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Week Two - Reference Material

Presentation Slides (pdf file)

Class Handout

Four topics emerged as the focus areas for Weeks Two and Three. The four topics can be summarized:

  1. Employment/Economics
    About the role of High Tech in the "wealth" creation process, with implications for employment and for economics and economies
  2. Education/Cognition
    About how High Tech is changing the way to deliver edcation, and even changing the way we think.
  3. Social/Community/Family
    About how High Tech is changing the nature of interpersonal relations, with consequences for family and community.
  4. Ethics/Privacy/Security
    About changes in our values inspired by the changes that High tech is delivering, especially change around privacy and security.

Note: The is my ordering of the topics. The plan is to cover topics 1 & 2 on Week Two and then consider topics 3 & 4 on Week Three. That's the order that made the most sense for me.

The challenge I faced in confronting the first two topics was to winnow the material I had at hand down to a manageable amount. I had started with electronic copies of some 300+ texts of possible relevance. My first cut took that down to only 30 texts. This page includes links to only nine texts (plus two "extras"), most of which are sections from recent books. It's a substantial amount of material, but really only scratches the surface.

General References

Thomas Friedman's The World is Flat - A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century appeared in 2005, with a second edition in 2006. He paints a compelling picture of the world as it will be. Chapter One offers a good starting point. The book was popular and is easy reading.

Daniel Pink's A Whole New Mind - Why Right-Brainers Will Rule The Future also saw two editions in 2005 and 2006. His approach is more personal, stressing the importance of right-brain conceptual understanding. His Chapter One offers an introduction. Aside: It's encouraging that what the future will reward is the kind of contextual understanding that comes naturally to us 3rd Age members.


The New York Times published a suggestive article, "Armies of Expensive Lawyers, Replaced by Cheaper Software", in 2011. That was only a first step. The trickle of automation of knowledge work has become a flood. There are virtually no professionals that will not be subject to automation in one form or another.

Deloitte's "The future of knowledge work" is a good high-level view of the changes happening in knowledge work. This article adds to the equation by pointing to our new online ability to virtually source talent to work on projects. Your knowledge workers no longer need be your knowledge employees.

Globalization is both a driving force and a consequence of our increased use of High Tech. Globalistion and the Labour Market was published in 2006. The First Chapter of that book provides an overview of the changs that are coming, and that have already happened.

An important, new background reality is what has been called "Big Data". This has become important enough and popular enough that there is even a Big Data for Dummies (2013). I like the "Dummies" series - they provide approachable introductions for the non-expert. Chapter One is a good starting point.


Clayton Christensen (of Harvard Business School) was the lead author of Disrupting Class - How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns (2011, 2008). The Introduction to that book introduces the major changes that will overtake education and learning.

It's not just how we deliver education that will change. It's also that what we learn and what we need to understand that will change. "Cognitive Expansion Technologies" is one (2008) view of some of the changes that are coming.

As a final reference for this week, Building Virtual Communities - Learning and Change in Cyberspace (2002, 2004) introduces a topic that straddles Weeks Two and Three. The Forward to that book introduces "Virtual Communities for Learning and Development - A Look to the Past and Some Glimpses into the Future". 

more ...

I found an interesting book published by The Economist, on The Future of Technology. If you're interested in learning more about the actual technology, the First Chapter of that book is a good starting point.

And if you find all of this material too thin, there's Manual Castells's three volume study of The Information Age. Volume Three was published in 2010, and it contains a meaty Conclusion.

End Note (2014.03.07) - My presentation slides for Week Two have yet to be developed. When they're ready, a link will be posted on this page.

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May 6 – June 10 (6 sessions) Time: Wednesdays, 10:10 a.m. – 11:55 a.m. Location