David Geelan
We cannot know the future <ul><li>The future will surprise us somehow – whether it be a new technology we didn’t expect th...
(School) Science won’t do it <ul><li>The science we teach in school really only reaches the end of the 19 th  century </li...
Science & Technology <ul><li>‘ Science’ comes from the Greek word ‘scientia’, meaning ‘knowledge’ – science is about gener...
Technologies of the Body <ul><li>The crucial change that is most visible right now (remembering that the future  will  sur...
Technologies of the Body <ul><li>xenotransplantation </li></ul><ul><li>mechanical organs </li></ul><ul><li>genetic enginee...
Life Extension <ul><li>During this century, average life expectancy in most Western countries increased by 30 years, from ...
Inequities in Technology <ul><li>This is the case in Western industrialised countries, but not in much of the rest of the ...
The Americas 75-80 70-75 65-70 60-65 55-60 Under 55
Europe and Africa 75-80 70-75 65-70 60-65 55-60 Under 55
Asia-Pacific 75-80 70-75 65-70 60-65 55-60 Under 55
Inequities in Technology <ul><li>Westerners already use far more of the world’s scarce resources – energy, water and land ...
Purposes of Science Education <ul><li>Given that these technologies (as well as surprises) have the potential to radically...
Purposes of Science Education <ul><li>Science and mathematics education currently seems to have two main purposes, which a...
Purposes of Science Education <ul><ul><li>Training – and perhaps more pervasively, sorting out – those who will become fut...
Science Education for the Future <ul><li>To some extent, you and I will be involved in the social decision-making about th...
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Science education for immortal cyborgs

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Science education for immortal cyborgs

  1. 1. David Geelan
  2. 2. We cannot know the future <ul><li>The future will surprise us somehow – whether it be a new technology we didn’t expect that gives us unlimited cheap energy or faster than light travel, contact with extraterrestrial intelligence, an asteroid that wipes out a country and takes down the world economy, or a new super-disease </li></ul>
  3. 3. (School) Science won’t do it <ul><li>The science we teach in school really only reaches the end of the 19 th century </li></ul><ul><li>Most of the maths we teach in school is thousands of years old – the newer bits are a couple of hundred years old </li></ul><ul><li>What has been changing human life, and will probably continue to do so, is technology </li></ul>
  4. 4. Science & Technology <ul><li>‘ Science’ comes from the Greek word ‘scientia’, meaning ‘knowledge’ – science is about generating knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Technology’ comes from the Greek word ‘tekne’, meaning ‘making’ – technology is about making stuff </li></ul><ul><li>They have a dynamic and stormy on-going romance </li></ul>
  5. 5. Technologies of the Body <ul><li>The crucial change that is most visible right now (remembering that the future will surprise us) is the movement of technology across the barrier into the human body and mind </li></ul><ul><li>These technologies are the ones that will challenge our existing assumptions the most </li></ul>
  6. 6. Technologies of the Body <ul><li>xenotransplantation </li></ul><ul><li>mechanical organs </li></ul><ul><li>genetic engineering and cloning </li></ul><ul><li>augmentations, prostheses and implants </li></ul><ul><li>cyborg manufacture/growth </li></ul><ul><li>androids </li></ul><ul><li>artificial intelligence </li></ul><ul><li>life extension </li></ul>
  7. 7. Life Extension <ul><li>During this century, average life expectancy in most Western countries increased by 30 years, from mid-40s to mid-70s </li></ul><ul><li>Currently, the rate of life extension is around 2 years per decade – a year for every five years – and increasing </li></ul><ul><li>If the rate of life extension were ever to reach one year per year, humans would be effectively immortal </li></ul>
  8. 8. Inequities in Technology <ul><li>This is the case in Western industrialised countries, but not in much of the rest of the world. In large parts of the Southern Hemisphere average life expectancies are below 55 years </li></ul><ul><li>The same applies to all of the other technologies of the body </li></ul>
  9. 9. The Americas 75-80 70-75 65-70 60-65 55-60 Under 55
  10. 10. Europe and Africa 75-80 70-75 65-70 60-65 55-60 Under 55
  11. 11. Asia-Pacific 75-80 70-75 65-70 60-65 55-60 Under 55
  12. 12. Inequities in Technology <ul><li>Westerners already use far more of the world’s scarce resources – energy, water and land – than those in other countries, and have more impact on pollution, including climate change. If life extension technologies mean that their numbers increase as a proportion of world population, this is a more serious problem than population growth elsewhere in the world </li></ul>
  13. 13. Purposes of Science Education <ul><li>Given that these technologies (as well as surprises) have the potential to radically change the societies in which our students will grow up, and that they will be the ones who have to decide what to do about them, and live with the consequences, what is the role of science and math education in preparing them? </li></ul>
  14. 14. Purposes of Science Education <ul><li>Science and mathematics education currently seems to have two main purposes, which are often seen as being in opposition: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ science literacy and numeracy for all’ – equipping every student in our schools with the scientific and mathematical ways of knowing as important tools for making social and personal decisions </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Purposes of Science Education <ul><ul><li>Training – and perhaps more pervasively, sorting out – those who will become future professionals in science and mathematics </li></ul></ul><ul><li>I would argue that these are complementary (at least as far as training future professionals goes: we need to figure out something better for sorting, or stop doing it) rather than in competition, but that the former purpose is crucial, and we’re not making it yet </li></ul>
  16. 16. Science Education for the Future <ul><li>To some extent, you and I will be involved in the social decision-making about these technologies during the next 20 years </li></ul><ul><li>But it’s really our students – those in school now and in the next few years – who will both influence and be influenced by the technologies of the body </li></ul><ul><li>Our job is to do the best job we can of preparing them </li></ul>

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