As Shift Sight is primarily concerned with humane, sustainable edtech, the last few posts might have seemed out of place.
They are the preamble for this one. General tech typically becomes edtech due to profiteering, so the previous posts about what is happening outside the classroom is especially relevant.
Let's get back to school.
Scale it Up
My litmus test for a technology or a scenario is how it scales. If it works for one, will it also work for 10 billion? (Before you know it, that number will describe world population.)
From this, we can bin things on a spectrum of sustainability. Will it work for 1 billion? 1 million? 1000?
Shift Sight is aligned with self-development; this is an intrinsic human need and is an excellent match for a durable product.
I have no intention of disrupting an industry. I intend to repair it. There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come, and there is more and more awareness of the need for sustainability.
I wish that Jade were available today, but it is not in my capability to summon engineering feats faster than their organic timeline. Until Jade is delivered, industry is sending us further down the gadget hell spiral.
Consumer tech, as defined today, is not on a sustainable trajectory. Disruption frequently makes it worse.
In the quantum mechanical world, life is very strange. In many ways, it reflects our human life.
Do you see particle behavior or wave behavior? It actually depends on what you looked for.
Our tendency to believe what we see is an evolutionary advantage. Seeing is believing, they say. So, if I am screaming at you that I see wave behavior, and you are pounding your fist and insisting that you see particle behavior, are we both right or both wrong?
The human explanation is similar to the quantum one: individuals see what they look for.
Rarely do we find an answer to a question and immediately doubt its validity, asking for contradictory viewpoints. We do not search for the paradox where the answer and its contradiction are both correct.
This is why data and digital technology appeals to our human nature: it embodies solid answers, despite these measurements being largely illusory. People are uncomfortable with uncertainty. Seems like a wave, so it must be a waste of time to also check for a particle?
As a society, we have become obsessed with quantifying and measuring everything. This is the reason for Big Data's existence: if it can be measured, it must be concrete, and it must have a use. It is "certain."
It may be uncomfortable to accept, but there is no fixed, single answer to anything. Advertisements for technology promise solid answers. Answers are ultimately destinations. Answers do not serve a personal journey.
Quantum mechanics, which underpins our reality, is based on uncertainty. How we observe items determines their reality and changes them accordingly. The quantum answer is personal.
Edtech has not demonstrated an advantage over its low-tech counterparts. It is an answer to a question that never should have been asked. Consumer technology was not designed to enrich a personal journey.
Experiments with sensory deprivation always end with the same horrific results: people are social animals by design. We need human contact and human interaction. Human moments, too.
Technology is bubble wrap for human contact. We are connected, but not touched. An inadvertent side-effect of placing edtech in schools -- a safe environment -- is that it endorses technology as safe to impressionable minds. Big corporations know this and continue to push for their technology in schools to create customers for life.
In this regard, bubble-wrap-technology is like a less-extreme sensory deprivation tank. When the deprivation is not absolute, one has to worry about effects that are cumulative. We cannot have human moments when the human is on the other side of a glowing rectangle. Our brains know the difference.
Let's answer the question I posed earlier. What scales to 10 billion people? Teachers. Parents. Community. Touch.
Depriving people of touch has very drastic, immediate consequences (well-known even in 1988).
Depriving students of tactile feedback (via touchscreens) breaks the eye-hand-mind feedback loop that is crucial for development.
Technology is sterile. There is no human-to-human contact. Companies continue to develop technology that further breaks this loop. And it will find its way into edtech, as most consumer technology does.
This is one reason behind Jade's distance-limited network. We believe that learning activities should involve those that are in physical reach of you.
So, does Jade scale to 10 billion? No.
The Earth has an exponentially growing population and exponentially decreasing natural resources used to create technology. Why, then, are we not screaming about industry pushing disposable technology into schools while simultaneously ignoring a chronic teacher shortage? This is widening a mismatch between resources and needs.
Everything comes from the Earth. If we take care of it, it will take care of us.
Current technology serves to usher us from destination to destination, completely neglecting that it is the journey that makes us human. The struggle is what makes us better. The lack is what makes us appreciate what we have.
Jade is different from current digital technology. It is a tool that is designed for self-development without burdening its user. Once it is available, I am sure that you will find it is the most sustainable, humane choice for self-development while learning programming and electrical engineering.
We must never forget who we are and where we come from. We have a duty to each other, not to our technology, and not to our currency.
See you next week!
Ty is a Founder of Shift Sight, LLC.