Saturday, March 31, 2012

Are we more educated today?

In GURPS IQ is kept static per era, the only thing affecting IQ per Era is TL disadvantage and advantage. If you look closely at the rules an option allowed for GMs but no strictly enforced because its a "fun-killer" is that Literacy and Innumerate may be a "required" disadvantage for characters at about TL4 and below.
My take on this is that it could be degrees. TL4 may have more people at broken level of literacy and innumeracy, improving up until we hit modern and mature public education at TL6. 
So are we more educated today than yesterday? Well the problem with asking that question, and others like it (many of the bold and valid questions you tend to ask when game systems tend to make you take a new look at life in general) is that you have to begin with the assumptions. 

If I would set assumptions: as the largest social class of a given era then at present the middle and working class in developed countries, the working class and the struggling poor everywhere else as compared to serfs, commoners, and plebians of earlier eras that, is a resounding YES. As to game systems reflecting this, unless you OCD and you're players/fellow players/ or GM are as OCD or fascinated with economics, statistics, etc. then it's up to your tastes and where you get the most utility to have those details in your games.

Now consider Tech and its influence in cramming as much High Value/Quality Learning Time over the eras. Consider how learned techniques can actually be measured in the increases in productivity, opportunity costs, and quality of life; then consider the technology we have in the horizon: Learning Coaches (as Automated Learning Systems like Khan Academy and others I don't know their name but I'm aware off) and Leaning Material Designers and Engineers. Now imagine a world where a bulk of the Teachers Prep Time has been automated and shared, while being modular and highly customizable. teachers in the middle don't disappear, they either move to wards management, higher valued work in learning designers, or more personal learning coaches (by more personal, smaller student to learning coach ratios). 

The technology exploits Specialization and Comparative Economic Advantage; it removes many Teachers Jobs but consider that it removes it by transforming these jobs to management, personal specialists, and engineers. (I really find removes jobs as bad way to describe it because the crowd has a high information barrier to understand the context and can it can be used to play to their fears: It is job transformation, which has more truth in it than the removes). 

What has this got to do with Gaming?
Well I work with my Radical Sci-Fi Eras, my open game system, and I'm linking the Past, Present and Future. I look at the past and look at the overall quality of life and why a subsistence level of technology means to an individual, and see how every step of the way technology frees more time up for other worthwhile opportunities. If you trace that line back into the earliest civilizations like Çatalhöyük to the present; the influence of technology (or what has accelerated technology: the influence of science) has done for us, our ancestors, and our descendants in their quality of life. 

Now the most interesting and game-design puzzle is the impact of education: How different are my Key Performance Indicators to that of a person of the Past, or that of the Future. This is where assumptions, making and stating these clearly, save a world builder a lot of time in fixing and re-aligning prediction with up and coming hard and soft theories and facts.

Is a person here more developed than Alexander the Great?
My answer is: Yes. Many people receive education and opportunities Alexander the Great, Julius Ceasar, and all the great people of history would envy. Every War College in the modern world pulls out people who would out manuver and out think Alexander, Ceasar, Scipio etc.. because they have the  knowledge of everyone who had before them, and the science to be able to reduce risk and uncertainty, and the ability to know how to decide because of cognition sciences. Everyone now has in them, more points spent, than anyone else in the past of equivalent social standing or of similar majority.

Technology is also seen in the way we discern from facts from errors and bad data. We right now have technology that allow us to cut through Illusions/Deceptions and Ambiguity. We have science; unfortunately Information and Processes are huge chunks of data that can only be put through a very small hole of the human mind. It takes Data Size over Data Acquisition Rate = Time to absorb information and be able to verify it. We are much in the dark because as a bunch of Humans, there are enough of us who have to much at stake to let Information reach the Equilibrium of Objectivity.

Low tech is better?
One thing that I am hyper aware of is that old nagging about old ways are better. If we go back to the oldest days people are subsitance living, that means NO other free time. That means less free to save up for the future, and a whole world with people who only live by the huge cost of getting anything done. When looking at the future and the past, we may be self reliant in the past BUT we don't have the freedom to do what we want (especially when we consider realistically how much time anything takes in Low Tech). 

1 comment:

Shawn Driscoll said...

I don't know about IQ going up as TL goes up. Or education going up either. But in the real world, I see people less wise today then compared to say... people 60 years ago.