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“Two things make a great
futurist; a fascination and
interest in change and you
don’t want to get an
WILL TECHNOLOGY HELP
TODAY’S COLLEGE STUDENT?
A Student's Perspective
Where are the students getting their
information and how should this impact our
At the colleges we seem to sometimes get
“stuck in past” in terms of our teaching and
courses offered. Future studies (futurology)
allows us to examine possible happenings in
the future based on our current knowledge
and logical reasoning.
A Quote From a Futurist’s University
(Singularity University in California)
“We’re going to be unapologetically
interdisciplinary. That’s not because it’s
fashionable, or because the faculty took a
vote, but because nature has no
departments” Neil Jacobstein in the article
“WhatTraditional Academics Can Learn From
a Futurist’s University” in ”The Chronicle”
June 30, 2009
Futurology, a Definition
The study of postulating possible, probable,
and preferable futures and the worldviews
and myths that underlie them.
A quote by Ian Pearson
“There’s nothing new about star-gazing in all
its forms. It’s one of the world’s oldest
professions-along with prostitution! In
former times they used to carve chickens
open. It was not very effective. Then they
became more sophisticated and began
looking at the stars. But I don’t have a lot of
time for astrologists. There’s no mystical side
to futurology. It’s about logical reasoning and
extrapolation in the future.”
Why the Need For Future Studies
from a College Student’s Point
Gone are the times when a education could
last a lifetime.
We are faced with situations that change
The need to anticipate possible changes gives
us the ability to adapt quickly.
For example: In some fields, a university
degree can be obsolete within a few years.
New College Majors
An increase in unusual college majors may foretell the
growth of unique new career specialties. Instead of simply
majoring in business, more students are beginning to
explore niche majors such as sustainable business,
strategic intelligence, and entrepreneurship. Other
unusual majors that are capturing students' imaginations:
neuroscience and nanotechnology, computer and digital
forensics, and comic book art. Scoff not:The market for
comic books and graphic novels in the United States has
grown 12% since 2006. —THE FUTURIST,WorldTrends &
Forecasts, Sep-Oct 2008.
Future Trends in a College
All the following quotes are from the “Chronicle
of Higher Education” and “The Chronicle
1) The idyll of four years away from home-
spent living and learning and growing into
adulthood-will continue to wane.
2) More students will attend classes online.
3) Students will demand more options for
4) The full-time residential model of higher
education is getting too expensive for a larger
share of the American population.
5) Three-year degree programs, which some
colleges are now launching, will almost assuredly
6) Students will increasingly expect access to
classes from cellular phones and other portable
7) Faculty members must be ready and flexible.
8) There is little information that students
cannot find on their own if they are inspired to
9) The faculty member may become less an
oracle and more an organizer and guide,
someone who adds perspective context, finds
the best articles and research, and sweeps
away misconceptions and bad information.
10) By 2020 students will be taking up to 60
percent of their courses entirely online.
11)The average age of students will keep
12) Community colleges should continue to
thrive because of their reputations for
13) At the present rate of decline, the next two
decades will see the percentage of tenured and
tenure-track professors plunge into the single
digits. (Look at the tenured colleagues to your
left and right. Imagine them gone)
14) Innovation will continue to take place, and
scholars with new skill sets will enter the
humanistic academy. The natural locus for these
changes may be interdisciplinary centers, most
of them responsible for raising their own support
from outside grants.
15) Natural and social sciences will move into the
16) More faculty members will routinely
spend two-week or semester segments
teaching abroad, as part of joint or dual-
degree programs with foreign universities.
17) More successful faculty members will
work on through their 70’s.
18) The successful faculty member will utilize
technology in ways that haven’t even been
conceived in 2010.
Continuous Job Training
An individual's professional knowledge is becoming
outdated at a much faster rate than ever before. Most
professions will require continuous instruction and
retraining. Rapid changes in the job market and work-
related technologies will necessitate job education for
almost every worker. At any given moment, a
substantial portion of the labor force will be in job
retraining programs. — Marvin J. Cetron and Owen
“The Future of Learning: 12
Views on Emerging Trends in
Higher education” and how
Valencia might address the
2) A Diverse student body.
3) Digital Native students.
4) More education in less space.
5) Advances in technology.
6) Interdisciplinary learning.
7) Students will gain more control.
8) Age of students to rise.
9) Competition for Students.
10) College partnered with regional
11) Increase in part-time faculty
12) Accountability and assessment tools.
A detailed futurist’s analysis of one aspect of
Arthur SaniotisWrites in World Future Review inJune
Human evolution is unique in that is has been able to
make substantial evolutionary leaps compared with
The human species is the first and only species which
is now capable of tinkering with its own evolution.
The human brain is the most complex structure in
the known universe, composed of some 100 billion
Each neuron has at least 10,000 synaptic
connections, which proffers approximately 1,000
trillion neural connections.
As a self-organized system the brain is
designed for producing novelty.
We live in an age of remediation of the body
and are on the verge of brain remediation via
According to Stephen Hawking, making
humans smarter is essential, if we are ever to
travel to the stars.
The future will more to a true machine/mind
interface-specifically, the brain would be
modified by an array of bio-chips which will
mediate cognition and emotion.
Brain/machine interfaces (BMIs) would be
posited on bio-feedback between neurons
and bio-chips and driven by neuronal
Such implants would facilitate the creation of
This would provide the uses with alternative
experiences perceived as real.
The cyborg/brain interface should start at a
young age during brain growth in order to
achieve optimal cognitive development.
One area of AI interface will be the availability
of “ideology chips” designed to augment
Nanotechnologies will be able to morph
objects at a molecular level.
Kurzweil an American inventor and futurist,
predicts that is will be possible to reconfigure
biological cells such as brain neurons in order
to create nanotech neural pathways.
For Kurzweil, evolution is far too slow and
unreliable, especially in the area of cognitive
Kurzweil states: “Today, our software connot
grow. It is stuck in a brain of a mere 100 hundred
trillion connections and synapses. But when the
hardware is trillions of times more capable, there
is no reason for our minds to stay so small”
The nanotech brain will provide us with a utopian
life style free from mental illness, psychosis, fear
It will provide direct link to the internet (Dinello
Another futurist, Nick Bostrom asserts that a
mind downloaded onto a silicon chip or “mind
file” will possess the personality and memories
of the organic person (2005)
With advances in virtual reality, computer
simulations will become more efficient and
nanotechnology will be crucial in this
A planetary computer in the rage of 10^42
operations per second could contain all the
knowledge obtained throughout the entire
course of human history.
People may also be able to create friendships
with imaginative entities – fictional
characters with fabricated histories.