technological singularity… the machines have taken over… humans are the fuel now. Just kidding humans created the machines we are certainly smarter than the machines and artificial intelligence… that take over did not happen.
2050, that’s 30 years down the road from when the world had to take a break. As I see it that’s 30years of innovation and intellectual growth which humans used very well to figure out where they had gone wrong, we course corrected. Now humans exist in harmony with the rest of the world. The digital footprint has reduced significantly and we do not interfere with nature as much as we used to back in the years prior to 2020. The Covid-19 crisis taught us the futility of being cavalier with nature. It showed us how a non-organism could put paid to all our claims to being the highest form of intelligence on this planet and bring our best laid plans to naught. A virus, which technically exists in the gray area between living and non-living, brought the world to a grinding halt for a full two years! Two years of introspection taught the world about the importance of quality over quantity.
Today, in 2050, everyone is a student and everyone is a teacher. People have understood that one can learn something or the other from anyone else. Even a new born has something to teach full grown adults, the art of patience and discipline for starters. While earlier the world just paid lip service to the phrase “respect for labor” today in 2050 it is actually being observed. Businesses are not cheating consumers anymore by being focused on maximizing profits alone, they are actually involved in solving problems. Students are genuinely interested in learning and not attending school just because the parents need them to, no, they attend school because they are actually interested in the journey of learning.
School curricula has become fluid to the point of being almost non-existent. Every morning every child is free to float. They pick up any topic they wish to learn about and then technology tailors their day in a manner such that by the end of the day they have garnered enough knowledge about the topic to allow them to decide whether they wish to go deeper into the topic or it isn’t really as fascinating as it had seemed. There is definitely a structure to the whole learning process since without structure the coasting around could become pointless. This is the area where Artificial Intelligence has contributed heavily, evaluation of various parameters of a child’s physiological and mental structure and extrapolation against established models now allows parents and teachers to understand their children and their interests much better. Accordingly they are offered topics everyday for research. This has ensured everyone loves what they are learning and nothing is being loaded onto their backs just because it is part of the syllabus. A truly tailor-made education system that makes for happy individuals.
Some unavoidable chores have been added to each students daily list of activities. These pertain to taking care of themselves and their surroundings and ensuring that children do not grow up without understanding the value of and respect for labour. Again these are inculcated as habits in each child so they’re not looked upon as punishments or even labour. For instance every child is expected to contribute in growing food for the school cafeteria, clean the school premises (be it grounds, class rooms, computer labs, play areas, common areas or even the toilets). The concept of uniforms has been done away with and students wear whatever they feel comfortable in, as long as it is made of linen cotton and uses only natural dyes (exceptions of course exist for the athletes but the focus is on comfort and sensibility). The idea is to not cause distractions through stark colors and keep the uniforms breathable and comfortable thereby reducing and even eliminating the use of air-conditioners. Electricity usage has come down to almost a 100th of what it was just 30 years back. Students are all enrolled at schools that are within walking distance from their residential quarters. Each school is the same so there is no reason to hanker after one school or the other. Teachers are the highest paid professionals in the world now, so that ensures that each school has the best teachers possible. The salary normalization has led to a further reduction in the struggle to get into coveted schools, now each school is coveted. Because students walk to school the pollution and traffic on the roads has also reduced considerably. Even adults now attend office from co-working locations when required or else work from home which further resulted in cleaning up the environment. Here technology played a big role and made working from home so much more attainable for almost 70% of the workers. Because all students walk an average of 4 km daily it has meant that obesity issues have also been resolved, children are automatically fit and calm due to the serotonin and dopamine release that happens after a nice brisk walk. They also have a healthy appetite which means no fussy eaters anymore. Because they grow and prepare their own food they respect the value of the food and do not waste it. A 360 degree approach to developing more responsible, mindful, intelligent individuals has resulted in a reduction in overall greed and ego clashes.
Somehow over these thirty years humankind figured out equal distribution of wealth and as a result greed and angst gave way to co-operation and dissolving of borders between individuals and countries. Everyone shares and everyone cares. Yes technology is there but mostly in the background facilitating rerouting of resources in the situations arising out of climatic conditions. The earth has healed significantly and global warming is no more an issue in fact now extremes in weather are an once in a blue moon rarity, unlike what used to the situation back in 2020. In a way life is much less complicated for everyone and that has made the process of learning take center stage once again. Now students actually understand and innovate everyday. Simple solutions to complex problems are easily devised and implemented by students because they understand the basics so much more better now due to the holistic 360 degree education system where everything is accessible and yet nothing is mandatory or enforced. Now the student is not evaluated for his rote skills but more for his problem solving and application of knowledge abilities. Situation response and optimization of available resources is the parameter on which every student is evaluated.
In a nutshell a student today in 2050 is more about his mental capabilities and less about the technology that he can tap into. Yes technology is available however the quest is to solve problems without technology and machinery. We saw how the industrial revolution, then the digital and the GM food revolutiosn brought us to the edge of extinction. In the break that Covid-19 provided humans we learnt that the answer to human-kinds survival lay in the word “human-kind” itself. We had to become more human by distancing machines and technology from our selves and we had to become more kind by removing greed, disparity and despair from our lives. In 2050 we are well on our way to becoming humans again not because of AI, AR, IoT, ML and all that alphabet soup of technology but because we stopped to reflect and rediscovered “Human-kind”. Students are a happier much more creative and evolved species now than ever before…. and we have a non-organism to thank for it all… who knew!