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A new local think tank, the Sarasota Institute, held its first of four symposiums January 18 at the Neel Auditorium at State College of Florida. Called “An Educated Person in 2025,” the event brought futurists, educators and technology experts together to project the ways education should adapt to technology in the academic world in the next decade.

Keynote speaker and institute founder David Houle told the audience of 225 that much of what we know and do will become obsolete by 2030. “In a time of transformation and disruption, education needs to be disruptive, “ Houle said. He asserted that by 2030, “40 percent of all existing jobs will be gone. Anything repetitive will be made redundant” by artificial intelligence. It will be as big a shift as the invention of electricity was to the way humans lived in the early 19th century.

This will be the “golden age of neuroscience,” Houle predicted, during which technology will make great strides in understanding the human brain. Among “ascendant technologies,” Houle cited brain/computer interfacing, artificial reality/virtual reality and expansion of implantable chips.

Dr. Lucy Lapovsky, economist and educator, said community colleges, able to move nimbly in response to changing conditions, will play an increasingly important role in higher education in the next decade.

Dr. Becky van der Bogert, a retired superintendent, author and leadership lecturer, listed three factors creating a new educational experience: 1. Brain research will inform teaching and the learning process; 2. There is a sense of urgency and a greater acceptance for need to change; 3. Diversity is forcing us to rethink the way we teach our children to think.

The Sarasota Institute has identified 10 issues crucial to understanding and shaping the world as technological advances disrupt the status quo. Its next symposium, “A Leap Year Look at Climate Change,” is Feb. 29. (To register for the forums, click here.)

David Klement is on the advisory board of The Sarasota Institute.

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