How the Internet will overtake Universities

The internet was born late night on October 29, 1969, and was used to send an unamusing message, log in. And as expected, the system crashed but a technology revolution had begun! At its earliest day, the internet was known as the ARPANET and was funded by the US military to use for communication during the Cold War. It was the key to help computer scientists work remotely and access information from data centers across America. At least that’s what the scientist at that time thought the ARPANET/Internet would be used for. What they didn’t know is that what they had created would be used for cute dog videos and illegal streaming purposes 50 years down the road. #NBARedditStreams.

If I was able to travel back in time and tell them that the internet allows 1.9 Billion websites to run and lets people upload 95 million posts on Instagram per day, they would be confused. How did a platform made for wars turn into a place for cute cats and dogs? Who knows? But one thing I know for sure is that the internet is an invention that has revolutionized the way we live our lives. 

I love the internet, it has saved me a lot of money and allowed me to stay connected with friends around the world. But one thing I have recently started to notice is that the internet has become a platform for learning. There are courses, tutorials and Indian uncles making amazing math videos on YouTube. You can now even earn diplomas by attending online classes and get certificates from the comfort of your home. Websites like Coursera, Khan Academy are changing that way we learn. 

If all of this is available to us, what’s the purpose of attending University?

It’s a tough question and something that’s beyond my understanding. So, I Googled it. I came across an interesting podcast between Jordan Peterson and Joe Rogan where they discussed how people are flocking to YouTube and the internet just to learn! They talk about how over a million people watch lectures from professors that are over an hour-long religiously. They then wonder, if this phenomenon continues, which I believe will, what will the future for Universities look like?

Jordan Peterson, known for his bold statements, believes that “all you have to do is set a series of well-designed examinations online…and only let a minority of people pass” to replace universities. That’s it! that’s all you need to take over the University system! Let’s digest this a bit. 

What makes an Ivy league school so prestigious than state colleges? The credibility. The acceptance rate difference between these two types of schools can fall between 20 to 40 percent. In simple economic terms, the demand for Ivy League schools are high but, the seats available are low, which means the value (and price) of one seat is significantly high. The prestige of attending these schools is derived from their credibility. If only 15% of individuals can pass the examination, then the credibility of that “university” is high. I feel, that it won’t take that long for this process to be implemented. Someone will start a University online and I can guarantee, if they follow the same model as the Ivy League schools and the “credibility” system, we will see digital degrees being showcased on LinkedIn. Until then, let’s use our internet and beloved Sal Khan to stay curious and keep on learning.

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