More than any previous coterie of corporations, the tech monopolies aspire to mold humanity into their desired image of it. They think they have the opportunity to complete the long merger between man and machine — to redirect the trajectory of human evolution. How do I know this? In annual addresses and town hall meetings, the founding fathers of these companies often make big, bold pronouncements about human nature — a view that they intend for the rest of us to adhere to. Page thinks the human body amounts to a basic piece of code: “Your program algorithms aren’t that complicated,” he says. And if humans function like computers, why not hasten the day we become fully cyborg?
To take another grand theory, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg has exclaimed his desire to liberate humanity from phoniness, to end the dishonesty of secrets. “The days of you having a different image for your work friends or co-workers and for the other people you know are probably coming to an end pretty quickly,” he has said. “Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity.” Of course, that’s both an expression of idealism and an elaborate justification for Facebook’s business model.
Author: Arsames Qajar
Perspective | How Silicon Valley is erasing your individuality
Sebastian Thrun once lamented, “In education people just have these irrational beliefs in these 200 year old brands. That’s the slowest thing holding back innovation.” For schools that are only 5 years old, the collective reputation is as important as any individual schools’ message. If there’s fraud, if there’s betrayal of students, if there’s profiteering, a single school may suffer in the short term but eventually it’ll hurt everyone. Splitting apart the best programs from the at-risk ones is one of the reasons CIRR brought so many competitors together.
EQUIP, the Obama-era initiative, is an experiment allowing students to take out government loans to pay for bootcamp education. If scaled (and so far it’s barely starting up) the program will undermine the basic premise of bootcamps: That education should be clearly ROI-positive for students with schools directly held accountable when it’s not. Government-backed student loans, however, shift focus from outcomes to government certification. This is the road for-profit colleges went down generation ago, turning cheap loans into thousands in personal debt and unmeasurable degrees. EQUIP may be a test but its outcome would be to distort incentives and end other innovation.
Author: Arsames Qajar
An insider’s take on the future of coding bootcamps