From DSC:
First of all, let me say again that I’m not suggesting that we replace professors with artificial intelligence, algorithms, and such.

However, given a variety of trends, we need to greatly lower the price of obtaining a degree and these types of technologies will help us do just that — while at the same time significantly increasing the productivity of each professor and/or team of specialists offering an online-based course (something institutions of higher education are currently attempting to do…big time). Not only will these types of technologies find their place in the higher education landscape, I predict that they will usher in a “New Amazon.com of Higher Education” — a new organization that will cause major disruption for traditional institutions of higher education. AI-powered MOOCs will find their place on the higher ed landscape; just how big they become remains to be seen, but this area of the landscape should be on our radars from here on out.

This type of development again points the need for team-based
approaches; s
uch approaches will likely dominate the future.

 

 


 

California State University East Bay partners with Cognii to offer artificial intelligence powered online learning — from prnewswire.com
Cognii’s Virtual Learning Assistant technology will provide intelligent tutoring and assessments to students in a chatbot-style conversation

Excerpt:

HAYWARD, Calif., April 14, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Cal State East Bay, a top-tier public university, and Cognii Inc., a leading provider of artificial intelligence-based educational technologies, today announced a partnership. Cognii will work with Cal State East Bay to develop a new learning and assessment experience, powered by Cognii’s Virtual Learning Assistant technology.

Winner of the 2016 EdTech Innovation of the Year Award from Mass Technology Leadership Council for its unique use of conversational AI and Natural Language Processing technologies in education, Cognii VLA provides automatic grading to students’ open-response answers along with qualitative feedback that guides them towards conceptual mastery. Compared to the multiple choice tests, open-response questions are considered pedagogically superior for measuring students’ critical thinking and problem solving skills, essential for 21st century jobs.

Students at Cal State East Bay will use the Cognii-powered interactive tutorials starting in summer as part of the online transfer orientation course. The interactive questions and tutorials will be developed collaboratively by Cognii team and the eLearning specialists from the university’s office of the Online Campus. Students will interact with the questions in a chatbot-style natural language conversation during the formative assessment stage. As students practice the tutorials, Cognii will generate rich learning analytics and proficiency measurements for the course leaders.

 

 

 

 

From DSC:
The recent pieces below made me once again reflect on the massive changes that are quickly approaching — and in some cases are already here — for a variety of nations throughout the world.

They caused me to reflect on:

  • What the potential ramifications for higher education might be regarding these changes that are just starting to take place in the workplace due to artificial intelligence (i.e., the increasing use of algorithms, machine learning, and deep learning, etc.), automation, & robotics?
  • The need for people to reinvent themselves quickly throughout their careers (if we can still call them careers)
  • How should we, as a nation, prepare for these massive changes so that there isn’t civil unrest due to soaring inequality and unemployment?

As found in the April 9th, 2017 edition of our local newspaper here:

When even our local newspaper is picking up on this trend, you know it is real and has some significance to it.

 

Then, as I was listening to the radio a day or two after seeing the above article, I heard of another related piece on NPR.  NPR is having a journalist travel across the country, trying to identify “robot-safe” jobs.  Here’s the feature on this from MarketPlace.org

 

 

What changes do institutions of traditional higher education
immediately need to begin planning for? Initiating?

What changes should be planned for and begin to be initiated
in the way(s) that we accredit new programs?

 

 

Keywords/ideas that come to my mind:

  • Change — to society, to people, to higher ed, to the workplace
  • Pace of technological change — no longer linear, but exponential
  • Career development
  • Staying relevant — as institutions, as individuals in the workplace
  • Reinventing ourselves over time — and having to do so quickly
  • Adapting, being nimble, willing to innovate — as institutions, as individuals
  • Game-changing environment
  • Lifelong learning — higher ed needs to put more emphasis on microlearning, heutagogy, and delivering constant/up-to-date streams of content and learning experiences. This could happen via the addition/use of smaller learning hubs, some even makeshift learning hubs that are taking place at locations that these institutions don’t even own…like your local Starbucks.
  • If we don’t get this right, there could be major civil unrest as inequality and unemployment soar
  • Traditional institutions of higher education have not been nearly as responsive to change as they have needed to be; this opens the door to alternatives. There’s a limited (and closing) window of time left to become more nimble and responsive before these alternatives majorly disrupt the current world of higher education.

