In times past, we’ve seen Arthur C. Clarke, the great sci-fi writer, gaze into the future and foresee our reality in a most uncanny way. Just watch him predict our digitally-connected world in 1964, and then PC computers, e-banking and telecommuting in 1974.
Now it’s time to see whether Isaac Asimov, another sci-fi legend, possessed the same powers of prescience. Above, we’re highlighting the second part of an interview taped in 1989. It features Asimov and a younger Bill Moyers talking about education and scientific progress, and it doesn’t take long for Asimov to start describing the revolution in learning we’re seeing unfold today. Imagine a world where computers, internet connections and websites let people learn when they want, wherever they want, and how they want. Suddenly technology democratizes education and empowers people of all ages, and, before too long, “Everyone can have a teacher in the form of access to the gathered knowledge of the human species.” That’s the world we’re coming into, especially during recent months, thanks to Google, opencourseware, new-fangled MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), the Khan Academy, and even sites like our own. (Have you seen our lists of 450 Free Courses? 300 Free eBooks? 150 Free Textbooks? 400 Free Audio Books, etc?). Yes, 23 years ago, Asimov pretty much knew exactly where we would be today, and then some.