Editorial – A Turn for the Worse

My reading lately has taken a turn for the worse. By that I mean I find my attention caught by stories of impending doom and gloom. And no, I’m not just talking about the endless parade of news stemming from the U.S. President’s office.

I mean I’m reading about the coming of AI and automation decimating the work-force, about glaciers in the arctic calving and penguin populations collapsing along with the ice, about the upcoming destruction of the oil industry here in Alberta as the price of renewables continues to drop while the price of oil is slowly squeezed higher as more and more of the “easy” reservoirs are depleted, about the increasing divisions between people who are able to insulate and isolate themselves among tribes able to find a source on the internet willing to support whatever they’re willing to click on, just to get a few cents worth of advertising revenue. And while you’d hope it would lead a person to be inspired to action, it’s having the opposite effect. I’m finding I care less about any of it.

You would think, given my intellectual surroundings, that this wouldn’t be the case. I deal with people who are striving to better themselves. Who are seeking to, if not create, then at least find a better world to live in, whether that’s by imparting motivation or assistance to their fellow students, or simply in the pursuit of their educational goals. Seeing these people should inspire me. After all, we’re living in a time when more and more people are getting motivated to head out and march in the streets for what they believe in.

But my mind turns back to that tribalism. When one side marches, the other doesn’t stop to think if they have a point, but rather buckles down in their beliefs and attacks the other side. And why not? These days they can easily find the people who support them in those beliefs. In the past, if we found a large group of people agreed with us, it meant we were probably right, because those people were likely most of our community. Today, however, you can find many people who believe in anything, because the community is global, and our minds have trouble scaling to that level. Will our globally connected community be what ends up destroying us, simply because it offers protection for views that may not have any backing in reality? I don’t know the answer to this. I hope not. And I think the greatest opportunity we have to prevent it may be schools like AU ? where decent education can be provided to anybody around the world.

Which leads me into our feature article this week, the second part of our interview with Dr. Fassina. This time, he discusses the future of education in the 21st century. We also have an interview with a student who was home-schooled, and is now taking Athabasca University courses. A reminder of just how far and wide AU can take education.

I also want to point out the open letter to Elon Musk by Wanda Waterman. I have to point out, I’m an admirer of Musk’s drive for innovation and creativity, but Wanda makes some interesting points about how that drive is being used. I’m curious what you might think. Is she right? Or not? Let me know at karl@voicemagazine.org, and enjoy the read!

P.S. If you didn’t already know, The Voice Magazine has a Facebook page and a twitter feed if You’re into that kind of thing!

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