Last week, Donald Trump met with Yale’s David Gelernter, a computer scientist who once called Barack Obama a “third-rate tyrant,” as he seeks to fill the position of White House science adviser. Gelernter is a computing genius whom the Washington Post dubbed an “anti-intellectual.”
If by that they mean Gelernter believes universities now are mostly interested in advancing political agendas and enriching administrators, then they’re right. As Gelernter writes in The Wall Street Journal Monday, “Over 90 percent of U.S. colleges will be gone within the next generation, as the higher-education world inevitably flips over and sinks.”
In Gelernter’s view, the future of higher education will involve a focus on STEM subjects while “throwing out” the arts and humanities. Online courses will become commonplace, but not without evolving, and students will need a “digital guides or mentors” to carry them through online education.
Degrees themselves will become a thing of the past, Gelernter writes as they’re “gradually be replaced by certified transcripts.” Rather than a university conferring the degree, a “transcript” — that is, coursework showing that a student has successfully learned a given set of material — will be “vouched for” by a trusted institution like a think tank, newspaper, museum, or research lab.
If these ideas sound wild, consider this: The other person rumored to be in the running for science adviser is Princeton physicist William Happer who recently told Nature, “My views are that the whole climate hysteria is greatly overblown. I really do believe more CO2 will be good for the world.”