Productivity Decoupled from Employment

April 27, 2013

Erik Brynjolfsson’s TED talk “Race with the Machines” has a powerful idea. Due to technological advances, human work has become decoupled from wealth and our productivity decoupled from employment. In turn this leads to an ineffectiveness of traditional ways of measuring the economy — especially as a way of viewing innovation.

Lots to think about here. Another “distribution problem”? His point related to the industrial revolution is especially fascinating…. it took about thirty years (e.g. all the managers had to retire) for factory procedures to change when electricity was introduced. While the managers were in place, the factories ran as they had done with steam power – not taking advantage of what the new power source had to offer. The same 30-year cycle appears to be necessary to make best use of computers.

Are MOOCs an example? I certainly understand the arguments that MOOCs are incomplete. But couldn’t MOOCs be a valuable part of a new model, that includes teachers in a somewhat “guide on the side” role with the MOOC content being the central organizer. A different post-secondary economy would be required but maybe the new managers will see it that way — looking more at learning and less at the notion of formal education. Those who really hate MOOCs, often pointing to high dropout rates, lack of support and variable quality, seem to me to be missing the potential of MOOCs (or similar environments) to assist learning. Should we get rid of books since, after all, a person might start to read one, not like it and decide to move on to something else?

Update on May 6 – Bonnie Stewart’s interesting blog post!
“….MOOCs started, in a sense, as a recognition that the credentialing equation was hollow…


JR’s TED wish – stand up for what you care about

March 3, 2011

“I wish for you to stand up for what you care about by participating in a global art project. And together we’ll turn the world INSIDE OUT.”  JR’s winning TED wish.

Anyone can participate in this and, like the wishes of TED winners such as Karen Armstrong and Jamie Oliver, it’s likely to be a true conversation starter in many places around the world.

What I see in JR’s work is a non-judgmental look at people as individuals – laughing and spoofing themselves. I am especially moved by Face2Face project in Israel and Palestine and his idea:

“We must put them face to face. They will realize. We want that, at last, everyone laughs and thinks when he sees the portrait of the other and his own portrait. The Face2Face project is to make portraits of Palestinians and Israelis doing the same job and to post them face to face, in huge formats, in unavoidable places, on the Israeli and the Palestinian sides. In a very sensitive context, we need to be clear. We are in favor of a solution for which two countries, Israel and Palestine would live peacefully within safe and internationally recognized borders.”

With so much anguish in the daily news, the laughing portraits have a special beauty.


March 7, 2010

Of course I wish I had been there, at the sessions that will soon be archived at — but watching the morning streamed live and following the Twitter stream based on hashtag #TEDxNYED  truly did get me into the thoughts of tons of people who were watching and thinking things like:

  1. blairteach
    RT @jackiegerstein: Bring the classroom into the world & bring the world into your classroom @chrislehmann
  2. pesmith
    “if we don’t help them make sense of that world, then we’re doing them a disservice” @chrislehmann
  3. mslinch “Data Driven Decisions assume that you use good data- and the data we use stinks.” – @chrislehmann
  4. antonioviva How can we inspire global citizens if we continue to strip the arts out of education?
  5. kyraocity Lessons of openess: Commitment to freedom, community, limits of regulation, respecting creators.
  6. courosa Lessig – “openness is a commitment to a certain set of values” Yes!
  7. annmythai @lessig YouTube’s “Statement of Good Faith” box is Bart Simpson chalkboard moment
  8. amichetti Lessig is highlighting something I’ve long believed – that remixing is sometimes more powerful than creating original material

Will Richardson was there, and his blog post and the responses are also interesting:
I can’t wait to view the videos of the afternoon and see how it ended.

One thread that bubbled through as I was observing on Twitter was related to why, if the speakers are against lecturing as a vehicle for teaching/learning, would they then engage in the lecture format of TED? I answered a few of them with my thoughts that first of all, it isn’t that lectures are “evil” — it’s the “memorize what I say in the lecture and regurgitate it on for the test” mindset of many educational institutions that is the problem. And besides, TED lectures are part of something much much bigger. Yes there are ideas on the stage but they are surrounded by all the networking of the people in the room, all the sharing into the future (Wiley’s open versus closed), and all the simultaneous backstories in social media.