 

 

 



Addendum from the corporate world (emphasis DSC):



 

From The Impact 2017 Conference:

The Role of HR in the Future of Work – A Town Hall

  • Josh Bersin, Principal and Founder, Bersin by Deloitte, Deloitte Consulting LLP
  • Nicola Vogel, Global Senior HR Director, Danfoss
  • Frank Møllerop, Chief Executive Officer, Questback
  • David Mallon, Head of Research, Bersin by Deloitte, Deloitte Consulting LLP

Massive changes spurred by new technologies such as artificial intelligence, mobile platforms, sensors and social collaboration have revolutionized the way we live, work and communicate – and the pace is only accelerating. Robots and cognitive technologies are making steady advances, particularly in jobs and tasks that follow set, standardized rules and logic. This reinforces a critical challenge for business and HR leaders—namely, the need to design, source, and manage the future of work.

In this Town Hall, we will discuss the role HR can play in leading the digital transformation that is shaping the future of work in organizations worldwide. We will explore the changes we see taking place in three areas:

  • Digital workforce: How can organizations drive new management practices, a culture of innovation and sharing, and a set of talent practices that facilitate a new network-based organization?
  • Digital workplace: How can organizations design a working environment that enables productivity; uses modern communication tools (such as Slack, Workplace by Facebook, Microsoft Teams, and many others); and promotes engagement, wellness, and a sense of purpose?
  • Digital HR: How can organizations change the HR function itself to operate in a digital way, use digital tools and apps to deliver solutions, and continuously experiment and innovate?
 

Looking to build the campus of tomorrow? 5 trends you should know — from ecampusnews.com by Laura Ascione
Today’s trends will bring about a new vision for the traditional college campus.

Excerpt:

“Innovations in physical space must be made to accommodate demands for accessibility, flexibility and affordability,” according to The State of Higher Education in 2017, a report from professional services firm Grant Thornton.

Changes in infrastructure are being driven by a handful of trends, including:

  • Digital technology is decoupling access to the classroom and information from any specific geographic location.
  • Learning is becoming more “modular,” credentialing specific competencies, such as certificates and badges,, rather than the model of four years to a degree via fixed-class schedules. This requires a less broad range of academic buildings on campus.
  • Students will engage with their coursework at their own time and pace, as they do in every other aspect of their lives.
  • Price pressure on colleges will create incentives for cost efficiencies, discouraging the fixed-cost commitment embodied in physical structures.
  • Deferred maintenance is a problem so large that it can’t be solved by most colleges within their available resources; the result may be reducing the physical plant footprint or just letting it deteriorate further.

These developments will prompt physical space transformation that will lead to a new kind of campus.

 

 


The State of Higher Education in 2017 — from grantthornton.com

 

Browse the report articles:

 

 

Innovative thinking will be vital to successfully moving into the future.

 

 

Retailers cut tens of thousands of jobs. Again. — from money.cnn.com by Paul R. La Monica
The dramatic reshaping of the American retail industry has, unfortunately, led to massive job losses in the sector.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

The federal government said Friday that retailers shed nearly 30,000 jobs in March. That follows a more than 30,000 decline in the number of retail jobs in the previous month.

So-called general merchandise stores are hurting the most.

That part of the sector, which includes struggling companies like Macy’s, Sears, and J.C. Penney, lost 35,000 jobs last month. Nearly 90,000 jobs have been eliminated since last October.

“There is no question that the Amazon effect is overwhelming,” said Scott Clemons, chief investment strategist of private banking for BBH. “There has been a shift in the way we buy things as opposed to a shift in the amount of money spent.”

To that end, Amazon just announced plans to hire 30,000 part-time workers.

 

From DSC:
One of the reasons that I’m posting this item is for those who say disruption isn’t real…it’s only a buzz word…

A second reason that I’m posting this item is because those of us working within higher education should take note of the changes in the world of retail and learn the lesson now before the “Next Amazon.com of Higher Education*” comes on the scene. Though this organization has yet to materialize, the pieces of its foundation are beginning to come together — such as the ingredients, trends, and developments that I’ve been tracking in my “Learning from the Living [Class] Room” vision.

This new organization will be highly disruptive to institutions of traditional higher education.

If you were in an influential position at Macy’s, Sears, and/or at J.C. Penney today, and you could travel back in time…what would you do?

We in higher education have the luxury of learning from what’s been happening in the retail business. Let’s be sure to learn our lesson.

