A few years ago, when Gary Lawrence and I wrote Rotten to the (Common) Core, two of our chief concerns about the whole program were (1) the possibility that the ultimate goal was to replace human teachers in the classroom with robots (a goal not, of course, ever stated explicitly), and (2) that the "individually-adapted computerized standardized tests" being touted for the program were not only building on the faulty foundations of the standardized test to begin with, but that the ultimate goal was to expand the surveillance state thereby, and possibly, to use technology for further mind manipulation and social engineering. To this we added a third concern, namely, that teachers would end up being nothing but classroom "proctors" and "robot maintenance" technicians.

Well, this article shared by Ms. M.W. seems to indicate that these fears might have been justified:

'Inspirational' robots to begin replacing teachers within 10 years

Consider just the opening paragraphs of this prediction:

Robots will begin replacing teachers in the classroom within the next ten years as part of a revolution in one-to-one learning, a leading educationalist has predicted.

Sir Anthony Seldon, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buckingham, said intelligent machines that adapt to suit the learning styles of individual children will soon render traditional academic teaching all but redundant.

The former Master of Wellington College said programmes currently being developed in Silicon Valley will learn to read the brains and facial expressions of pupils, adapting the method of communication to what works best for them.

And then there's this, a little further on in the article:

As part of robot-led learning, teachers would adopt the role of “overseers”, monitoring the progress of individual pupils, leading non-academic activities and providing pastoral support, Sir Anthony said. (Emphases added)

Sadly, Mr. Seldon appears to have corroborated our first two fears, as well as the third.

But it's the manner in which he corroborated Mr. Lawrence's and my third fear that really caught my eye, for note that the role of the "teacher", in his "vision", is to be a coordinator of "non-academic activities", whatever those are. We get a hint, perhaps, of what he means by this when he uses the phrase "providing pastoral support." It's the religious imagery and allusion here that, frankly, disturbs me deeply. In fact, the religious allusion here has a distinctly Christian reference, since "pastoral" is a word that stems from that religio-cultural matrix. To his credit, Mr. Seldon also issues this caution:

"The great danger is that it takes jobs away, and for humans beings much of our fulfilment in life comes from the satisfaction of work.

"If we get the technology wrong it will end up doing everything for us in the same way that satnavs mean we no longer know how to read maps."

Experts predict that automated teaching of maths and science will form the vanguard of machine-led learning, but that sophisticated algorithms would soon be devised to teach the humanities.

But in spite of this caution, one wonders exactly what "religion" Mr. Seldon has in mind that might be promoted by the reduction of the teacher to "providing pastoral support." I have no doubt that what he probably meant was simply that the teacher will be there to provide that all-important human-support-and-encouragement component of education. But I also have no doubt that his words also conjure a danger that "education" will become, courtesy of the "inspirational robot", a new kind of (probably secularized) religion, promoting faith in Almighty Technology and "values."  And the chief value that will be promoted is isolation, and the increasing inability of students in such a system to carry on intelligent conversation and discussion with other humans about philosophy, science, history, and so on. Already we see the denigration of culture by these technologies, with "conversation" taking place with clicks on an ipad, with shortening attention spans, inability to conduct long arguments and analysis, and to carry on conversations of more than five minutes' duration (and that's already stretching it).

The other profoundly disturbing thing that emerges from this is the implication that the technology will be "interactive." This is a short way from, and in my opinion, euphemistic way of indicating what the real goal of such technologies in the classroom really is: surveillance of the individual from childhood through adulthood, violation of the individual's privacy, and ultimately, the active manipulation of the individual's thoughts and emotional processes, in short, social engineering on a massive scale.

The education revolution is, indeed, a revolution, but it is an increasingly dehumanizing one. What I suspect will happen is that the "elites" will continue to seek out traditional educational venues for their children, with real teachers teaching real subjects and demanding real human interaction, while they push "technology" and political correctness on everyone else, and call it an "improvement."

The bottom line is: the choice between real human education, or its ersatz technological substitute, is upon us now, and the choice cannot be delayed any longer.

See you on the flip side...

Joseph P. Farrell

Joseph P. Farrell has a doctorate in patristics from the University of Oxford, and pursues research in physics, alternative history and science, and "strange stuff". His book The Giza DeathStar, for which the Giza Community is named, was published in the spring of 2002, and was his first venture into "alternative history and science".


  1. RBG Santa Monica on September 19, 2017 at 2:13 am

    I have read “Rotten To The Common Core” and have gifted copies of the book to some of my teacher friends. I have a nagging question for Dr. Farrell about the “interactive” nature of the education technology algorithms.

    In “Rotten To The Common Core”, Dr. Farrell and Gary Lawrence elucidate the surveillance and mind control implications of interactive software that is controlled by a corporate cartel contracting for the state. But it almost seems inevitable (to me anyways) that this style of education will become the norm in the coming century.

