Fraser Speirs – A Supercomputer in Every Backpack

My youngest daugh­ter, Beth, started school last week. She’s four and a half and has never known a world in which the iPhone did not exist. She has never known a world in which 24×7 con­nec­tiv­ity to the Inter­net was an impos­si­ble sci-fi dream. I sup­pose her start­ing school led me to reflect on what her school life will be like.

Con­sider the basic time­line: Beth won’t leave school until the sum­mer of 2025. Assum­ing we still have uni­ver­si­ties by then, she’ll be be launched into the world wav­ing her degree from the Uni­ver­sity of Hyder­abad in the sum­mer of 2029.

The ques­tion is sim­ple: is there any plau­si­ble non-apocalyptic sce­nario in which tech­nol­ogy is less preva­lent, less widely dis­trib­uted and less embed­ded in our cul­ture in 2029 than it is in 2011? I sim­ply can’t imag­ine one.

The GSMA pre­dict that there will be 50,000,000,000 con­nected devices on the planet by the year 2025. Think about that: by the time Beth leaves school, there will be some­thing like seven Internet-connected devices on the planet for every person.

To para­phrase William Gib­son, ubiq­ui­tous com­put­ing is here — it’s just not built into the fur­ni­ture. We don’t have smart floors or LCD walls, sen­sor grids in the ceil­ings or the Inter­net on our fridge. We are almost all, how­ever, car­ry­ing a pocket device that con­nects at some level to the net­work. The flood of smart­phones only increases their capabilities.

We are already at a point where the ratio of pro­fes­sion­als to com­put­ers is 1:2. A lap­top and a smart­phone are stan­dard equip­ment in our soci­ety. With the advent of the tablet, we may be mov­ing towards or beyond three com­put­ers per person.

The fact of the mat­ter, though, is that this ubiq­uity of com­put­ing devices is not reflected in most schools.

via Fraser Speirs – A Super­com­puter in Every Back­pack. Same prob­lem I’ve been think­ing about for a long time, our edu­ca­tion sys­tem is built for the jobs of the past not the jobs of the future.

Web Developer, constant student, backpacker and hater of the Oxford comma.

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