Re: Solving World Problems: Step 1

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Tue Jan 08 2002 - 12:22:04 MST

On Tue, Jan 08, 2002 at 09:19:04AM -0800, Brian D Williams wrote:
> I've been pondering the basic question of educationing the masses
> of the currently uneducated.
> My favorite paradigm is Neal Stephanson's "Diamond Age" or "A young
> Ladies Illustrated Primer".

It is the holy grail: adaptive to near AI levels, able to determine
suitable information and equipped with a huge knowledge base. Of course,
it is also entirely imaginary, so Stephenson could make it work
wonderfully with an authorial fiat.

> What if instead of waiting for the hardware, we were to attempt to
> immplement this in software, via the WWW. The anyone could access
> it via an appropriately equipped Internet connection/device.

Yes, this would be a good start. Even a sufficiently good prototype
would be useful, since it could be used to demonstrate the concept and
get many relief and educational organisations involved in the
development and application.

The problem is to find a suitable education domain - a real Primer would
be too hard, but a too specialized version would be less interesting.
One possibility would be simple read/write/computer skills, which would
both be necessary as a basis for more ambitious systems and a good
standalone introductory system (and if it could provide enough skills to
use the WWW, it might simply point further and enable more individual
> The initial version could be in english, but readily translatable.

This is an important point. Language barriers are powerful, and easily
missed when one is multilingual or used to always speaking english.

The wikipedia reference suggests that beside WWW, it might be
interesting to look for other networked systems such as P2P for ideas. I
got very inspired this morning by readinf part 2 of the E-sheep cartoon
"The Spiders" ( where a very suggestive
idea was introduced (but the author skirts the messy translation issue).

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Fri Nov 01 2002 - 13:37:33 MST