Up in the northern hemisphere, one of the jobs this time of year in the garden is raking leaves. Bringing them together into piles and having a few jumps in them if kids are around. Then bringing the piles together in one spot ideally with some walls around them.
And then waiting. Not for a week or a month, but usually about 2 years when the pile of leaves becomes lovely compost soil (leaf mould).
Gardening is that weird combination of action and hope. Enjoying the present while doing things in hope of a better future. And sometimes the future is a long way off. We’re about to plant a bunch of fruit trees and like the leaf mould, we’ll need to wait 2 years before fruit arrives. But in the meantime there is so much going on.
Learning is like this. The benefit is often in the future. Actually it always is as we can’t go back in time. Sometimes that future is years away. And of course, learning about things now, does not guarantee a future. But the only way to have a chance at apples or good compost soil in the future is to plant trees and gather leaves now.
The only way to improve our use of data in the future is to learn about about it now, including the harms we cause. Active learning is one way we create our own luck and opportunities.
We can be active, not passive. The choice is up to us.