The future is one of those things that is altered when trying to measure it. Still, it is a mandatory exercise to prepare for the worst, but keep the bet on the best.
Let me illustrate how the future unpredictability can be using two examples: The expected evolution of Aviation vs. Education.
After WW1, aviation was kickstarting. Plains in aluminum were capable of maintaining long flights, fighter pilots from the war were piloting, testing, and brainstorming how to make a better war machine able to "protect" (and sadly destroy too) cities and nations. A massive investment of engineering sustained by huge nationalisms across the world.
For the '70s, after 50 years, a Concord airplane was capable to fly as high to allow its passengers to perceive the curvature of the Earth and as fast to enable journalists to have early breakfast with their families in New York, go to an event in Paris and return to the family dinner for the same day.
Imagine that you were a teenager between wars, let’s say 1922, you are going to school, but suddenly, a strange noise in the sky makes you look it up and for the first time in your life, you see an airplane, one of those that you hear about several times on the radio. You pause your rush going to the school and sit down on a rock until the metal bird gets out of your sight in the distance. Then, you imagine how the world would be in 50 years, and with a sigh, you start thinking about how to be part of that limited number of people capable of flight across the sky.
After several attempts, failures, heartbreaks, job changes, and learning, you are now an elderly person full of joy in had being part of the aviation evolution. One day while you are sitting in your garden, you hear something in the sky but barely have the chance to view it before it gets lost between the clouds, a concord should be. You prepare your TV to watch the news and find out when the next moon landing will happen. Then, you start thinking about how the future would look like in another 50 years.
Now, let’s imagine a different story. Imagine that you were a teenager between wars, let’s say 1922, you are going to school, and you are the first in the class, and you have the chance to ask your teacher about life, meaning, and purpose. You loved the thinking, and it inspired you. That day, you realize that your passion is to teach others and spread knowledge. You decided to be a teacher.
After several attempts, failures, heartbreaks,
job changes, and learning, you are a recognized teacher full of joy to spread the knowledge for thousands. One day while you are sitting in your garden, you start thinking about the future of education.
Fifty years ago, it was easier to expect humanity to colonize other worlds with robots and androids helping us than a hyper-connected world where most people could teach and learn everywhere, anytime, anywhere, at any age.
It was easier to expect a continuous disruption of aviation rather than a disruption of education. In our reality, on the one hand, the Concord's aircraft were retired in 2003, and the space race stopped for several years. On the other hand, education is shifting faster because of the Internet, demographic changes, the evolution of work, and new technologies as machine learning, blockchain, and virtual reality.
You might ask yourself, why do I care about the future predictions if no one knows, and at the end is unpredictable, but here is the thing, the future is ours. We could decide to contribute to it or let others decide for us. One day, someone looked up to the sky and decided to find ways to fly. Others built on top of that until being to the moon.
The future of education is the basis of the world's future. We are thousands of dreamers who want a world where everyone can follow their passions, learn for life, and contribute to building a better world, where intangibles such as ideas and dreams are worth more than a gallon of oil or a pound of gold.
How does your dream of future education look like?