Really Wild Stuff

The One Dollar PhD

A PhD requires about 10,000 hours of work: reading, group instruction, research. An HDTV channel requires up to 14 Mb/s of compressed information. If the data flow to ten students averages HDTV rates for 40% of the time, the total data per student is 3600 x 10K * 14M * 0.40 / 10 = 2E13 bits.

An 8000 satellite, 40kg server sky array might cost $1M; $760,000 to manufacture and $240,000 to launch (WAG). It might transmit 100 Gb/s of information by superposition of many packets to multiple ground stations. If the service life of the array is 6 years, 200 million seconds, it can ship 1E11*2E8 = 2E19 bits. 2E13 bits per dollar.

So the information cost per student is a dollar. Of course, the information must be created, programs prepared for pacing each student, some human evaluation, etc. However, a tiered school system built around group collaboration, with older students teaching younger, and students completing the process programming the system for those that come after, might complete the information flow; after all, schools are a monetized/debt version of this, as all faculty in tuition schools are former students of some previous school.

In "Development as Freedom", Amartya Sen shares the example of Kerala state in India, where the people are poor in monetary income, while literacy and health are much higher than the (low) Indian average. Dr. Sen explains that where wages are low, the cost of living can also be low, so that teachers and medical professionals can offer their services much cheaper than in other places and still live well. With effective "education multipliers" such as programmed instruction delivered from Server Sky, a region like Kerala may be able to educate itself to a very high level by exponentially expanding its professional community, perhaps one day becoming very wealthy teaching the rest of the developing world.

RwsOneDollarPhD (last edited 2015-01-16 04:57:20 by KeithLofstrom)