Stanford Archives — LIRNEasia

Stanford, one of the world’ great universities, is poised as the test bed for a disruptive innovation to beat them all. Bringing the costs down to one percent surely qualifies as disruptive. Thrun’s ultimate mission is a virtual university in which the best professors broadcast their lectures to tens of thousands of students. Testing, peer interaction and grading would happen online; a cadre of teaching assistants would provide some human supervision; and the price would be within reach of almost anyone. “Literally, we can probably get the same quality of education I teach in class for about 1 to 2 percent of the cost,” Thrun told me.
Like no one asks who invented the mobile, few ask who invented the mundane components of the computer that allow us to do what we do routinely. The mouse for one (try using a modern computer without one!). Doug Engelbart, a man I am proud to have been in the same room with, was the inventor of the mouse. Forty years of his vision was celebrated earlier this month at Stanford.
The Internet is marvel of decentralized human design.   But this has its own problems.   A group of researchers at Stanford are looking for insights that will be thrown up if they approach the problem of devising a system for communicating, retrieving information and publishing information electronically from scratch.   Fascinating stuff.   Wish them luck!