The Solar Education Initiative

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Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
The Solar Education Initiative
The SEI aims at providing free education to as many transhumans as possible. It delivers a vast array of educational software, XP, simspaces, teacher AIs and pedagogical Muse modules - for free. Most of the edusoft is geared towards basic education (up to the old highschool level), although there exists various extensions all the way up to university level training in some subject. It is intended to work as standalone applications with no need for long-range Mesh links: once downloaded into a personal computing environment it can be studied at will, possibly with pedagogical support from the user’s muse or a packaged teacher AI. SEI is sponsored by the Planetary Consortium, the Morningstar Constellation and a number of the top universities of Mars. At first it might appear strange that the hypercapitalist Planetary Consortium sponsors free education, but it does so for pragmatic reasons. Thanks to the Autonomists and Argonauts, freeware education is always going to exist. It would be stupid not to meet this potential propaganda channel with something similar. Hence the PC supports the SEI as a bulwark against autonomist propaganda and as a way of educating people about its vision. The best thing is that autonomists have a hard time blocking free transmissions even when they regard them as insidious propaganda. Especially if they really are high quality, useful material that is hard to produce in the new economy. There is also a safety aspect to SEI. A well-educated and competent transhumanity is much more likely to survive future threats. By inoculating people against known dangerous memes, showing how to handle risky technologies safely and how to survive in a crisis SEI promotes a more resilient civilization. Autonomists of course claim the courses scare pupils into thinking that free nanofacture, AGI and the reputation economy is dangerous or unstable, but the information itself is entirely factual and useful – any bias lies in the selection and presentation. Nearly anybody born after the Fall has fond memories of Dr Drex and his course in toymaking (which is actually an introduction to home nanofacture, with elementary virtual design and nanosafety) and the hilarious misadventures of Rollo (practical safety: Rollo has managed to be crushed, hacked, decompressed, egonapped, disassembled, darkcasted, irradiated, eaten and everything else a careless transhuman could (and couldn’t) end up in). The universities that sponsor SEI also do so out of enlightened self-interest. They know that the better people are educated, the more they will want higher education. There will be more competition for the limited places at elite universities and the selected students will also be much better (since they can be selected from a larger pool of applicants and the average standard is higher). While the software and XP are free, there are numerous commercial upgrades giving access to deeper teaching, specialities and enticing edusims. Some of the software also allows you to unlock various goodies such as access to professional educasts and chances at scholarships at sponsoring schools and universities. Thanks to SEI the Consortium universities have a chance to attract some of the brightest and most curious young minds in the solar system. There are plenty of rumours that SEI edusofts spy on its users, reporting them to shadowy PC agencies. But then again, who knows what noname edusofts do to your children? The softs from TAU are certainly decent, but their well-meaning, doctrinaire Titan-brand of education annoys just as many people as are scared away by rumours about SEI trickery. In fact (and this is no doubt a source of great glee in the inner system), some Titanian youngsters use SEI edusofts just to outrage their parents. Some polities of course directly resist SEI. The Jovian Republic regards it as unadulterated propaganda and censors it fiercely. Many Brinkers also try to ignore the communications from the solar system they have seceded from. But bootleg edusofts have a surprising tendency to spread: parents want to give their kids (and themselves) education.
Extropian
Sepherim Sepherim's picture
Re: The Solar Education Initiative
Not to mention the economic benefits. Now days, almost all valuable work is related with information, information creation, investigation, or high level services. All the manual labor can be handled by robots or indentured, but they cannot create valuable things. For that you need education. And a good one.
Quincey Forder Quincey Forder's picture
Re: The Solar Education Initiative
Pratically, how does it work? how does a teen aged Average Joe's weekday schedule look like,if he's affiliated to the SEI funny thing is, the acronym means Star in Japanese I wonder about something else, too what dangerous memes are you referring to? And dangerous for whom? Transhumanity as a whole? the PC? MS?
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Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: The Solar Education Initiative
Quincey Forder wrote:
Pratically, how does it work? how does a teen aged Average Joe's weekday schedule look like,if he's affiliated to the SEI
You download some of the SEI software, and it gives you and your muse a study plan (parents usually do this for their kids), which the muse tailors for your need. Then you get various "games", "experiences" and lessons that get suggested at suitable points. For example, the basic maths module will pop up little number creatures in suitable situations who ask you to count things (think living in Sesame street), while more advanced math modules can involve adventures where problems have to be solved or immersive exploration together with an AI tutor of more complex concepts. A lot of this education starts out freeform: it triggers when a suitable situation comes up ("Hey, Joe! Do you want to know how you could handle that kind of situation better next time? Here is a social psychology trick...") or networks with other kids/adults who carre the same software to produce games ("In the iteration game, when you get a number you divide it by two if it is even, multiply it by three and add one if it is odd, and then throw it to somebody else. The winner is whoever ends up with he number one.") As the users get older the education is more like little interactive clips and films ("Today Rollo wants to visit a fusion reactor!"), where you have to master one to get access to others. Basically, it is self-paced but motivates you to focus because it both rewards you (even the harshest autonomist critics admit that a lot of the stuff is *fun*) and gently sets up a cooperating/competing network with others on the same level - you don't want your friends to outpace you, right?
Quote:
what dangerous memes are you referring to? And dangerous for whom? Transhumanity as a whole? the PC? MS?
Some dangerous memes are obvious: trying to make a seed AGI or turning off firewalls is bad. "Uncontrolled AGI, just say no!" Many are a bit more subtle, like the view that forking is entirely OK and that one can have several identities. That is dangerous to a certain conception of transhumanity, and perhaps the PC. Often the real omissions and biases are not obvious in a modern textbook. It takes a lot of knowledge to notice what fields are passed over quickly and what questions are not even asked.
Extropian
GJD GJD's picture
Re: The Solar Education Initiative
The "dangerous" memes will be different depending on the slant of the sponsoring faction, I would suggest. The Planetary Consortium would prpbably subtly promote situations and scenarios that endorse obedience to authority and the benefits of strong government and corporate life ("So, Jimmy, that's how a fusion reactor works. Aren't we lucky to have all this free energy provided by the Omnitech Power Corp" or "So, Jimmy, that's how your Kenwood MagiMaker creates your lunch for you, and we know it'll be healthy and nutritious thanks to the rules that our friends in the Planetary Consortium made about what Makers can and can't do!" ) , whilst the Morningstar Alliance version might be more favourable disposed towards scenarios that question the status quo or distrust authoritarian demagoguery (mangled that word without my fancy spellchecker...). G.