Why I am glad that Universities and Colleges are going the way of the dodo bird and Borders Bookstore.
Imagine a giant college campus filled with dodo birds and woolly mammoths. All carrying backpacks, textbooks, and a cup of Starbucks. And all extinct.
It is inevitable that Colleges and Universities will collapse under their own weight. Entities like that have a tendency to resist technological change, and to resist changes in technology is always fatal. Efficiency always wins. Inefficiency always loses. Always.
And that is good.
Learning isn't going away, it is growing, and what is slowing it down is the old educational system. The old system needs to get out of the way, because if the world needs anything, it needs more knowledgeable people walking its surface.
I go to the University of kin
Look at book stores, book publishers, record labels, record stores, and music publishers, all of which have resisted change and all have fallen, been damaged, or they have had to downsize and change because of the changes in the world. They tried to stop change and got run over while standing still.
What doesn't change, dies.
What does a university have in common with a music label and Borders bookstore?
All were initially designed and built to distribute information. Colleges and Universities are built for exactly the same thing. It is what they do. It is their thing.
Two hundred years ago it was possible to read every book in the world, books were hard to produce, and they were expensive. Over time means of production came into play, and huge distribution networks were built to funnel books to the world. I can read a copy of Basho's haiku on my kindle for free, anywhere I want to read it.
Music is the same. Think about it, it used to be the only way to hear music was to go hear the artist, and then records, radio, and huge businesses were built to get you the 45, the cassette tape, and the compact disc. I used to have boxes of music, and now I have the entire collection of The Black Keys in my pocket while I type this.
The internet allows instant distribution with no real carrying costs to carry infinite amounts of inventory. Anyone can play in the sandbox.
Between a musician and their fans, there used to be an army of people and companies. The same is true of authors. Today the connection is direct, fast, efficient, and more profitable.
Back to Universities, they are giant and expensive knowledge machines, useful only if you can go to them to learn. They are designed to be distribution hubs of knowledge. They are the funnels, the gatekeepers, or at least they used to be.
Just like music labels, record stores, and book stores, they are no longer needed for us to access what we want to learn, to read, or to listen to, .
The internet has made access to information location independent and almost free. Today you can learn anything from anywhere. Anything.
The University and College system is an expensive dinosaur. Like the giant reptiles before them, their days are numbered.
And that is not a bad thing.
Today an author can interact with, talk to and sell directly to their audience.
A musician can do the same, selling their music direct, with no middle man to slow own the process or increase the cost.
The artist makes more money, and the audience pays less to get what they want. Like a good feedback loop, both sides improve as the process gets more efficient.
Imagine a world where professors and experts can go direct to students, and teach those that want what they know. From anywhere to anywhere.
That is the new knowledge distribution model. Chinese professor teaching a student in the Balkans while traveling in South America.
The expert is now able to talk to, work with, sell to, and also learn from their audience with nothing between them. The expert is the business.
The expert, the professor, like the author and musician, now control their own fate.
“We all are learning, modifying, or destroying ideas all the time. Rapid destruction of your ideas when the time is right is one of the most valuable qualities you can acquire. You must force yourself to consider arguments on the other side.
— Charles T. Munger”
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