>But at least in the US, there's a huge problem that the problems we have that can be solved are increasingly technical…
I would have to agree with this statement.
>…requiring more and more education.
I disagree with this statement if it means dealing with the BS that entails submitting oneself to the pipeline in order work on research.
>Meanwhile, the incentives we're providing incentivize not getting more education.
Oddly, I think this still holds true despite my disagreement with the above (if education == submitting oneself to the pipeline in order work on research).
For myself, I write software for mobile devices and eeg hardware for research and data analysis in a neuro lab and have to consult with other labs around the world who want to do experiments and don't have those capabilities in house, without having a degree of any sort. Occasionally this involves reading papers from topics like DSP, EM, comp geometry, and neuroimaging on top of software/hardware documentation for use in such software.
The post-docs and phd students I see are increasingly becoming inept when it comes to even conducting experiments and has lead to gross inefficiencies as more and more things require not only basic knowledge of computing and systems but other fields they are simply not exposed to on a practical degree. Even worse, there seems to be this expectation that they don't have to pursue/learn or do such things (probably because it wasn't covered in their syllabi and they wont receive a grade for it…), though I see a lot of superficial efforts at trying address such.
I think as long as the dynamics continue as they are in academia, they will allow for opportunity for those who have skills sans degrees (not signals of skills) to find work that is meaningful for them and possibly society… that will bought and paid for those who willingly submit themselves to the usual pipeline (at increasing expense).
I see this a lot in my lab (days/weeks to run computations and analysis that could take minutes/hours), and I used to offer to help the postdocs/phd students port their code from matlab to C/C++, but I've mostly given up on offering unless they ask for help, or if it seems like fun. I also think it's because they mostly think they won't work on these things again (which is kind of weird to think about since they spent most of their life working to get to this point, but that's another conversation).
Aside, I think armadillo is pretty great, especially going back and forth with other matrix libraries, also nice wrapper around OpenBLAS which made not running something on a cluster more bearable.
Some want to define terms with clear broad strokes and become frustrated when their observations don't lie clearly along those partitions. A good experimentalist would then simply change how they define things in order to have partitions that match their observations more closely, but that is not the case for most, especially if ones living depends on it (observations tend to be highly skewed).
Something about infosec/def contractors arguing ethics I find quite comical, especially since governments and their contractors don't sit down with AT&T and the like and discuss the nuances surrounding the ethics of what they wanted done with customers of such over crips and tea (at best it was probably limited to lawyer speak with the providers in some secret court with secret rules),and then discuss how most of the work would be outsourced to private companies/individuals to "protect information" (information collected from providers who collected it from customers) from the "outsiders" (customers of such providers).
All this does is just keep information from the general public, and enable the present asymmetry we see at play between the State (might as well throw in corporate contractors and NGO's) and the public.
The "Chinese" certainly don't have too hard of time getting good info (OPM hack, etc), at least going by the way you hear the cries of fire in the crowded theatre of what passes for journalism and news.
Which is true, however facebook is incentivized to go after anyone who is successful at using that content on their on site (linking to profile photos).
I learned this the hard way from a project I was working on that mined and crowd sourced personality information, where we shut down after a loss in traffic in response to a C & D from facebook to not link to photos (which disrupted how people engaged with the site).
What we realized though, was that n-1 people truly don't care about ones own privacy, and because of this, if any laws people create to try to address this aren't reflective of what is possible in reality, it will be toothless (like when me and my friend got a request from CNIL, and basically ignored them with no consequences).
If we build upon your assertion ("to have an effective meritocracy you have to have universal education"), if some of those in power define universal education differently (which would seem to make any concept of universality in education void of such in practice), then it wouldn't be surprising to see a decline in the effectiveness of an economic system, which is what I would suggest is what we are seeing today.
Universal education is not the same as universality in education. If the aim is to identify the 0.1% it does not matter if the universal education is rather spotty in quality since the highly intelligent will manage to succeed no matter how poor the educational environment.
If you want to be really clever you just give those smart kids who had a bad school environment bonus marks at the university entrance stage and give full scholarships - say just like the elite universities do right now.
I should mention the aim of the rich is not to maximise production, but their share and status. It does not matter if the pie is smaller as long as the size of your slice is larger.
What would stop any of such highly intelligent from eventually co opting the structures of today and doing something short term orthogonal (maybe even beneficial to the "share and status"), long term oppositional to some of those in power, if say, they reject to continue attending an ivy/elite league university after they attend for a couple of years after getting a scholarship, and realize that they can pursue "other interests" with such forces of coercion in mind?
This is actually a very good question. There are really a few possible answer to this. The main one is that those clever people that can make it into the ruling class, but choose to reject it, are not a worry to the ruling class since these people are not going to organise a revolution from outside. If you are not interested in ruling then you are not a worry to those in power.
More fundamentally most very smart people realise that they are outliers and that their children are likely to regress to the mean. While the elite welcome the very clever into their club, they also use their power and status to benefit their not so clever children (e.g. legacy students).
I am of course speaking as an outside observer to the ruling class, but I have some personal interaction with this class (Australia is not that big). The vast majority I have met are intelligent and decent people. Their one major flaw is they believed that they made it there on merit, when in fact they all came from very privileged backgrounds (both genetically and environmentally). If you believe that you are rich and powerful because of your own hard work then you are prone to dismiss people who aren't rich as just the people who have just not worked hard enough.