The educational chasm: cultural castes in the age of Wikipedia


Information has never been as accessible as it is today and yet we have abysmal differences between the education of some people and others, and these differences are evident from the age of six, and these differences condition more than ever the quality of life and the future of people. Perhaps a few years ago we could get ahead with dignity working as a stock boy in a supermarket, driving a simple machine or as seasonal workers in the field, but not today because all these tasks are being performed by machines that do not receive a salary, have no sick leave or rest days,.... and that is that whoever can be replaced by a robot will be replaced by a robot.

Build machines or be replaced by them.

We live better and better and we will live even better every day thanks to machines. In my first job back in 2002, when I was 26 years old, I had a secretary and today I do not have one even though I am the CEO of a company, and I do not have one because I have a phone where my agenda, my calendars, my mail and everything is synchronized with the people who work with me, 15 years ago there were 10 secretaries for every one that there is today. We have seen how bank branches have closed and continue to close because people no longer carry a passbook to have their transactions printed on it and soon we will see how there will no longer be cashiers in supermarkets, truck, cab and bus drivers.

Bulk Handling Systems' artificial intelligence-based robot for sorting garbage

We are the country of Sálvame,... and the country of Margarita Salas

The most watched program on television, yes, there are people who continue to watch television several hours a day, is one where people who have done nothing important in their lives are dedicated to whispering about other people who have also done nothing important in their lives; this program is called Sálvame and is broadcast for 5 hours a day, which says very little about our cultural level. Paradoxically, Spain has a scientific, engineering, cultural and even sporting talent that is increasingly valued outside our borders. Here the worst coexists with the best, and there begins to be an educational abyss that starts in childhood and gradually becomes something insurmountable over the years, it comes to configure cultural castes: eventually you are either from Sálvame or you are Margarita Salas.

Wisdom chases me but I'm faster

The funny thing is that unlike the Middle Ages where the serfs of the glebe could not touch a book in their lives, here both cultural castes: that of Sálvame and that of Margarita Sala carry Wikipedia, Google Translate or Coursera in their trouser pockets, to cite a few examples. Knowledge today is greater and more open than ever before in history, yet those of Sálvame despise it while those of Margarita Salas deify it. And that knowledge makes the difference between making machines or being replaced by them because if you have it you can choose sides but if you lack the knowledge you cannot.

Restlessness divine treasure

Only the cultural elites are educated today to be restless, to question dogmas, to be eager to learn and to be always up to date. There are hardly any schools or universities where people are taught to make a living or to learn through experimentation and error. There are hardly any environments where the child or adult who steps out of line, who takes risks, who is curious and encourages his or her curiosity and the curiosity of others is thanked.

With almost I do not mean that there are no such people but that they are a minority in the pareto, say 20% of the population that builds machines, for 80% that has been or is being replaced by them.


3 responses to "The educational chasm: cultural castes in the age of Wikipedia”

  1. I quite disagree with this harsh criticism of entertainment television and the people who consume it. For many people, and more so in non-glamorous areas of the cities or in empty Spain, people who have neither the money nor the ability to get cheap travel, or have "cultural" things nearby, whose life is to work and go home, entertainment television is their parallel reality, feeling like they know people whose vicissitudes they follow, etc. in the same way as long-running serials like Puenteviejo. This is not at odds with the fact that many of these people have children or grandchildren who have been the first "to have a career", to have a non-manual job, and are proud of it. It is not possible to turn back the clock and that many people who barely had educational opportunities or professional growth have them, that now they start reading Tolstoy novels, etc., it is not fair to criticize the generations that lived through a postwar period and lived in a much poorer country.
    I would focus more on the ni-ni generation, but that is not so much from Sálvame as from HMYV 🙂

    1. Javier Avatar

      I don't think it's a question of cultural level, there is entertainment for all levels without the need to criticize others.
      There are two axes: cultural level and interests and good/bad. Backbiting is bad for the one who suffers it, for the one who does it, and also for the one who listens to it.

  2. Environments where the critical spirit is cultivated, the eagerness to learn and share, there are some, and the good thing is that every day there are more.
    We have to break the silos of "us" those of Margarita Salas and "them" those of Esteban. We can, but we have to go down to the mud, because we can get out of the mud making exquisite pottery, but we have to get dirty 😉.

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