Brave New World 1 and 2
Brave New World
Father Tom listened to the child as he requested his playlist on the music computer in the kitchen. “Alexa play my umm playlist,” he said half heartedly and far too casually. His father smiled to himself as he heard the overconfident child’s less than effective effort. The ever patient computer asked for clarification, “I don’t know that one.” Tom felt pity for the poor computer. The child soon improved his request and thought about what he was saying before he said it. Alexa found the music his son wanted on his playlist and played it. The child had learned his lesson well, but his father just knew that next time he would probably rush into it and make the same mistake again. But the patient computer would patiently ask for improvement in the request again until the child spoke clearly and at the right volume, instead of mumbling.
Tom had an idea. “Why don’t we put kids in front of these computers at school, maybe in the classroom? It would certainly teach them to talk well and clearly. The interaction might well be better than a teacher could provide, and the computer might not be subjected to the windups the real teachers often had to put up with. A computer would have a lot more patience than a live teacher. Perhaps placing children in small groups or individually with the computers might make the learning and lessons of communication and sociability more effective.”
Brave New World 2
Fast Forward 10 years. The kids sit in rows, like exam tables, each with a small console and a screen on their desk, and headphones, so they were not listening to each other. Each is being taught at their own level by their computer, including visual where appropriate. These are interactive lessons. The kids speak into mouthpieces as they learn.
Robot teachers prowl around in case any of the more wayward children should think to leave their consoles.
What has happened to all the teachers? They set syllabuses still, selecting from approved packages and learning materials, but there aren’t as many of them now, and they prefer to leave most of the front line duties to the robots, who never tire, and somehow carry more authority.
The kids look dulled and depressed, but they are learning. Their best friends are now their new computerized teachers, or their mobile phones and personal computers at home. They are not allowed their personal phones during the day, until the end of school. They are not encouraged to talk to the other kids except at lunch time. At lunch time they stand around in the playground looking at each other, wishing they were in the company of their computers, rather than their supposed friends, who they think they have little in common with.