2120 Hindsight: A Knowledge Consolidation Timeline


Here are some key dates in the late 20th and early 21st century’s processes of knowledge consolidation:

  • 1968: Approximate low point of centuries of knowledge individualism. Widespread extreme acceptance of knowledge as an entitlement, for purposes deemed worthy by the person in his/her sole discretion, without regard to usefulness, employability, or appearances. Example: students take over U.S. universities to protest political events.
  • 1987: Partial backlash underway: societal preoccupation with money and employability epitomized in Wall Street (movie). University education desired as core element in lifelong personal acquisition strategy.
  • 1996: In many fields, focus on university education as a credential has disconnected it from learning. Prominent illustration: 82% of Harvard seniors graduate with honors.
  • 2001: First tech employability shock: decoupling of university education from employability, originally limited to artistic and literary majors, spreads to computer science graduates in wake of dot-com bust.
  • 2008: Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) concept enters mainstream.
  • 2017: Guaranteed Individual Maintenance act signed into law: provides universal subsistence level of income to all Americans.
  • 2019: Bioconnectable microchips achieve commodity status. Chips offer rudimentary mental stimulation, perceptual and learning enhancement.
  • 2020: Severe financial pressures inspire College Home movement at minor universities. Selected alumni are invited to reside on campus indefinitely, contributing a percentage of their income in exchange for ongoing opportunity to participate in relatively prestigious and supportive socioacademic environment.
  • 2021: Underemployed (movie) captures resentment, experienced by middle-aged state university graduate, toward perceived elitism in decisions made by his high-performing robotic workplace partner.
  • 2024: Service work in many fields, including teaching and social work, increasingly steered by sophisticated robotic “experts” accompanied by human “helpers” chosen for interpersonal skills rather than knowledge.
  • 2025: World Higher Education Consortium formalizes division of higher education into (a) elite institutions training top candidates for leading positions in knowledge design and control, and (b) all other forms of higher education, provided for “personal and community betterment.”
  • 2026: Discovery of NSA-Consortium link in extensive knowledge-limiting biochip manipulation provokes mass protests among implanted (often unemployed and/or unenrolled) young people. March on Harvard. Columbia University bombing inspires formation of radical and reactionary political parties. President calls out National Guard to protect leading campuses.
  • 2027: Knowledge Protection and Control Act becomes law. Law codifies the definition of knowledge, recognizes established means of acquiring knowledge, formalizes processes for sharing knowledge, provides guarantees for appropriate access to knowledge as it becomes available.
  • 2029: Legally compliant biochips regain pre-crisis market penetration. More sophisticated chip design facilitates curiosity and discovery within established knowledge parameters, also permits enhanced feedback from learner experience to shared knowledge network.
  • 2032: Instant Shared Experience (ISE) achieves nearly seamless merging of lived-in phenomena among multiple sharers. Mours (first communication-free movie) facilitates growing public conception of knowledge as primarily communal and real-time, rather than individual and retrospective.
  • 2035: First members of Generation K reach voting age. Most can barely remember a time when significant knowledge was believed to emerge from unqualified, inexperienced, and individual experimentation or exploration.

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