    And my nagging question this Dr. Farrell: Is your objection to the technology itself, or to the surveillance-state nature of its application? What if a child’s computer system is running the interactive algorithms “offline” and not reporting back to a central corporate server, but only operating locally on that child’s computer? Mightn’t this be an enormous positive innovation for educating the student with certain skills and disciplines?

    In no way do I wish to replace human teachers, I am one myself, but there are many subjects that may be carried far with technology-based study guidance. When the student follows the software and reaches a certain level, then they can report back to their human teachers for clarification, context, and wisdom.

    I recognize the dangers in our current un-human/anti-humanist system. I found the information in “Rotten To The Common Core” terrifying and infuriating, but I also see unprecedented potential for the advancement of childhood education with an “enlightened” use of these new technological tools. (An episode of Star Trek The Next Generation showed a 9-year-old kid who had calculus homework. It is this technology that will make that possible, so that the student is ready to learn hyper-dimensional physics in high school).

    • Kahlypso on September 19, 2017 at 8:03 am

      Hi Teacher RGB – Yep, children would easily understand hyper-dimensional physics, and they’d understand it a lot quicker if we werent still polluting their minds with religious dogma.. (but that’s just my personal view) They’d understand it even more.. or rather they might appreciate the learning, if we ensure that their teachers remain humans.. (and classrooms dont get bigger than 6 children to a class and teachers ought to be paid in 6 figure salaries.. THEY HAVE OUR CHILDREN IN THEIR HANDS.. that’s a FAAR more important job than losing other people’s money in stockmarkets and banging prost*tutes and taking drugs.. sorry I mean Bankers or Stocktraders..) and aren’t taught to by robots.
      School should be more than just a room for people to sit in rows bleating in harmony to maths problems and grammar rules (it is.. you can get blustered and outraged if you want, but you know it is)
      Woe betide if your school is owned by a religious organisation..and has daycare..
      It should be a place where our children learn to socialise with other people in society.. not abuse robots (or be abused.. but that’s another story.. usually including Presidio scenarios..) or how to become little socially retarded Sheeple..

      I’ll see your ‘I don’t want to replace human teacher’ and raise you a ‘there are NO subjects that OUGHT to carried far with tech-based study” Nothing replaces a human teacher.
      Then they report back to a controller once they’ve learnt to click the box and that methodology is properly ingrained? I wont write the rest of what I was going to say, because it starts getting messy..
      (clarification, context and wisdom?? why would a child ask for those? he’s followed the course and done what you told him to do..)
      I have a problem with education = following curriculums and the importance of gaining good scores on tests > children learning how to educate themselves.

  2. zendogbreath on September 18, 2017 at 10:18 pm

    thx1138 much anyone?

  3. goshawks on September 18, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    Permit me to riff a little sideways on your blog, inspired by the article’s reference to a ‘Seldon’. Most here probably know of Hari Seldon:
    “Hari Seldon is a fictional character in Isaac Asimov’s ‘Foundation’ series. In his capacity as mathematics professor at Streeling University on the planet Trantor, Seldon develops Psychohistory, an algorithmic science that allows him to predict the future in probabilistic terms. On the basis of his Psychohistory, he is able to predict the eventual fall of the Galactic Empire and to develop a means to shorten the millennia of chaos to follow. The significance of his discoveries lies behind his nickname ‘Raven’ Seldon.”

    On reflecting back to the Psychohistorians, this was probably the Biggest ‘spook’ enterprise ever envisioned. Think about it: Total secrecy. In-group. Long timetable. Mas sive surveillance – enough to ‘predict’ the probable future of the entire Galactic Empire. And finally, operatives – the ‘means’ to mold-it and twist-it in subtle ways to a desired outcome.

    From a ‘spook’ standpoint, Asimov wrote the ultimate ‘Bible’ of that profession. (The Psychohistorians used their ‘power’ for good purposes, as versus present practice.) Even Hari’s nickname ‘Raven’ is a prime codeword in many Intel ops and programs; an inside joke?

    Where this ties-into this blog is in the ‘opportunity’ provided by Inspirational Robots. I presume each student will have their own robot, far better than the 20-to-1 student-teacher ratio of today. Not only is this a Surveillance dream, but it is a Psychohistorian’s dream: data-gathering PLUS molding each student in subtle ways to accomplish the ‘desired’ future.

    Dr. Asimov, I really enjoyed your series. But were you a premiere spook?
    P.S. The Psychohistorians were not Psychic. They were data-gatherers and operatives. They were surprised and almost wiped-out by the psychic character known-as The Mule. Could this be the historical-background as to why anything psychic is downplayed and pushed towards extinction by OUR “psychohistorians”?

