[extropy-chat] Education monopolies [was: Education in 2030]

Robert Bradbury robert.bradbury at gmail.com
Sat Jan 27 23:22:46 UTC 2007

On 1/27/07, Ben Goertzel <ben at goertzel.org> wrote:
> The issue with Wikipedia is that random people can edit it and insert
> incorrect information.  The incidence of this is low but not zero, and I bet
> the error rate in Wikipedia is higher than in conventional encyclopedias.

Granted.  But this is a problem in education as well -- how to determine the
validity of the "sources".  Anyone aware of the "scandal" where Wikipedia
had to "ban" the congressional IP addresses (because staffers were
continually editing in favor of "their" representative and against those
opposed to them knows this.  So the solution in this case is to have
students determine whether a topic might have an editor agenda bias (*and*
understand or even elucidate these biases).  This is a classical case of
"reputation analysis".  I trust the reputations of Eric Drexler, Ralph
Merkle and Robert Freitas because I have read nearly everything each of them
has written and have yet to find significant flaws.

While I would agree that the Wikipedia error rate might be higher than
conventional encyclopedias in our current world there is *no* "up-to-date"
"encyclopedia" -- nor will there be so long as encyclopedias are not
"free".  There are several billion people, some of whom might be the next
E.D., R.M. or R.F. who do not have access to "subscription" based
encyclopedias who do have access to Wikipedia.

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