An atom is an extremely small entity – on the order of ten millionths of a micron – and the nucleus is typically 10,000 times smaller. Since the 1930s, we have known that they contain protons, which are positive charges, and neutrons, which are neutral particles. Since protons are charges with the same sign, they repel each other, and therefore we conclude that there is no nucleus (and therefore no nucleus). corn More complex than hydrogen, which only has one proton in the nucleus) it can be stable. Since these atoms exist, we conclude that there must also be an attractive force within the nucleus that attracts protons and neutrons. Since the electrostatic force of repulsion on the nuclear scale is enormous, we conclude that this other attractive force must be equally huge.
This force is the so-called “strong nuclear force”, and it is the most powerful force we know so far. The version of this force that holds the nucleus together is its weakest form and is still responsible for the enormous destructive power of a nuclear or thermonuclear bomb.
But this destructive force has not prevented its continued study since the 1930s. Human curiosity has no limits, and no matter what you do, there will always be someone trying to discover how powerful force works. On the other hand, the technological advantages of its use are enormous (even if military), and therefore it is impossible to stop studying it.
In fact, the same thing happens with another trendy topic, artificial intelligence. Its development cannot be stopped, nor can laws be enacted to prevent it, due to economic repercussions. History shows that thought cannot be permanently banned and that our economic system will always protect AI through simple market laws. As in nuclear physics, all we can do is regulate the mechanisms.
But does the problem really lie in nuclear physics or in artificial intelligence? One of the biggest current problems is the confusion between three concepts: discovery, science and progress. Discovery changes the way we look at the world, while science organizes the knowledge-building process that follows discovery. Progress and innovation use this knowledge to build the value chain. Conflating innovation with science only makes the discovery process very difficult. Science is the art of discovery, not just an economic tool. Innovation comes with extension.
Therefore, we can ask ourselves how we should prepare young people's training from childhood to adulthood. If we insist on making them, as in the past, merely simple prophecies of existing knowledge, a neural network or other artificial intelligence system will, in the fairly short term, make them useless and disposable objects, easily destroyed by an economic system. .Uncompromising. Therefore, a school that relies solely on learning what exists condemns them to planned obsolescence.
The signs that the directions we have chosen to educate young people are wrong are not misleading. A brief analysis of the 2022 PISA results shows that among European countries only Estonia (7th place), Ireland (9th place) and Switzerland (10th place) are in the lead, still lower than many Asian countries, including Macau. Portugal is in the middle of the OECD group, occupying positions between 13 and 33, mainly following the overall behavior of the group.
What is even more interesting to note is that the Asian countries in the lead have very different and more favorable annual development curves than those in the OECD, despite often more restrictive confinement policies during the pandemic. In OECD countries, educational outcomes are actually beginning to decline before Of the epidemic, the role of the latter was only to make more clear what had already been announced.
Certainly, what is worth contemplating is the correlation between the results of the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) and the growth levels of the top ten countries, which has prevented some of them from being mere factories in the world to providing scientific and technological results that compete with the results of traditional powers.
From what has been said above, we can conclude that pre-university schools and university schools must be built above all for discovery, otherwise a large part of humanity will soon become useless. If we only train young people to innovate, this is certainly what will happen. Young people must be motivated and focused above all so that they find themselves at the frontiers of knowledge as quickly as possible with organized knowledge that allows them to move forward. Along these lines, AI tools are useful, but they are just what they are: support tools.
In this change, teachers have the central transformative power. Unfortunately, her social standing declined sharply due to continued faulty educational policies. The problem is that they are also trained to be fortune tellers and, in fact, (mistreated) as automatic group training tools. Instead of debating too much about the best techniques for teaching what is there, it would be helpful to start thinking about how to teach teachers and students how to find what is not there yet. For this to be possible, teachers – all teachers – must have high-level scientific, artistic and technical training.
Young people must be trained to conduct experiments in a real world, not a virtual one, with an emphasis on observing, understanding and organizing what they observe. If we succeed in this endeavour, our youth will undoubtedly ensure their survival (and personal fulfillment) as citizens and revolutionize society.
The university must be, as is its mandate, a place of knowledge, but above all a place of freedom of thought. They will never be able to fully fulfill their role if they are constrained by rules and chronically underfunded. They must be listened to in this process and their suggestions taken into account, because it also represents the last step in training young people before entering the labor market. Therefore, the university must also listen to what the market says, while maintaining its freedom of action.
Freedom is the price to pay for discovery. Considering schools and universities as mere prophecies is something that kills them and destroys society as a whole. Preventing this from happening must be our central goal in the coming decades, not only to ensure purpose and personal fulfillment for citizens, but also so that we do not lose human intelligence or the artificial intelligence that relies on it. Our future depends on both.
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