By studying the idea of augmentation of intelligence some important insights emerged. First, it came out strong that the concept of augmentation required a more detailed exploration both on its theoretical construct and in its material representation; that is in the human-technology cognitive interface (e.g. software, hardware, communication, methods). This reflection touches on the discussion on intelligence augmentation which Engelbart explored in the early 1960’s. Intelligence augmentation aims at “increasing the capability of a man to approach a complex problem situation, to gain comprehension to suit his particular needs, and to derive solutions to problems” (Engelbart, 1962; p.1). It seems that Intelligence Augmentation is a term that accommodates better to the problem this project is looking at since it invites for a broader examination of challenges and possibilities of physical and cognitive augmentation.
Second, augmenting of intelligence embeds relations between humans, technologies, and institutions that need to be considered in thinking about the future of jobs. When dealing with possible scenarios, a constant tension emerged in regard to the interests between workers, employers, and policy makers. Aligning/fulfilling all interests is difficult, not to say impossible, however there has to be some sort of participation mechanism in which people can express and develop their thoughts for decision making processes. This participation process needs to be based on education and information in order to have a proper discussion on the problematics that people encounter. Fuller (1960) imagined the Geoscope as a way to present world plans in a way that “world data would be dynamically viewable and picturable and reliable by radio to all the world, so that common consideration in a most educated manner of all world problems by all world people would become a practical event” (ibid, p.52). The Geoscope as media can be understood as an intelligence augmentation technology that used information, communication, and education to approach the complex problem of democratization of decision making.
Finally, as a result of a society which has found ways in reducing the need for human labor, there is a pressing uncertainty on how to attend to the material and spiritual needs of an unemployed population (Keynes, 1930). Augmentation technologies in the workplace society could replace human labour leaving citizens without the economic, social, and mental elements that having a purpose entail. Not being perfect, capitalism is the current dominant economic system and with workplace augmentation in the foreseeable future, a systemic solution for social and economic problems that capitalism has not solved needs to be co-constructed. Keynes predicted that by 2030 some societies would have deciphered the economic problems of their population and suggested that an outstanding capacity of awareness and detachment of pre-inscribed frames needed to be reached by then. As Keynes demanded “we shall be able to afford to dare to assess the money-motive at its true value. The love of money as a possession -as distinguished from the love of money as a means to the enjoyments and realities of life -will be recognized for what it is a somewhat disgusting morbidity (…)” (ibid; p.3).
Education is a relevant space for studying forecasting future innovations and exponential technologies. Educative institutions, where tension between innovativeness and tradition are present, have been a fundamental center for the development of media technologies conceptualization and implementation (e.g. ARPANET). These institutions involve a plethora of actors, relations, and ideas which materialize into learning experiences that increasingly are intertwined with intelligence augmentation technologies. Education appears as a fertile ground to inquire on: (i) potential challenges/solutions of labor replacement due to technological development, (ii) influence people’s frames of economic, moral and spiritual reference, and (iii), enhance the ability of society to participate in co-constructive decision making processes.
There are various research alternatives when thinking on education augmentation. For example, one could observe how augmentation will influence functions as teaching, learning or research development. One could foresight the augmentation technologies that will transform learning experience platforms and think on the implications for educative institutions in general, and for teacher and students in particular. This work should question the media in which we are currently developing, curating and communicating educative content.
Azuma, R. T. (1997). A survey of augmented reality. Presence: teleoperators & virtual environments, 6(4), 355-385.
Engelbart, D. C. (1962). Augmenting human intellect: A conceptual framework. Menlo Park, CA, 21.
Fuller, R. B. (1962). Education Automation: Freeing the Scholar to Return to His Studies a Discourse Before the Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville Campus Planning Committee, April 22, 1961.
Keynes, J. M. (1930). Economic possibilities for our grandchildren. In Essays in persuasion (pp. 321-332). Palgrave Macmillan, London.
This idea map considers different elements for Intelligence Augmentation.
This timeline is a composition of themes, events and ideas inspired by Education Automation. While the scope is broad, this timeline focuses on augmented reality as the media of interest and the idea of Learning Experience Management.