"Convergence of previously separate scientific disciplines and fields of engineering cannot take place without the emergence of new kinds of people who understand multiple fields in depth and can intelligently work to integrate them. New curricula, new concepts to provide intellectual coherence, and new forms of educational institutions will be necessary." -- Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance NANOTECHNOLOGY, BIOTECHNOLOGY, INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCE NSF/DOC-sponsored report Edited by Mihail C. Roco and William Sims Bainbridge, National Science Foundation [emphasis mine]
The Emergence of New Kinds of People
This is something of an understatement. Most people are educated and trained to be able to function in a very narrow field, providing normal science and technology with the necessary labor to make evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, change and progress. That's how our current educational system is designed, and that's its purpose, from top to bottom. Further, in order to make this limited training possible, there must not be a depth of study within any particular field that raises uncomfortable questions as to how it bleeds into other disciplines -- whether in a continuous sense, as between say, chemistry and physics, or in the sense of co-existence, as we might see in the simultaneous concerns of medicine, economics, law, and government.
This emergence has occurred many times in the past, and has always been suppressed rather than encouraged. We don't so much need a new kind of student, as a new kind of permission to pursue studies without the emphasis on submission to a blinkered dogma of educational and occupational immediacy.
New Concepts to Provide Intellectual Coherence
To organize information in a coherent way, allow each student to organize all that they learn in whatever way they like, and organize it in such a way that all of the material seems to gain a synergistic level of meaning to them. The human mind and brain are the finest systems of truly integrated and immediately useful information we will have for some time to come, and will continue to be able to simply improve their performance as technology improves. We have not yet found the limits of human capability in this and many other fields, but are just now embarking on a path that may begin to approach those limits -- finally. Took us long enough, didn't it?
There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom
The above report seems to completely ignore the possibility of making use of quantum technology in the future (or even the present?) as part of a comprehensive approach to technology. For all the reports emphasis on increasing human capability, it seems to leave out some fundamental questions as to the nature of human consciousness and sapience. How well does Humanity know its own limits? How much of that knowledge has been given any real recognition by social institutions? It's too bad that there isn't someone who could establish a huge leap into this new discipline of mind over matter, right? P;D