The Coming Revolution in American Brainpower Development - iLearn @Home

The Coming Revolution in American Brainpower Development


We all know that technology has revolutionized our world. It has changed the fundamental forces that drive our economy, and changed virtually every aspect of our daily lives.

But have you ever stopped to think about some of the important consequences?

For starters, it’s eliminated businesses that were part of the fabric of our society for generations. The effects are so vast, younger generations have no recollection of how things used to be.

The centerpiece of our information flow, the typewriter, is gone, along with the typewriter repair businesses. The mechanical adding machines have been replaced with a little “app” inside a telephone, of all things. You wear your telephone on your belt, or in your pocket, instead of having it stuck on a table in your living room.

The dashboard on your car is now just a computer display screen.  And soon…the computer will drive for you. Until then, Uber will get you a car on demand, whenever you need it. Just ask the voice inside your phone to call one for you.

Remember disintermediation?1

Because of it, whole industries have disappeared or changed completely.

Jobs on the assembly line, the mainstay of the economy for almost the entire century of the industrial revolution? Gone. Replaced by robots who do the jobs more reliably, and at a lower cost.

Someone under 20 has no idea what a travel agent used to do for a living –mostly selling airline tickets. Who needs to call a travel agent to buy an airline ticket when you can now do it on your computer or your phone?

And do they know that a real estate agent used to spend most of their time driving clients all over town just so they could see what houses looked like?  How lame is that, when you can see dozens of houses online in the time it used to take to see one?

BTW, speaking of industry makeovers, what’s a bookstore?

Better yet, what’s BTW? And LOL, and YOLO, and ROFLMAO for that matter?

We have a whole new language invented by our kids (to make sure adults don’t know what they’re saying?) And, along with it, texting has replaced writing. And cursive writing? Going, Going, Gone? Many say It’s irrelevant now. And the kicker…it may not be long before kids are asking their parents: “What’s a pencil?”

Do you remember FotoMats?

These drive-through photo kiosks were a great convenience when you had to drop off film to have your analog photos “developed” and then return to pick them up days later. Suddenly, traditional cameras, photos, and all things analog, including audio recordings, have gone bye-bye. No more Kodak. No more Polaroid. No more tape recorders; no more VHS tapes…no more Walkman recorders that forever changed an industry.

In the “dark ages” before technology, we actually needed “darkrooms” just to see the pictures we took with a camera.

Seriously? No wonder “selfies” weren’t popular then.

And speaking of analog devices… No more broadcast television.

Even radar is being replaced by digital watchdogs from space (i.e., GPS satellites), and lasers and mathematical algorithms now guide bombs.

When’s the last time you wrote a check? If you’re under 30, you probably have never written one!

You just swipe your card or tap your phone instead.

Does your child or grandchild even know what an Encyclopedia is…and why we paid so much money for them?

Do they know the reason we call a PowerPoint presentation a “slide show”? Or why Facebook’s now has carousel ads, for that matter? Does it have anything to do with a “carousel slide projector?”. (If you don’t know, see Episode X of Mad Men. You can stream it on your phone.)

Have they ever heard of an 8-track tape? (Tell them to look in their grandparents” basement.)

When’s the last time you used a printed map to find your way around?

The list goes on and on…to staggering proportions.

So what caused all this upheaval in the way we live?

Here’s a clue (as if you needed one): As recently as 1970, just over 45 years ago, a “regular” computer had to be housed in a large, climate controlled room with miles of wires and enormous stocks of large magnetic tapes to store the data. Even a “small” computer (the kind I used in grad school) was bigger than a chest of drawers in your bedroom.

Ever heard of Gordon Moore?2

If so, you know why we now wear even more powerful computers than these on our wrists! Go figure. And they’re now built into almost everything. Who knew that “wearable technology” would be part of your wardrobe…and it ain’t a computer strapped to your back.

And these are just the things the average consumer comes in contact with on a regular basis.

Even more fundamental changes have happened in the infrastructure on which our economy runs.

Just a few years ago, in a venture backed by a well-known internet guru of the time, a 1,000+ mile cable was run underground from Chicago to New York at a cost of billions of dollars…just to gain a few nanoseconds in communicating with the stock market.


Because with digital communication those nanoseconds give them a huge advantage in trading stocks at a favorable price.

The “power grid”, the enormous system of wires used to distribute electricity may be the next infrastructure to fall prey to technology, replaced by a computer controlled-network of local power generating devices.

In short, if you’re over 30 years old, the world we grew up in does not exist anymore.  Frightening to contemplate, but it’s true.

And, of course, what’s the one thing that’s make all of this possible?


And what are computers? Digital adding machines. Just ask the British mathematician, Alan Turing, who built the first one during WW II.

And what do digital adding machines require?

Sorry to have to tell you… but it’s math.

Yep, it’s true, in spite of the fact that so many Americans hate math… everything digital is based on math.

Don’t believe me? As Yogi Berra would say, “you can look it up.”

It’s why STEM2 careers are now the road to riches.

And as a result of this, the world is rapidly being divided into two very different camps – those that understand how computers, and all things digital, work, and those that do not.

Just ask the dozens of young entrepreneurs who became billionaires through their technology businesses.

On the flip side, the “Do Not’s” (the ones who don’t understand technology) are facing darker and darker prospects in life.

They’re become no more than slaves to technology rather than contributors to society.

Those who don’t understand digital technology, and the math it’s based on, are destined to be marginalized in our society and relegated to lower paying jobs, and limited prospects for a better life.

If you think I’m being Chicken Little, try reading what technology innovators say about where our society is heading. It will probably feel like a slap to the side of the head – at least that’s what it felt like to me when I read books like Abundance, Zero to One, and others.

There are many reasons America has always excelled as a nation… too many to cover here.

But there is a startling and disturbing fact that will become a central part of your children’s lives…and their childrens’ as well:

America is in danger of losing its preeminent position as the leader of the world because of an ironic twist.

In spite of the fact that we’ve largely transformed the world with technology, America is squandering its most precious resource – the one that led to its most recent technological advances.

What is it?

It’s brainpower.

It takes smart people to excel in the technology world. And it takes a highly effective education system to produce exceptional levels of brainpower.

Yet, the one field that has yet to see the dramatic benefits of technology is the very one that spawned the capacity to develop the technology in the first place – the education system.

Yet there is good news on the horizon.

Imagine a world in which the likes of Gates, Jobs, Page and Brin, Musk, Zuckerberg, and others like them are the norm, not the exception.

Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it. But it’s coming.  Make no mistake about it.

It’s now becoming possible as we turn technology onto the roots of its own creation – the education process. Particularly the math education process. We now have an alternative to traditional education that makes math prodigies the norm rather than the exception.

If it sounds far-fetched, think again.

To learn more about how it’s happening, and the phenomenal benefits, stay tuned.

And, remember, you heard it first here.


1Disintermediation is the removal of the “middleman” between the consumer and a limited resource, such as airline tickets, houses for sale, stock market trades, etc

2He’s the discoverer of Moore’s law says that computer capacity doubles every 18 months

3STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering and Math

Spread the Word

Dr. Robert Collins

Bob Collins is a former college professor and research scientist in the Psychology of Learning at Florida State University and Georgia Tech. For the past 30 years, he has been a successful entrepreneur with multiple companies specializing in instruction delivered via the computer and internet. He is the founder and CEO of iLearn, which provides online instruction in math for K-12 schools, parents and students at home, and college developmental math since 1989.

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