90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Tyler Cowen Talks Technological Divides

Among the many moments that drew comment and questions during our hour-long conversation with George Mason University economist Tyler Cowen on Monday was the author’s thoughts on online education and technological change. Part of the argument in his new book, “Average Is Over: Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation” is that technological change will continue to create a stark divide between the haves and the have-nots in America.

“A quality, free online education it’s on it’s way it will mostly be here within five years.  The New York Times had an article yesterday about a 15 year old boy in Mongolia who’s been able to basically prove he’s a genius.

The question here, and here we don’t know the answer: How many individuals can actually adapt to that style of learning? So the stuff will be there, it will be free or be very cheap and we don’t yet know how many winners there will be from this. That from me is really one the biggest questions about our future.

Keep in mind,the more that the top 20-percent are earning, the greater the incentive to become educated, to apply some rigor to what you’re learning. And I’m just suggesting, we don’t know how many people will cross that divide. If half the people decide to do it, it won’t be 80-20 it will be 50-50. That’s the big open question about our future. Plenty of opportunities will be there, they just wont for everyone to be easy to exploit. If you don’t, say, have the right personality type.

Joe [Stiglitz] and I both agree, the key reforms really involve education; but we all know how hard it is to improve education.”

Do you agree? Do you think technological change lifts all boats, or just a few? Let us know in the comments, on Facebook or @OnPointRadio.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Nov 21, 2014
President Barack Obama announces executive actions on immigration during a nationally televised address from the White House in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014.  (AP)

The president throws down the gauntlet on immigration. Bloodshed and new tensions in Israel. Keystone fails. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Nov 21, 2014
Laura Ingalls Wilder, an American  writer and novelist, at age 27. Her "Little House" series is a beloved semi-autobiographical take on her childhood in the Western American plains. (South Dakota State Historical Society )

A big new look at the legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder and the woman behind the Little House.

RECENT
SHOWS
Nov 21, 2014
Laura Ingalls Wilder, an American  writer and novelist, at age 27. Her "Little House" series is a beloved semi-autobiographical take on her childhood in the Western American plains. (South Dakota State Historical Society )

A big new look at the legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder and the woman behind the Little House.

 
Nov 21, 2014
President Barack Obama announces executive actions on immigration during a nationally televised address from the White House in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014.  (AP)

The president throws down the gauntlet on immigration. Bloodshed and new tensions in Israel. Keystone fails. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
The Explicast, Episode Six: What Does A White House Press Correspondent Do?
Friday, Nov 21, 2014

We turn to White House Press Correspondents all the time for news, but we’ve never really wondered how they gather their information. Fortunately, our guest host Jessica Yellin had time to sit down with The Explicast to explain.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: November 21, 2014
Friday, Nov 21, 2014

We offer a panel of hand-drawn digital sheep, and wonder how to best lead the rest of you to programs that matter.

More »
2 Comments
 
The Explicast, Episode Five: What Is Net Neutrality?
Friday, Nov 14, 2014

The Explicast dives into tech policy territory with a quick look at the real meaning of a complicated bit of tech policy known as ‘Net Neutrality.’

More »
2 Comments