scenes etc etc.

Not knowing the highest programming power level was obtainable and not enjoying aid in the process the now uninformed people wanted windos for the purpose of being exploited. Big money got in, they closed the door behind them and everyone was very exited about their new found prison.

Of course one couldn’t actually do anything meaningful with a computer without being a developer so we wrote billions of web pages about everything under the horizon while big money created new prisons out of every viable idea.

A thousand useless programming languages were developed each trying to appeal to the oblivious masses on its own.

In the 80’s one could just learn all of the machine instructions, had we made that part of the 13 year olds education the creation of something as awful as the x86 monstrosity would have died from the laughter.

If real programming was only going to be used by a hand full of elite corporate coders the language design had little requirements to live up to, on the contrary! The harder it was to use the more effective the vendor lock in. The English language is being updated all the time, someone invents a new word, if it is nice or useful to others they will adopt it. If no one likes it it wont be used. There is a lot of scrutiny and constructive criticism going on. Without human requirements the machine language execution speed had priority in the design. A new instruction couldn’t be overly awkward if it improved speed.

The powers available to the 1985ish programmer included pushing a button that would freeze the computer and display an editor that allowed you to edit the “running” program, then after making the modification you could continue running it(!) You could make changes in seconds and see the results straightaway. You could save the whole thing to disk and continue running it at a later date, right where you left of.

Of course people really tried to develop so called higher languages but in the beginning there are few people involved who have to hammer out a whole new language, mistakes will be made but more importantly the billions of people who should be using it are not involved in the design. Yes, things are getting more complex all the time, people wouldn’t even know how and the learning curve in 2015 is so high that no single person knows how all existing languages work, what their advantages are or how they deal with their shortcomings.

It’s a jungle out there and all the fun code projects are locked into prisons.

Take the www, I believe it all started with the mosaic browser or it at least contributed greatly to the experience. Where is mosaic now? If you search a bit you can find and download it but you cant use it, it will crash on your modern pc. So where is the source code? Where is this most significant bit of history? We do have Columbus ship journal from 1492, are we to argue that was really not all that important to keep? Would we have a king James bible if existing texts were closed source unavailable and copyrighted? Or are we to assume the internet is really one of the insignificant discoveries, you know, just like aviation and the steam engine? I’m sure we had a good number of previous civilizations where the knowledge was to be preserved by a small group of insiders. It is not hard to imagine what happened with their knowledge or how the loss of it affected society.

Education offered a great opportunity for everyone to participate in software and hardware development in the 80’s. It didn’t happen, we created an endless number of prisons, you cant escape and there is no way out. And so it happened, we now have a kind of vulture developer who thinks this is the way to go. The one track mind of: How do I exploit other people? Even open source developers cant even make a website anymore, will scream at you for posting a link to yours as if your labor of love is something nasty worth hating on, you spammer! Then the FOSS people think their users should find their creations by sheer magic. 1) Cant make a website 2) cant write documentation 3) uhhhh??? It again isn’t hard to see where this train without rails is going.

I mean, isn’t it nice? You get to work for free to make money for billionaires. If the law would allow it they would have you sign slave ownership agreements. In stead they created the next best thing. Every time you say it is okay and that you don’t mind they go a little bit further. Like where you are actually not allowed to monetize your youtube catvideo channel by making a deal with pooptards directly. Facebook can strip your amazone code from your link whenever they like to. Or replace it with their own, even better!

There are upsides to the seemingly sad story. Knowing what happened allows us to prevent doing it again and again.

One of the major things held back by our collective lack of training and expertise was the internet of things. In the 80’s computer nerds still had welding irons, it was a completely sensible thing to move on to. But then it was all impossible all of a sudden, creating or hooking into hardware was no longer stuff for the amateur. Also, the machines were incredibly expensive but in the 90’s you could send your 3d design to a machine shop and they would carve it out of the material of your choice.

These logical 2 revolutions are about to take off. A smart coffee machine makes as little sense as a smart phone but when we have one and the software matures we cant imagine living without. Why one would want to 3D print anything is also a dubious question but when it gets cheap enough the existing factory can print the products of the future.

If you download and install blender you get overwhelmed by the number of tools. Is it really so hard to imagine making some Tee Vee programs that teach you how to use it in a fun to watch way? (Where is that guy in the bird suit when we need him?) Having the school teacher help the kids learn how to draw things in 3D? Is that hard to imagine? It should be easier than we think It is not like you are carving a statue out of a block of marble the material is endlessly forgiving.

What would be the difference between having a few thousands designers or having a few billion? What would be a reasonable budget to obtain this giant leap forwards? We can spend 600 million to do an amo drop in the middle east, we can spend many billions to host millions of refugees in an effort to get rid of the Syrian government(?!) We can spend trillions in Afghanistan and the middle east (don’ t ask me why) Billions to save banks so that they can pay those same billions in bonuses at the end of the year. Boy, we must be really wealthy if we can waste money like that. Why not spend on the obvious thing that will create the next industrial revolution? Lets not do the minimalistic cheap ass version. Lets have tony stark teach us the magic of 3D printing in an over produced “unlimited” budget type of setting. Lets all sit in awe in front of our monitors and “accidentally” learn that what we need to create the next revolution. If he knows the basics the 13 year old will go wild on the idea of printing his own house when he is 18. Why would his employer not be impressed by that? I certainly would be.

Thanks for your time and dare to dream a bit will you? 😉