EDU: Institutes of Verification

Eliezer Yudkowsky (
Sat, 04 Jan 1997 18:55:03 -0600

> I have to disagree. Grades and degrees reflect that you did the work
> expected of you. They do not reflect that you learned anything. This may
> be a fault of the system more than anything, but I don't think grades or
> degrees reflect knowledge. I know many people who have degrees in technical
> fields who are unqualified by any other standard. I have gotten mediocre
> grades in classes because I didn't do any of the homework, even though I got
> A's on all the exams and was possibly more qualified than the teacher.
> Schools are ineffective because they don't reward learning. They reward work.

Schools are ineffective due to a short-circuit: Simple presence in
class is taken as evidence of learning. Schools are being paid for
degrees and the other proofs-of-learning that are required on the
resume. They are not being paid for actual LEARNING or job skills, per

To fix this problem, change the line required on the resume from:
"Springfield School of Psychiatry and Pinball-Machine Repair: M.D."
"National Institute of Cognitive Sciences Verificiation:
Professional-level skills: psychopharmocology (98.3%), neurology
(99.2%), and psychoanalysis (94.4%)."

Note that the latter line is an Institute of Verification; you don't
actually go there to learn, you go there to *have your learning
verified*. If you haven't learned enough in school, you fail. Since
verification is much less time-consuming than education, I of Vs can
devote much more time and detail to the process, serve much larger
populations, and present far more valuable information to employers.

Stop the short circuit between education and verification, cheating
employers and students alike!

--       Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

Disclaimer:  Unless otherwise specified, I'm not telling you
everything I think I know.