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Dr. Asimov predicts the internet decades ago

Today, as I made my daily rounds of lurking for interesting videos, I came across a remarkable 1988 PBS Bill…

By Hassan Arshad , in iWant to Learn , on February 24, 2011 Tags: , , , , ,

Today, as I made my daily rounds of lurking for interesting videos, I came across a remarkable 1988 PBS Bill Moyers’ interview of author, professor and prolific thinker, Dr. Isaac Asimov.

The interview left me awe-inspired at Asimov’s vision of the future and how similar it is to where we currently stand and where it is going.

In the video, Asimov predicted something decades before it came to be.  A network of computers that would lead people to virtual libraries full of any information that might interest someone. I’m sure this sounds pretty familiar to most of you.  But to really give Asimov credit, I think I’ll let him give his own explanation:

“Once we have outlets, computer outlets.  Each of them hooked up to libraries, enormous libraries where anyone can answer any question and be given answers, be given reference material, be something you are interested in knowing from an early age however silly it might seem to anyone.  Thats what you are interested in.  And you ask and you can find out and you can follow it up.  And you can do it in your own home at your own speed in your own direction and at your own time.  Then everyone will enjoy learning. “

As soon as I finished listening to this quote I immediately thought about Wikipedia. Which seems to epitomize what Asimov said in the video when speaking about “enormous libraries” that draw on the collective knowledge of human beings.

Now Wikipedia is only one example and just a part of what  Asimov talked about.  While his prediction is an almost perfect example of the internet in its current state, what really intrigued me was his thought that the standardization of education is what will lead to the such a change.  I will again let the late Asimov explain:

“Nowadays what people call learning is forced on you and everyone is forced to learn the same thing on the same day at the same speed in class, and everyone is different.   For some its too fast, for some too slow, and for some in the wrong direction.  But give them a chance in addition to school, I don’t say we abolish schools, but to give them a vision to follow up their own bend from the start.”

So, what do you think?  Is the standardization of education leading people to embrace technology?  And do take a look at the interview. I promise you won’t be dissatisfied.