  4. marcos toledo on September 18, 2017 at 11:52 am

    This has been the meme of many a science fiction story and this nothing new. Book learning can be used to produce the same zombification if not combined interacting with others in idea exchange. And you are assuming Joseph that our elites are not infected by this roboticfication already especially the ruling class.

  5. Robert Barricklow on September 18, 2017 at 11:08 am

    This “the market can never be wrong” meme has FABAR’d.
    When will “we” select the 1st robot prez; CongressBot; SenateBOT; and “our” SupremeBOTS!

    • Robert Barricklow on September 18, 2017 at 11:17 am

      We’re finally going to have add a %#@*-load of Benedict Arnolds to the growing sell-out academic quacks
      and their pocket book master puppeteers.
      The Quacks Motto:
      Any study your desire with your solution in hand
      [I wouldn’t touch that line]…
      For A Quack-Quack Buck.

      • Robert Barricklow on September 18, 2017 at 11:30 am

        Producing atomized workers and believers
        [NOT Thinker]
        tethered to and all seeing eye
        being constantly evaluated/updated

        .and pray tell
        where are “our” master’s
        rug rats skools during all these
        of young innocent-trusting minds.?

        • Robert Barricklow on September 18, 2017 at 11:33 am

          All this for a quick quack-quack buck?

          • Robert Barricklow on September 18, 2017 at 11:34 am

            Which bring to mind…
            Where are you Vominto Blanco?

          • Kahlypso on September 19, 2017 at 8:09 am

            I always thought that VB was a disgruntled Democrat in Washington.. the way he talked about Chelsea.. I’m sure he/she passes her everyday in a corridor somewhere..I hope he/she managed to survive the latest series of Arkancides..

          • goshawks on September 19, 2017 at 2:34 pm

            Yeah, I miss VB, too. Much wisdom and a wicked wit. Come back, VB!

  6. JamesFee on September 18, 2017 at 10:29 am

    Does this qualify as a “Seldon” crisis?

    • goshawks on September 18, 2017 at 3:44 pm

      I wrote and published my comment before reading your comment. Similar minds!

    • Robert Barricklow on September 18, 2017 at 5:37 pm

      Seldon Crisis
      An prescient hologram
      presenting a Gladio-like scenario backdrop:
      Involves both
      an external pressure
      [false flag terrorist attack, etc., ]…
      an internal pressure
      [growing discontent/rebellion within the empire]
      Thus, before the rebellion materializes,
      the rogue states blames the victim[false flag]
      A cognitive dissonance like event
      with two opposing mindsets
      sharpening each other political acumen.
      Ironically, generated by the ongoing…
      corporate processes
      enveloping/consuming society.
      – [IMO]

      • Robert Barricklow on September 18, 2017 at 5:46 pm

        Goshawks, your analyses[Seldon Crisis] is right on.
        Reminds me of the description:
        “He” assumes a pleasing state.
        [The devil though, is in the details].

      • Yiannis Katospiti on September 18, 2017 at 10:04 pm

        Gracie Roberto!

        • Robert Barricklow on September 19, 2017 at 11:28 am

          Say Goodnight Gracie.

          Reminds that classic:
          The George Burns & Gracie Allen Show.

          • Robert Barricklow on September 19, 2017 at 11:30 am

            …and Gracie reminds me of my wife.
            Try arguing w/Gracie.
            [Rots of Ruck!]

  7. Neru on September 18, 2017 at 9:10 am

    A fitting end of Western civilization? Artificial robots programming meatbag robots and very fast concluding the meatbags are not worth programming!

  8. basta on September 18, 2017 at 6:55 am

    Now if they can just replace the students with robots.

    • WalkingDead on September 18, 2017 at 10:08 am

      Observe those around you with a smartphone in their hands Facebooking and Tweeting their lives away while they walk into traffic and fall off cliffs taking those selfies. Go to any school and watch the students doing the same thing. The sheeple are already robotic and adults/children are already communicating through these devices rather than simply talking to one another. Try removing that phone from their hands without surgery or severe withdrawal symptoms.
      Observe the topics being “discussed” through these devices. You will find reality missing and the inane the norm.
      I’m afraid the reprogramming of the modern worlds inhabitants is already well advanced and most of these people are already so isolated by this technology it will be extremely difficult to reintegrate them.

      • basta on September 19, 2017 at 6:25 am

        As always, spot on WD. I always say we’re in the stone age of the Matrix. Just wait until they go full transhuman and turn the iPhone-clutching masses into real zombies (Walking Dead, anyone?) that they can pilot like drones off cliffs and into the paths of buses.

    • Kahlypso on September 19, 2017 at 9:33 am

      • basta on September 19, 2017 at 9:58 am

        Why, it’s for the children, of course!


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