How can universities win the race with ever smarter machines?

Machines are getting faster and algorithms better, so how might this help unlock more opportunities for the creative teams in society?

If you haven’t read “Race Against the Machine” read this first, then read the eBook…
http://sloanreview.mit.edu/the-magazine/2012-winter/53208/winning-the-race-with-ever-smarter-machines/

Augmented teams of people are able to solve complex problems more rapidly…
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/24/science/scientists-see-advances-in-deep-learning-a-part-of-artificial-intelligence.html
“This is a really breathtaking result because it is the first time that deep learning won, and more significantly it won on a data set that it wouldn’t have been expected to win at,” said Anthony Goldbloom, chief executive and founder of Kaggle, a company that organizes data science competitions, including the Merck contest. .. The technology, called deep learning, has already been put to use in [Smart Phone]services… ”

Cognitive tools that augment human intelligence are on the same type of evolutionary journey as tools that augment human physical strength (steam engines, cars, etc.)…

Some even foresee what will be coming after the Smart Phone era..
http://www.businessinsider.com/the-end-of-the-smartphone-era-is-coming-2012-11

“Computers have been getting smaller and closer to our faces since their very beginning. First they were in big rooms, then they sat on desktops, then they sat on our laps, and now they’re in our palms. Next they’ll be on our faces.  (Eventually they’ll be in our brains.)”

Every technology augment is eventually disrupted….
Slide rule -> calculator -> “smart” phone -> “super smart” glasses -> “super-duper smart” implants….

What do “cognitively augmented people” do in the future?
We should keep our eye on Kickstarter and other crowd-funding sites for projects that people have a passion to achieve, but require collective action.
http://www.kickstarter.com/

What if industry required universities to post their projects to Kickstarter?
http://service-science.info/archives/2538

Furthermore, what if all industry AND government funding programs for universities required faculty and students to post to Kickstarter?

Might this increase entrepreneurial culture at universities?

I would like to see someone invent a mechanism to incent/crowd-fund top new faculty to go work in universities with the lowest academic rankings in the world… If top new faculty could get rich by going to the weakest universities – this would be akin to the NFL Draft (every year weakest team gets first draft choice for top college athlete), and help improve competitive parity of regions.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444734804578062802698020758.html

If this last one seems too strange – top faculty going to depressed regions – check this out – the best minds at MIT are focussing on where the biggest challenges in the world happen to be and going there to work on the challenges with local entrepreneurs:
http://www.wired.co.uk/magazine/archive/2012/11/features/open-university?page=all

“Joi Ito, 46-year-old director of MIT’s Media Lab since last September, has just selected the faculty’s newest outpost: the troubled streets of downtown Detroit. “I was in a rough neighbourhood there yesterday, where there are miles and miles of bombed out buildings, and it just blows your mind to see a bunch of kids building urban farms,” he says back in his office in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “They have no streetlights. If you connect a streetlight to the grid, it gets controlled by the city and regulated. So they’re thinking, how can we create solar-powered low-cost streetlights, as that will lower crime? They have a maker space in a church, a place where the kids can learn how to build a computer, a bike shop where they can learn how to do repairs. The kid who runs this place, Jeff Sturges, is awesome.We’re sending a bunch of Media Lab people to Detroit to work with local innovators already doing stuff on the ground.” ”

Therefore in the age of smart technology, we will need better ways to combine our resources to take collective action on what really matters to people, and to ensure the flow of top talent to the regions of the world that need them the most… people who flow into those regions should have an incentive, and it would be great if someone could create the policy mechanism to achieve that… right now people in poorer regions try to migrate to richer regions… and the brightest sometimes succeed at that through a series of life choices…
http://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/videos/view/211

3 Comments

  1. Pingback: Universities becoming the startup engines of their regions | Service Science

  2. RE: I would like to see someone invent a mechanism to incent/crowd-fund top new faculty to go work in universities with the lowest academic rankings in the world… If top new faculty could get rich by going to the weakest universities …

    Would you consider organizations like “Teach for America”; Teachers First (for UK); and other similar (Teach First for …) entities around the globe to be exactly such a mechanism for schools? If so does the question become ‘how to morph the model to Universities?’

    http://www.teachforamerica.org
    http://www.teachfirst.org.uk

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