 



 

* Effective today, what I used to call the “Forthcoming Walmart of Education — which has already been occurring to some degree with things such as MOOCs and collaborations/partnerships such as Georgia Institute of Technology, Udacity, and AT&T — I now call the “Next Amazon.com of Higher Education.”

Cost. Convenience. Selection. Offering a service on-demand (i.e., being quick, responsive, and available 24×7). <– These all are powerful forces.

 



 

P.S. Some will say you can’t possibly compare the worlds of retail and higher education — and that may be true as of 2017. However, if:

  • the costs of higher education keep going up and we continue to turn a deaf ear to the struggling families/students/adult learners/etc. out there
  • alternatives to traditional higher education continue to come on the landscape
  • the Federal Government continues to be more open to financially supporting such alternatives
  • technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning continue to get better and more powerful — to the point that they can effectively deliver a personalized education (one that is likely to be fully online and that utilizes a team of specialists to create and deliver the learning experiences)
  • people lose their jobs to artificial intelligence, robotics, and automation and need to quickly reinvent themselves

…I can assure you that people will find other ways to make ends meet. The Next Amazon.com of Education will be just what they are looking for.

 



 

 

 

The Hidden Costs of Active Learning — from by Thomas Mennella
Flipped and active learning truly are a better way for students to learn, but they also may be a fast track to instructor burnout.

Excerpt:

The time has come for us to have a discussion about the hidden cost of active learning in higher education. Soon, gone will be the days of instructors arriving to a lecture hall, delivering a 75-minute speech and leaving. Gone will be the days of midterms and finals being the sole forms of assessing student learning. For me, these days have already passed, and good riddance. These are largely ineffective teaching and learning strategies. Today’s college classroom is becoming dynamic, active and student-centered. Additionally, the learning never stops because the dialogue between student and instructor persists endlessly over the internet. Trust me when I say that this can be exhausting. With constant ‘touch-points,’ ‘personalized learning opportunities’ and the like, the notion of a college instructor having 12 contact hours per week that even remotely total 12 hours is beyond unreasonable.

We need to reevaluate how we measure, assign and compensate faculty teaching loads within an active learning framework. We need to recognize that instructors teaching in these innovative ways are doing more, and spending more hours, than their more traditional colleagues. And we must accept that a failure to recognize and remedy these ‘new normals’ risks burning out a generation of dedicated and passionate instructors. Flipped learning works and active learning works, but they’re very challenging ways to teach. I still say I will never teach another way again … I’m just not sure for how much longer that can be.

 

From DSC:
The above article prompted me to revisit the question of how we might move towards using more team-based approaches…? Thomas Mennella seems to be doing an incredible job — but grading 344 assignments each week or 3,784 assignments this semester is most definitely a recipe for burnout.

Then, pondering this situation, an article came to my mind that discusses Thomas Frey’s prediction that the largest internet-based company of 2030 will be focused on education.

I wondered…who will be the Amazon.com of the future of education? 

Such an organization will likely utilize a team-based approach to create and deliver excellent learning experiences — and will also likely leverage the power of artificial intelligence/machine learning/deep learning as a piece of their strategy.

 

 

 

The Enterprise Gets Smart
Companies are starting to leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to bolster customer experience, improve security and optimize operations.

Excerpt:

Assembling the right talent is another critical component of an AI initiative. While existing enterprise software platforms that add AI capabilities will make the technology accessible to mainstream business users, there will be a need to ramp up expertise in areas like data science, analytics and even nontraditional IT competencies, says Guarini.

“As we start to see the land grab for talent, there are some real gaps in emerging roles, and those that haven’t been as critical in the past,” Guarini  says, citing the need for people with expertise in disciplines like philosophy and linguistics, for example. “CIOs need to get in front of what they need in terms of capabilities and, in some cases, identify potential partners.”

 

 

 

Asilomar AI Principles

These principles were developed in conjunction with the 2017 Asilomar conference (videos here), through the process described here.

 

Artificial intelligence has already provided beneficial tools that are used every day by people around the world. Its continued development, guided by the following principles, will offer amazing opportunities to help and empower people in the decades and centuries ahead.

Research Issues

 

1) Research Goal: The goal of AI research should be to create not undirected intelligence, but beneficial intelligence.

