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 22, 2014
Health workers carry the body of a woman suspected of contracting the Ebola virus in Bomi county situated on the outskirts of Monrovia, Liberia, Monday, Oct. 20, 2014. (AP)

We’ll go to Liberia, and hear from a pastor and a physician at the epicenter of the Ebola crisis.

Oct 22, 2014
Authors Nicholas Kristof and wife Sheryl WuDunn attend the premiere of "Meena" at the AMC Loews Theater on Thursday, June 26, 2014 in New York.

Author and New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof says regular folks like us can change the world. He explains how.

RECENT
SHOWS
Oct 21, 2014
This undated image provided by Google, shows an early version of Google's prototype self-driving car. For the first time, California's Department of Motor Vehicles knows how many self-driving cars are traveling on the state's public roads. The agency is issuing permits, Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014 that let three companies test 29 vehicles on highways and in neighborhoods. (AP)

The future of the car: from the fuels they’ll run on, to the materials they’ll be made of, to the computers that may drive them.

 
Oct 21, 2014
David Perdue, Michelle Nunn

Two weeks to go till Midterm Election Day. We’ll look at how the biggest issues are playing out around the country.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Introducing The Explicast: A New Podcast From On Point Radio
Friday, Oct 17, 2014

Confused about the news? Don’t worry: so are we sometimes! Introducing a new On Point Radio podcast: The Explicast. You can find Episode One right here.

More »
1 Comment
 
Two LIVE Tracks From Jazz Violinist Regina Carter
Friday, Oct 17, 2014

Regina Carter shares two live tracks — one arrangement, and one original composition — with Tom Ashbrook in the On Point studio.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: October 17, 2014
Friday, Oct 17, 2014

We talk Facebook mishaps, whether Katy Perry was actually right and the glory of architectural giants and their iconic windows.

More »
Comment