If we gave every child on earth a computer to compliment their right, how much work could we do collectively in the manifestation of good?
What is good for children?
This inspired me to post the Hole in the Wall video which is a result of one of the Ted speakers giving free computers to the children of India.
Giving children computers isn’t a sufficient answer.
The greatest cause of strife is the tension between those with the freedom and resources to do whatever they responsibly choose, and those without, who are forced by their circumstances into a form of slavery (and there are infinite levels of slavery available, from the physical through the spiritual).
To empower freedom, empower choice, we need systems that remove slavery (at all levels) and empower responsible choice.
That means automation of all of tasks required to supply the goods and services we need.
That means removing rules, and empowering choice.
Removing rules does not mean freedom to follow every whim, it means acting responsibly, acting in ways that empower the liberty and security of all. So we need to be responsible for the impact of our choices on others, which may mean processes for reaching agreement in some cases, and always, in all things, the highest values are life and liberty, and the results are a reasonable balance in the case of conflicting desires.
So in so far as computers are a step on the path to automation, they are needed, and our major focus needs to be far beyond the tablets of today, and towards fully automated production and distribution of all essentials – see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lights_out_(manufacturing) for some current examples of fully automated factories (not science fiction, engineering fact).
Looking at the incentives provided by current systems, it is clear that no market based system of values can ever be incentivised to deliver universal abundance of anything because there are too many meta incentives to create barriers that create scarcity and increase price and thence profit (we see this in all manner of laws sold to us as public good, like intellectual property and patent laws, like occupational safety laws, like most of the laws on the statutes of most nations). It is considered safe for individuals to drive cars with a warrant of fitness, but if you carry passengers then a much higher standard is required costing about $15,000. If one has a small part time business, then that standard cannot be met. That creates a barrier to entry for competition, and supports the incumbents in maintaining profit levels, by ensuring unmet demand.
I am all for unleashing individual creativity, and the major restraints on creativity come from market values, and from cultural values, that individuals accept without question.
To me it seems appropriate to question everything. And as John Taylor Gatto says – “The first step in education is to mistrust that of which you are most certain!!! Test it not once, but until you are exhausted from testing it.”
Natural philosophers starting from assumptions of truth and certainty were forced by logic and mathematics and experimental evidence to accept profound uncertainty in all things.
When it comes to the nature of knowledge, the work of people like Heisenberg, Goedel, and Wolfram have exposed different levels of the fundamental uncertainty present in both reality and logic, exposing the classical concept of knowledge for the illusion that it is.
It seems very likely that the best any of us can hope for is sufficient reliability in common contexts to give us a feeling of confidence, and that science can deliver.
We can use money and markets as tools to deliver on human values of life and liberty.
At present we seem to be using life and liberty in markets to deliver most of the money to a very small subset of humanity, most of whom get it by means that most would consider unjust if they actually understood what was happening. And the dominant ethos is to leave all the difficult decisions to the market.
Now that we actually possess the capacity for full automation, our reliance on market values is so profoundly antithetical to human life and human liberty that it is no longer tolerable at any level.
We are now at a stage in our technical and spiritual development that we require an emerging awareness of the power of global cooperation, and a transcendence of money as a measure of value.
Putting laptops in the hands of kids can be part of the process, and in a sense it is pointless tinkering (ignoring the 18ft caterpillar curled up on the coffee table) unless it is accompanied by the larger scale actions.