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
Sep 17, 2014
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson watches from the sidelines against the Oakland Raiders during the second half of a preseason NFL football game at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Friday, Aug. 8, 2014. (AP/Ann Heisenfelt)

The NFL’s Adrian Peterson and the emotional debate underway about how far is too far to go when it comes to disciplining children.

Sep 17, 2014
Bob Dylan and Victor Maymudes at "The Castle" in LA before the 1965 world tour. Lisa Law/The Archive Agency)

A new take on the life and music of Bob Dylan, from way inside the Dylan story. “Another Side of Bob Dylan.”

RECENT
SHOWS
Sep 16, 2014
From "Rich Hill"

“Rich Hill,” a new documentary on growing up poor, now, in rural America. The dreams and the desperation.

 
Sep 16, 2014
Jasmin Torres helps classmate Brianna Rameles with a worksheet at the Diloreto Magnet School in New Britain, Conn., Wednesday Feb. 22, 2012. (AP/Charles Krupa)

More parents are “red-shirting” their children in kindergarten—holding them back for a year, hoping they’ll have an edge. Does it work? We look.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: September 12, 2014
Friday, Sep 12, 2014

In which you had varied reactions to the prospect of a robotic spouse.

More »
Comment
 
Beverly Gooden on #WhyIStayed
Friday, Sep 12, 2014

Beverly Gooden — who originated the #WhyIStayed hashtag that has taken off across Twitter — joined us today for our discussion on domestic violence.

More »
1 Comment
 
Tierney Sutton Plays LIVE For On Point
Friday, Sep 5, 2014

We break out Tierney Sutton’s three beautiful live tracks from our broadcast today for your listening pleasure.

More »
2 Comments