[ExI] what to teach

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Thu Sep 26 20:30:47 UTC 2013

On 2013-09-26 17:47, spike wrote:
> I struggle to find things to teach my own seven yr old son, since I 
> want him to learn relevant skills.  All around me I see things that 
> can easily be automated, and once they are, there is just no point in 
> learning the theory behind the software, any more than we really need 
> to understand shock wave mechanics of a tumbling aero-shroud or how to 
> extract square roots by hand (I STILL know how to do that fun but 
> useless skill.)

Hmm, thinking about Carl and Michael's paper, the skills to look for are 
creative intelligence (both the fine arts and originality - coming up 
with unusual ideas, creative or strategic ways of solving problems) and 
social intelligence (social perceptiveness, negotiation, persuasion, 
assisting others).

Math is both good training in manipulating formal abstract systems and a 
generic tool for a lot of domains. I usually like to point at statistics 
being extra useful for sharpening reasoning skills and being able to 
deal with data. Similarly, knowing economics seems to be generally 
useful. Philosophy might be a good tool-sharpener (especially 
argumentation and logic, but never underestimate the power of realizing 
you can think of things like thinking or thinginess), plus learning to 
think about values can be pretty good for choosing one's own path. Same 
thing for psychology.

Specific skills: learning to program, render graphics and make stuff is 
useful - the languages and methods will change, but the self-confidence 
and the awareness that the world can be changed to suit ones preferences 
rather than the opposite, that is a good knowledge.

Dr Anders Sandberg
Future of Humanity Institute
Oxford Martin School
Oxford University

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