This isn’t about the glorious days of child soldiers and underage coal miners. Those weren’t cool.
However, labor laws and mandatory K-12 schooling can soon be revisited. Most of the education curriculum can be consolidated into a five year program. Let kids finish school at 13 or 14, then let them decide if they want to join the workforce. Not the coal mining workforce that we created these laws to prevent, but the knowledge workforce, where they can practice skills as project managers, software engineers, artists, business developers.
Kids are such an untapped potential, so why not give them an opportunity in the freelance workforce? The most successful project I ever launched was a Magic eCommerce site. I was 17, and my business partner was 16. Our web designer was 15. The only reason we got away with it was because we leveraged the anonymity of the internet and didn’t tell any adults.
With adaptable algorithms, kids will be able to learn quickly and effectively. Slowly pushing them through assembly lines to appeal to arbitrary educational standards will be a thing of the past. The kids that need or want all 13 years to get through the curriculum can still have it. But children that learn at an excelled pace should not be punished and driven to boredom by our factory school system.
And if you’re worried about kids interacting with adults, there will be whole companies run by children, with adults or AI acting as coaches and mentors (note that it didn’t say managers), not competing co-workers. Ender’s Game got it right, children are our biggest hope.
A perfect example in the news of a 9 year old boy that built a mechanical hand for his teacher.