2) Research Funding: Investments in AI should be accompanied by funding for research on ensuring its beneficial use, including thorny questions in computer science, economics, law, ethics, and social studies, such as:

  • How can we make future AI systems highly robust, so that they do what we want without malfunctioning or getting hacked?
  • How can we grow our prosperity through automation while maintaining people’s resources and purpose?
  • How can we update our legal systems to be more fair and efficient, to keep pace with AI, and to manage the risks associated with AI?
  • What set of values should AI be aligned with, and what legal and ethical status should it have?

3) Science-Policy Link: There should be constructive and healthy exchange between AI researchers and policy-makers.

4) Research Culture: A culture of cooperation, trust, and transparency should be fostered among researchers and developers of AI.

5) Race Avoidance: Teams developing AI systems should actively cooperate to avoid corner-cutting on safety standards.

Ethics and Values

 

6) Safety: AI systems should be safe and secure throughout their operational lifetime, and verifiably so where applicable and feasible.

7) Failure Transparency: If an AI system causes harm, it should be possible to ascertain why.

8) Judicial Transparency: Any involvement by an autonomous system in judicial decision-making should provide a satisfactory explanation auditable by a competent human authority.

9) Responsibility: Designers and builders of advanced AI systems are stakeholders in the moral implications of their use, misuse, and actions, with a responsibility and opportunity to shape those implications.

10) Value Alignment: Highly autonomous AI systems should be designed so that their goals and behaviors can be assured to align with human values throughout their operation.

11) Human Values: AI systems should be designed and operated so as to be compatible with ideals of human dignity, rights, freedoms, and cultural diversity.

12) Personal Privacy: People should have the right to access, manage and control the data they generate, given AI systems’ power to analyze and utilize that data.

13) Liberty and Privacy: The application of AI to personal data must not unreasonably curtail people’s real or perceived liberty.

14) Shared Benefit: AI technologies should benefit and empower as many people as possible.

15) Shared Prosperity: The economic prosperity created by AI should be shared broadly, to benefit all of humanity.

16) Human Control: Humans should choose how and whether to delegate decisions to AI systems, to accomplish human-chosen objectives.

17) Non-subversion: The power conferred by control of highly advanced AI systems should respect and improve, rather than subvert, the social and civic processes on which the health of society depends.

18) AI Arms Race: An arms race in lethal autonomous weapons should be avoided.

Longer-term Issues

 

19) Capability Caution: There being no consensus, we should avoid strong assumptions regarding upper limits on future AI capabilities.

20) Importance: Advanced AI could represent a profound change in the history of life on Earth, and should be planned for and managed with commensurate care and resources.

21) Risks: Risks posed by AI systems, especially catastrophic or existential risks, must be subject to planning and mitigation efforts commensurate with their expected impact.

22) Recursive Self-Improvement: AI systems designed to recursively self-improve or self-replicate in a manner that could lead to rapidly increasing quality or quantity must be subject to strict safety and control measures.

23) Common Good: Superintelligence should only be developed in the service of widely shared ethical ideals, and for the benefit of all humanity rather than one state or organization.

 

 

 

Excerpts:
Creating human-level AI: Will it happen, and if so, when and how? What key remaining obstacles can be identified? How can we make future AI systems more robust than today’s, so that they do what we want without crashing, malfunctioning or getting hacked?

  • Talks:
    • Demis Hassabis (DeepMind)
    • Ray Kurzweil (Google) (video)
    • Yann LeCun (Facebook/NYU) (pdf) (video)
  • Panel with Anca Dragan (Berkeley), Demis Hassabis (DeepMind), Guru Banavar (IBM), Oren Etzioni (Allen Institute), Tom Gruber (Apple), Jürgen Schmidhuber (Swiss AI Lab), Yann LeCun (Facebook/NYU), Yoshua Bengio (Montreal) (video)
  • Superintelligence: Science or fiction? If human level general AI is developed, then what are likely outcomes? What can we do now to maximize the probability of a positive outcome? (video)
    • Talks:
      • Shane Legg (DeepMind)
      • Nick Bostrom (Oxford) (pdf) (video)
      • Jaan Tallinn (CSER/FLI) (pdf) (video)
    • Panel with Bart Selman (Cornell), David Chalmers (NYU), Elon Musk (Tesla, SpaceX), Jaan Tallinn (CSER/FLI), Nick Bostrom (FHI), Ray Kurzweil (Google), Stuart Russell (Berkeley), Sam Harris, Demis Hassabis (DeepMind): If we succeed in building human-level AGI, then what are likely outcomes? What would we like to happen?
    • Panel with Dario Amodei (OpenAI), Nate Soares (MIRI), Shane Legg (DeepMind), Richard Mallah (FLI), Stefano Ermon (Stanford), Viktoriya Krakovna (DeepMind/FLI): Technical research agenda: What can we do now to maximize the chances of a good outcome? (video)
  • Law, policy & ethics: How can we update legal systems, international treaties and algorithms to be more fair, ethical and efficient and to keep pace with AI?
    • Talks:
      • Matt Scherer (pdf) (video)
      • Heather Roff-Perkins (Oxford)
    • Panel with Martin Rees (CSER/Cambridge), Heather Roff-Perkins, Jason Matheny (IARPA), Steve Goose (HRW), Irakli Beridze (UNICRI), Rao Kambhampati (AAAI, ASU), Anthony Romero (ACLU): Policy & Governance (video)
    • Panel with Kate Crawford (Microsoft/MIT), Matt Scherer, Ryan Calo (U. Washington), Kent Walker (Google), Sam Altman (OpenAI): AI & Law (video)
    • Panel with Kay Firth-Butterfield (IEEE, Austin-AI), Wendell Wallach (Yale), Francesca Rossi (IBM/Padova), Huw Price (Cambridge, CFI), Margaret Boden (Sussex): AI & Ethics (video)

