Arthur Clarke predicted the internet in 1974

Arthur C. Clarke at his home in Colombo, Sri L...

Arthur C. Clarke at his home in Colombo, Sri Lanka, 28 March 2005. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 1974, Sir Arthur C. Clarke, the science fiction author, and futurist, known best for his 2001: A Space Odyssey, predicted that by 2001,  society will be enriched by inter-connected computers that will help with mundane everyday tasks and enable telecommuting.

will have, in his own house, not a computer as big as this, [points to nearby computer], but at least, a console through which he can talk, through his local computer and get all the information he needs, for his everyday life, like his bank statements, his theater reservations, all the information you need in the course of living in our complex modern society, this will be in a compact form in his own house … and he will take it as much for granted as we take the telephone.

The Future of Higher Education

The Chronicle of Higher Education interviewed the directors of Georgia Tech‘s Center for 21st Century Universities. The interview touches upon several key points regarding the challenges and opportunities around the role of technology in higher education. These include the notions of open courses (see the launch of an online interactive learning platform by MIT and free online courses by Stanford), blogs as a medium for content delivery, universities as credentialing institutions and the resultant challenges faced by middle rung schools.

What you’re seeing, for example, is technology enabling a single master teacher to reach students on an individualized basis on a scale that is unprecedented.

I think what you see happening now with the massive open courses is going to fundamentally change the business models. It’s going to put the notion of value front and center. Why would I want a credential from this university? Why would I want to pay tuition to this university?

Georgia Tech's Tech Tower

Georgia Tech's Tech Tower (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The blog is essentially an expression of a master teacher’s understanding of a field to people that want to learn about it. We think that there are some very simple layers that can be built under the existing blogging format that can essentially turn it into a massive open online seminar. It’s also a way of conducting scientific research. When you think about what happens in this blog, it celebrates the process of scientific discovery.

Read more at Could Many Universities Follow Borders Bookstores Into Oblivion? – Wired Campus – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Free online learning from MIT

MIT has announced the launch of MITx, an online interactive learning platform. The prototype will go live in Spring 2012. Coupled with free online courses and course ware, this portends the future of higher education and poses several interesting challenges and opportunities for educators and students.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Image by skinnylawyer via Flickr


Offering interactive MIT courses online to learners around the world builds upon MIT’s OpenCourseWare, a free online publication of nearly all of MIT’s undergraduate and graduate course materials. Now in its 10th year, OpenCourseWare includes nearly 2,100 MIT courses and has been used by more than 100 million people.

MIT plans to offer certificates under the name of a not-for-profit body to online learners.

As online learning and assessment evolve and improve, online learners who demonstrate mastery of subjects could earn a certificate of completion, but any such credential would not be issued under the name MIT. Rather, MIT plans to create a not-for-profit body within the Institute that will offer certification for online learners of MIT coursework. That body will carry a distinct name to avoid confusion.

Read more at MIT launches online learning initiative – MIT News Office and What is MITx? – MIT News Office.

When stuff tweets

Twitter will soon be awash with tweets by stuff (inanimate objects). Twine, a $99 wifi connected box, uses inputs from environmental sensors and a set of action rules to tweet different messages. Users can set up the action rules online. Thus the day is not far when you will receive a tweet from the toaster that the toast is ready! The box has various inbuilt sensors and allows endless extensions.

The battery-powered box contains sensors for temperature and vibration, a magnetic switch and a moisture sensor. Pretty much anything else can also be added to the contraption. One backer plans to outfit Twine with weight sensors and use it to notify him when the ice machines he operates need refills. Another will use a magnetic door sensor to receive a message when UPS stops by. Others say they will keep track of their pets, heating systems and garage doors using the device.


Image via Mashable


Read more at Twine: The Revolutionary Box That Can Make Your Appliances Tweet.

Through the looking glass – robotizable jobs

Over time, the relentless march of technology results in disruptive changes to labor markets due to increasing automation. The below infographic by Mindflash presents an interesting look into the future by suggesting several jobs that will be replaced by robots.

Techno Takeover: Can Your Job Be Done By a Robot?

Image via MindFlash

See the original image at Techno Takeover: Can Your Job Be Done By a Robot? | Mindflash.

The Rise of Gamification

Most analysts agree that Gamification will drive major changes in enterprise IT in the coming years. Gartner has predicted that 70% of G2000 firms will have a minimum of one gamified app by 2014. Gamification is predicted to create more user (and thus employee or customer) engagement and loyalty, thereby driving  sales or productivity gains.

Gamification describes the broad trend of applying game mechanics to non-game environments to motivate people and change behavior.

For a gamified application truly to engage its audience, three key ingredients must be present and correctly positioned: motivation, momentum and meaning (collectively known as “M³”).

Read more at Gartner Predicts Over 70 Percent of Global 2000 Organisations Will Have at Least One Gamified Application by 2014.

Microsoft’s vision of the future of work

In the past week, Microsoft released its vision for the future of work In 2019. Some key technologies that the video showcases are:

– Gesture, touch and speech based navigation

– Context aware intelligence

– Natural speech translation

– 3D holographic output

– Cloud based data and services

– Multi-surface inputs

– Lots of Gorilla glass!

Microsoft’s original post is here.