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Digital Ocean

March 19, 2014


  1. fblueher permalink

    I just finished doing an incredibly fast skim on this paper….it is truly chilling and dystopian. I am forwarding this to Susan Ohanian.

  2. Janna permalink


  3. David Sudmeier permalink


  4. Incredibly frightening.

    I felt the same when I saw these:

    As always, thank you for your hard work!

    • Laura h. Chapman permalink

      Thanks for the video. This guy is really scary. He is not thinking about education. He is thinking about making money fast and furiously from test scores and other data in the data warehouses that Gates , Pearson and USDE are putting together,
      The Pearson report suggests the need for something like an organization once called Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility.

  5. Mercedes,

    One of your readers forwarded this to me knowing I had written about the FuturICT shift to use Big Data for planning. This is far worse though. Both the authors were on the Gordon Commission and are thus connected to the resources of Educational Testing Services in addition to Pearson and previously Cisco.

    It is also consistent with using computers to provide the data on inner mental states and emotional dispositions that the cybernetic theory of controlling human behavior was built around. No wonder there is a tribute this summer in Boston to Norbert Weiner. Activity throws off data, responses throw off more data on internal representations, computer adapts until learning has occurred. With learning being defined as change in the student. Precisely what Weiner and the psychologists at Moscow State during the Cold War always wanted to be able to do. I have a book by Nina Talyzina.

    Quite a chilling combo of declared intentions.

  6. If we continue down this path from an evolutionary standpoint, we are destined to become just a body without a brain. Do we really need machines to think for us to this extent? We are already born with the capacity to know what is best for us (our own inner voice), IMO we need to foster this ability more not less.

    • Michael permalink

      It’s not “we” who are doing this it is “they.” This is an important distinction.

  7. Laura h. Chapman permalink

    “Having more data also helps us build better models of learners’ knowledge, skills, and attributes. The data helps us “tune” these models, ensuring that the relationships between what we observe from learners and the inferences we draw about their proficiencies are accurate
    and valid.” This is the heart of the problem. Neither accurate or valid is possible, and faith that this revolution gives us more wisdom is totally misplaced.
    I prefer the following quote that I used at the start of a recent paper:
    “We are more susceptible than we may think to the “dictatorship of data”—that is, letting the data govern us in ways that may do as much harm as good. The threat is that we will let ourselves be mindlessly bound by the output of our analyses even when we have reasonable grounds for suspecting something is amiss. Or that we will attribute a degree of truth to data which it does not deserve.”
    Viktor Mayer-Schönberger & Kenneth Cukier. (2013). Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. p. 166.

  8. The crypto-cute headers aside, it’s basically one long riff on the implementation of a totalitarian system, and a pretty poor dissertation at that. She repeats herself, ad nauseum.
    Semantics got thrown out the window long ago, replaced by jargon. This is sophomoric think-tank echo-chamber rhetoric.

  9. For what it’s worth, Justice Antonin Scalia also loves to cite to himself.

  10. Michael permalink

    I read some of the document and watched the presentation from the comment by CC. What we have in both instances is a deranged form of techno-utopianism. Through the use of empty jargon we are led to believe that these esoteric processes (they call education) are somehow going to alleviate (or eliminate) the human condition. This is all hackneyed stuff that has been trotted for years in numerous forms.

    By now it seems we should all be living on the moon in our cybersuits. And certainly it seems the technology has failed us as we have yet to avoid the need for soil to grow food. And shouldn’t we be able to download our brains into a Microsoft product for full enhancement?

    Keep in mind that all of these “futuristic educators” are on the payroll- every single one of them. It’s important also to understand that nearly all of them are extremely uninformed as to how the world actually works- they are all elitists.

    One of the primary falsehoods that is regurgitated here is that somehow all of this is inevitable and that somehow we who don’t live in the world of “data jargon” are somehow to be rendered powerless, spellbound by the pretentious mysticism of these rainmakers. Do not believe that for a second.

    It takes so little to break the spell of these people. Go to one of these conferences and ask the idiot in the above clip if he is interested in the social welfare of children and naturally he will assent. Now ask him if Knewton Inc. will be providing all of it’s “products” for free to the poorest kids on the planet. Watch him squirm and evade. And then ask him how much money he makes off all of this. Simple questioning such as this exposes the profound fraud that is the essence of all these “reformers.”

    Ultimately all of these bloviations are no more than the catechism of Corporate America as they trot out their destructive ideologies at the expense of our kids (and ourselves) which I will not stand for. It’s just Taylorism dressed up in modern behaviorist-business jargon.

  11. Michael permalink

    Meanwhile many tech companies (e.g. Microsoft) who are involved in and/or looking to make inroads towards the education-industrial complex are avoiding paying their taxes (which should be going to public services (like schools, infrastructure etc.) by using tax havens abroad. So when gates and all the others speak about their grand social generosity be sure to bring this up and ask them if they care so much about public welfare why is it they are avoiding paying their taxes with the shiftiest of maneuvers.


    The largest U.S.-based companies added $206 billion to their stockpiles of offshore profits last year, parking earnings in low-tax countries until Congress gives them a reason not to.

    The multinational companies have accumulated $1.95 trillion outside the U.S., up 11.8 percent from a year earlier, according to securities filings from 307 corporations reviewed by Bloomberg News. Three U.S.-based companies — Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), Apple Inc. and International Business Machines Corp. — added $37.5 billion, or 18.2 percent of the total increase.


    Lawmakers in the U.S., the U.K., France and Italy have scrutinized companies such as Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard Co., Apple, Google Inc. (GOOG) and Inc.


    In three years, Microsoft’s profits held offshore have more than doubled and Apple’s have more than quadrupled. Google’s cache has more than doubled in the past three years, to $38.9 billion from $17.5 billion.

  12. I’m reminded of John Hersey’s 1960 novel, “The Child Buyer.” The subduction of Barry Rudd. A chilling glimpse into our Bladerunner society.

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