 

 

 

From DSC:
Hmmm…how true: “…the digital age rewards change and punishes stasis.” (
source)

Which reminds me of a photo I took just yesterday morning at one of the malls in our area, where a local Sears store is closing.

It made me wonder…if Sears could do it all over again, what would they do differently? If they had a time machine, would they go back in time and work to become the new Amazon.com?

 

 

 

By the way, this picture is for those people who continue to dismiss the need to change and to adapt.  Surveying the relevant landscapes is an increasingly important thing for all of us to do, especially given that we are now on an exponential pace of technological change.

 

 

Companies must be open to radical reinvention to find new, significant, and sustainable sources of revenue. Incremental adjustments or building something new outside of the core business can provide real benefits and, in many cases, are a crucial first step for a digital transformation. But if these initiatives don’t lead to more profound changes to the core business and avoid the real work of rearchitecting how the business makes money, the benefits can be fleeting and too insignificant to avert a steady march to oblivion.

 

 

 



Addendum on 2/10/17

  • Macy’s earnings: Shifts in retail are hurting major players — from marketwatch.com by Tonya Garcia
    Macy’s has assets like real estate and brand identity, but shifts in the sector are putting pressure on earningsExcerpt:
    Even a major player like Macy’s M, +1.51%   isn’t immune to retail’s struggles. The sector is experiencing a dramatic shift to e-commerce and changes in consumer tastes and shopping behavior that have put pressure on department store earnings, and on the industry as a whole. Macy’s has already announced 100 store closures and thousands of job cuts, in addition to a reassessment of its real-estate assets. Now there’s buzz from reports about buyout talks with Hudson’s Bay Co. HBC, parent to Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue.

 

 

 

 

A world without work — by Derek Thompson; The Atlantic — from July 2015

Excerpts:

Youngstown, U.S.A.
The end of work is still just a futuristic concept for most of the United States, but it is something like a moment in history for Youngstown, Ohio, one its residents can cite with precision: September 19, 1977.

For much of the 20th century, Youngstown’s steel mills delivered such great prosperity that the city was a model of the American dream, boasting a median income and a homeownership rate that were among the nation’s highest. But as manufacturing shifted abroad after World War  II, Youngstown steel suffered, and on that gray September afternoon in 1977, Youngstown Sheet and Tube announced the shuttering of its Campbell Works mill. Within five years, the city lost 50,000 jobs and $1.3 billion in manufacturing wages. The effect was so severe that a term was coined to describe the fallout: regional depression.

Youngstown was transformed not only by an economic disruption but also by a psychological and cultural breakdown. Depression, spousal abuse, and suicide all became much more prevalent; the caseload of the area’s mental-health center tripled within a decade. The city built four prisons in the mid-1990s—a rare growth industry. One of the few downtown construction projects of that period was a museum dedicated to the defunct steel industry.

“Youngstown’s story is America’s story, because it shows that when jobs go away, the cultural cohesion of a place is destroyed”…

“The cultural breakdown matters even more than the economic breakdown.”

But even leaving aside questions of how to distribute that wealth, the widespread disappearance of work would usher in a social transformation unlike any we’ve seen.

