In this video, science fiction master Isaac Asimov (who died in 1992) describes a future world where self directed, online learning allows individuals at any age to learn about whatever truly fascinates them. For a young company committed to disrupting education, it’s enormously encouraging that such a famous futurist foretold the coming of specific features MentorMob is providing.

Technology is crushing barriers to education left and right, and in Asimov’s words, soon, “everyone can have a teacher in the form of access to the gathered knowledge of the human species.”

A few more notable excerpts:

What, according to Asimov, is the biggest problem with institutionalized education?

Nowadays, what people call learning is forced on you. Everyone is forced to learn the same thing on the same day at the same speed in class. And everyone is different. For some it goes too fast, for some too slow, for some in the wrong direction.

But what about the problems accessing computers for some students?

It’s not that we would expect everybody to have a perfect computer right off…but you try for it. And with time, I think more and more will. For goodness sakes, when I was young very few people had automobiles. Very few people had telephones in the home. Almost nobody had an air conditioner. Now, these things are very common indeed, almost universal. I think it might be the same way.

Is it a mistake not to allow students a choice from early on in which studies they take?

[A student] has got to look forward to the fun in life, which is following his own bent.

Life long learning should not be seen as optional, or unusual?

There’s no reason, then, if you enjoy learning, why you should stop at a given age. People don’t stop things they enjoy doing just because they reach a certain age.

Is it overly optimistic to think people will take advantage of access to so much knowledge?

I’d like to think that people who were given a chance of broadening their knowledge of the universe wouldn’t seek so avidly after mysticism. I wonder how many people go for these nonsensical things simply because they must go for something and it’s the only thing available.

One of the most prolific science fiction authors of all time, Isaac Asimov’s predictive powers are no less incredible now than when he first imagined a vast human civilization among the stars.