Notes on Interview with Alan Kay

Posted: 1 April 2015 | Journal Home

If you're the smartest person in the room you should leave and go to the room where there is no one that is the smartest (Jim Watson). But in pop culture being the smartest person in the room is good.

Thomas Jefferson saw education for creating citizens. Most of the population was agricultural.

After 350 years of Boston being around street signs were put up. Culture was local and you didn't need to know the written word to know what street was which, you just knew.

The 1960's space race was based on fear of the Soviets and not for education. [Like the internet.]

Most people will not do things just because they are a good idea, it's not in human genome except for about 4% of people. Lyndon Johnson had to use dirty politics to get people to go along with Civil Rights.

When a juror of the OJ Simpson trial was leaving after the trial a reporter asked them what about the DNA evidence? The juror said oh, that's just science. [Can't confirm.] [Not all opinions are equal.]

Kids have almost no status.

The most important things done in society are by communities of people working together (Engelbart). [Is this why the NSF is so bad, no community?]

[Yet with so much knowledge the “brightest” are so dumb with the denial of God.]

Letters were made to make the sounds of oral speech. Before written there were pictures because reading and writing are not natural to humans.

Good ideas are unusual. Most ideas are not that good.

Virtually all learning is auto-didactic. You go to a school to find about things that you can't invent by yourself, you might not have found the right book for, be in a community of practice so you have more context on what you need to do. If you are doing well in the whole school thing you're not learning well. You don't see what's wrong in what's being taught and have very little knowledge from the whole. The Americans have the best high school education in the world but the problem is that you have to go to college to get it. That was the case in the ‘70s and '80s but now the level of proficiency in reading 2002-2003 years ago of college graduates only 42% were proficient in reading. A few years ago it's 31%. [The bar is lowered.] Producing a student with diploma is the sum of the educator. Because if colleges don't care whether a student can read and write no matter what major they are in they must be in a different business. It's performance for money. [like High Schools] Junior High/High School the students should argue-teach. That's not what cargo cults would want because that's psychological murder. But with all of that it's still worse not to go to college and stay away from the pop-culture. Take charge of your education. Learn everything then forget it except the perfume from it. (1:50:00)

K-12 the teacher doesn't write a composition but the students do. But with a guitar or tennis lesson the teacher is they're doing it. Alan assigns a couple of short essays a week for his college students and he let's the students pick his topic to write about. What is wrong with teachers that they don't participate. It may mean they don't like it and are just a dispenser. Most students aren't like that and are being asked to do something that isn't part of the social system. Teaching is a calling because you deal with the psyche of vulnerable people. Fixing high school isn't where the problem is, it's in elementary school. They should be like college students in high school. Foreign language should be age 3-4. [My idea of the stupidity of learning a foreign language in high school.] Major in something difficult, no Computer Science. Two majors, one rigid and organized (Physics) and one soft and not organized (Psychology). Just knowledge can't be a reasonable end to education because there is too much of it. (2:13:00)

Choose a university where you want to learn that school's theory. (2:23:00)

Education wouldn't be a problem if people were educated. There's no use complaining about the idiots who got it wrong. It's when people who know what they are doing and do bad things that's when it's really bad. People who make the noise in society are the one's who have no idea what they are doing. Serial killers can kill 30,000 people if they killed one person every day because they know what they are doing. Then you have Eichmann who used the industrialization process and the ways of business to kill millions. Most people can't process what is normal outside of their society because they haven't been educated. There is nothing in our genes that gets us to criticize our culture. Fundamentalism is pure human genetics without education to give a broader perspective. (2:37:00)

There's no way you can find on Google's first page what you need because the first page is the middle of the bell curve of their algorithm. We have to work on discernment when society is against it and our genes have nothing in it about discernment. Any media that can give important ideas can give trivial ones. The discernment is the key problem and that is something you can't get out in media right now. But it doesn't matter because what matters is now. We've produced several generations of parents that are uneducated and have outsourced their children's education to the schools. They don't have the discernment to criticize the schools and their desire is to get out at 18, get a job, and don't move back. A family has a better student-teacher ratio than a school has. In a one room school house the parents were expected to augment the education. There are thousands of processes out their that are trying to own the child's mind by spending billions of dollars. And the teachers and parents are complicit because they don't even understand and neither do the marketing people really. [Crap detection] We're still safe if the ad's images and the message being said have nothing to do with each other. It's still effective though because TV is so much of people's lives. (2:40:00)