What may be looming is something different: an era of technological unemployment, in which computer scientists and software engineers essentially invent us out of work, and the total number of jobs declines steadily and permanently.

After 300 years of people crying wolf, there are now three broad reasons to take seriously the argument that the beast is at the door: the ongoing triumph of capital over labor, the quiet demise of the working man, and the impressive dexterity of information technology.

The paradox of work is that many people hate their jobs, but they are considerably more miserable doing nothing.

Most people want to work, and are miserable when they cannot. The ills of unemployment go well beyond the loss of income; people who lose their job are more likely to suffer from mental and physical ailments. “There is a loss of status, a general malaise and demoralization, which appears somatically or psychologically or both”…

Research has shown that it is harder to recover from a long bout of joblessness than from losing a loved one or suffering a life-altering injury.

Most people do need to achieve things through, yes, work to feel a lasting sense of purpose.

When an entire area, like Youngstown, suffers from high and prolonged unemployment, problems caused by unemployment move beyond the personal sphere; widespread joblessness shatters neighborhoods and leaches away their civic spirit.

What’s more, although a universal income might replace lost wages, it would do little to preserve the social benefits of work.

“I can’t stress this enough: this isn’t just about economics; it’s psychological”…

 

 

The paradox of work is that many people hate their jobs, but they are considerably more miserable doing nothing.

 

 

From DSC:
Though I’m not saying Thompson is necessarily asserting this in his article, I don’t see a world without work as a dream. In fact, as the quote immediately before this paragraph alludes to, I think that most people would not like a life that is devoid of all work. I think work is where we can serve others, find purpose and meaning for our lives, seek to be instruments of making the world a better place, and attempt to design/create something that’s excellent.  We may miss the mark often (I know I do), but we keep trying.

 

 

 

Per X Media Lab:

The authoritative CB Insights lists imminent Future Tech Trends: customized babies; personalized foods; robotic companions; 3D printed housing; solar roads; ephemeral retail; enhanced workers; lab-engineered luxury; botroots movements; microbe-made chemicals; neuro-prosthetics; instant expertise; AI ghosts. You can download the whole outstanding report here (125 pgs).

 

From DSC:
Though I’m generally pro-technology, there are several items in here which support the need for all members of society to be informed and have some input into if and how these technologies should be used. Prime example: Customized babies.  The report discusses the genetic modification of babies: “In the future, we will choose the traits for our babies.” Veeeeery slippery ground here.

 

Below are some example screenshots:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also see:

CBInsights — Innovation Summit

  • The New User Interface: The Challenge and Opportunities that Chatbots, Voice Interfaces and Smart Devices Present
  • Fusing the physical, digital and biological: AI’s transformation of healthcare
  • How predictive algorithms and AI will rule financial services
  • Autonomous Everything: How Connected Vehicles Will Change Mobility and Which Companies Will Own this Future
  • The Next Industrial Age: The New Revenue Sources that the Industrial Internet of Things Unlocks
  • The AI-100: 100 Artificial Intelligence Startups That You Better Know
  • Autonomous Everything: How Connected Vehicles Will Change Mobility and Which Companies Will Own this Future

 

 

 

With Uber Freight, it’s not just truck drivers whose jobs are at risk — from linkedin.com by John McDermott
The bane of taxi drivers everywhere is now taking on logistics

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

At the end of December Uber debuted Uber Freight, its foray into the un-sexy yet lucrative world of logistics. Many saw Uber’s entry into freight as a death knell for trucking companies, as Uber is looking to build a fleet of driverless trucks.

And while the threat to trucking is real, Uber Freight poses a more immediate risk to the thousands of mid-level, white-collar support staff jobs in the industry.

Uber is uniquely positioned to streamline the industry, though. Much like the company’s ride-hailing app cuts out the taxi dispatcher and allows people to hail rides directly from drivers, Uber Freight can create a platform where shippers and truckers broker shipping orders directly with one another, effectively rendering obsolete thousands of 3PL (third party logistics) workers. It replaces people with software, and configures a labor-intensive industry into a SaaS business.

Famed venture capitalist Marc Andreessen is fond of the phrase “software is eating the world,” meaning that it’s replacing many of the post-industrial, pre-internet jobs once thought to be essential. Problem is, one man’s efficiency is another’s unemployment.

 

Problem is, one man’s efficiency is another’s unemployment.

 

 

 
© 2016 Learning Ecosystems