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
Oct 2, 2014
Kurds in Turkey look over the border with Syria toward the embattled town of Kobani. (David Takaki / Twitter)

ISIS and the battle for control of the Syrian town of Kobani. The Kurds have it. ISIS wants it. The US is bombing. We’ll look at the lessons of the battle for Kobani.

Oct 2, 2014
Duluth, Minnesota's Canal Park Lakewalk, shown here in 2005. (Jacob Norlund / Creative Commons)

What makes a good place to live in America today? We’ll talk with the people who size up our cities and towns.

RECENT
SHOWS
Oct 1, 2014
Actress Eva Longoria, center, Henry R. Munoz III, co-founder of the Latino Victory Project, left, and Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, are seated at an event launching The Latino Victory Project, a Latino political action committee, at the National Press Club in Washington, Monday, May 5, 2014. (AP)

Latino America. It is very large and growing very fast. How will it move the country?

 
Oct 1, 2014
Pro-democracy protesters hold umbrellas under heavy rain in a main street near the government headquarters in Hong Kong late Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014. The protesters demanded that Hong Kong's top leader meet with them on Tuesday and threatened wider actions if he did not, after he said China would not budge in its decision to limit voting reforms in the Asian financial hub. (AP)

China, democracy and Hong Kong. They’re in the streets in Hong Kong with their “Umbrella Revolution.” What now?

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Transcript: Taking A Close Look At America’s Police Force
Wednesday, Oct 1, 2014

A partial transcript of our panel conversation with experts on the modern American police force.

More »
Comment
 
Transcript: Peter Thiel Wants Us All To Go From ‘Zero To One’
Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014

Entrepreneur Peter Thiel on innovation, technological failure and humanity’s uncertain future.

More »
Comment
 
Transcript: Sexual Violence Under ISIS Control
Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014

A transcript from our September 25, 2014 conversation on the Islamic State and sexual violence.

More »
Comment