About eight months ago, when you were less than a year old, Dad had a hit-and-run accident on the 55 Freeway. My car spun 180 degrees, and faced oncoming traffic.Luckily, the cars behind me didn’t hit me and I survived. I didn’t see flashes like those coming back from “the light” tunnels, (as you often hear of in traumatic or near-death experiences), it happened way too suddenly, too fast. If you convert the 13.8-billion-years-old observable universe into a year’s timeframe; a 60-year life span is merely 0.13 second. Life is just sparks of some lucky stardusts collided.
After reading the story of Randy Pausch and Morrie Schwartz, I got a chill knowing that I could be gone without seeing you grow up. I decided to leave you my last words in advance. I wholeheartedly glad I have met you. You have taught me to be patient and considerate. I hope you enjoy your endeavors as an adventurer, and always find a way to achieve your dreams.
The world you encounter will be very different from today. You will not need to drive, you’ll have free Internet access and we’re even seeing concepts such as 3D-printed houses that can be recycled. Other amazing things on the horizon include the ability to cultivate nutritious food without killing your friends (remember you love bear bear animals?) and your professional occupation will likely be something we can’t even imagine right now.
Beside environmental issues, one thing keeps me up at night is education. When I look into your curious eyes, I can’t help wondering if there is a new way of learning ahead. With knowledge available at your fingertips, there is no need to memorize facts. There must be a better way to unleash your critical thinking and creativity.
“Creativity is as important as literacy.” ― Ken Robinson
I don’t agree with the current education system which was designed to meet the demand of industrial era. The cookie-cutter model does not match one’s interests and abilities to his or her rate of learning. The standardized tests don’t prepare problem-solving skills for the knowledge economy era. Students are like batched in an assembly line waiting to get a job without examining their true potential. I will not rely solely on the teachers and schools, but as parents, we should have an equal responsibility to influence the education of our children.
Hopefully in the future, education will be free, (not only from Sander’s proposals, but because technology will liberate us to access and absorb information). For example, based on your taste or preference, an A.I. learning buddy can curates highly-relevant learning materials from domain experts. You can choose to develop a personalized curriculum that matches your passion and aptitude, and form study groups from interested-oriented people all over the world.
“Walking among three people, from at least one I be able to learn.” ~ Confucius
When lots of mundane jobs are replaced by robots, we can use the extra time to create, explore new hobbies, learn new things to ignite human capital and create abundance for everyone. Perhaps we can teach one another and provide one-on-one mentorship and get reward by sharing our insights. With new technology, you will learn in whole new ways with less friction to collaborate. The future of personalized education will then align with the personalized knowledge economy.
Dad-dad loves to play and create with you. I once designed a game to encourage you to learn traditional Chinese characters. I could imagine what version 2 will be like; a digital and physical interaction of fun. Maybe a game can evolve as we grow old and helps us bond while playing, just like playing chinese checker or mahjong with my parents.
Life is a creative process. My advice to you is to be a kind, curious maker or an entrepreneur. You will fall and you will learn. Find your passion. When you get older, travel! Not only using VR, but meeting new friends from all the continents in person. I hope you will have fun playing and learning with friends, and your children. Laugh a lot and stay away from negativity. When you are down, look upon the billions stars above and may you find joy in this ephemeral journey. Remember, no dream is too high when the eyes are on the stars!