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Anybody else reminded of The Diamond Age: Or, A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer by Neal Stephenson?

I was reminded of that as well. And when I read through the comments, one of the experiments confirmed that yes, the Diamond Age actually gave them inspiration:

>> Richard Smith >> Exactly. See http://cananian.livejournal.com/tag/nell The Diamond Age was an inspiration for some of the software we developed for the tablet.

Yup; fascinating to see how close / far that future is.

To my mind the most acute observation Stephenson makes in that novel is that if you control the education of hundreds of millions of people in the third world, you also get tremendous political and social influence (the "Mouse Army"). This potential for power is something that I think is understood deeply by Salman Khan (who already has a devoted legion of followers whose lives he has changed) and by groups like Coursera and EdX.

How much government funding is there in the educational startup space?

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