Roger C. Schank discusses wisdom on World Questions 2009

For all responses from to the question "What will change everything?" go to The World Questions Center 2009. Here, many intellectuals from around the globe adress the question of "What game-changing scientific ideas and developments do you expect to live to see?"

Psychologist & Computer Scientist; Engines for Education Inc.; Author, Making Minds Less Well Educated Than Our Own


"An executive of a consumer products company who I know was worrying about how to make the bleach his company produces better. He thought it would be nice if the bleach didn't cause "collateral damage." That is, he wanted it to harm bad stuff without harming good stuff. He seized upon the notion of collateral damage and began to wonder where else collateral damage was a problem. Chemotherapy came to mind and he visited some oncologists who gave him some ideas about what they did to make chemotherapy less harmful tp patients. He then applied those same ideas to improve his company's bleach.

He began to wonder about what he had done and how he had done it. He wanted to be able to do this sort of thing again. But what is this sort of thing and how can one do it again?

In bygone days we lived in groups that had wise men (and women) who told stories to younger people if they thought that those stories might be relevant to their needs. This was called wisdom and teaching and it served as way of passing one generation's experiences to the next..."

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