Hello friends – there are A LOT of signals flying around these days. Growing, working and learning in the futures/foresight space is NEVER a dull moment!! Here’s some signals I’ve run across in the last month.
Recent stories about increases in use of facial recognition software are on the rise…and so is news of communities who are pushing back. This article gives quite an overview of how communties are successfully pushing or keeping this technology out of their community spaces (and why). And if you’re interested in some future fashionable ways to confuse and bewilder facial recognition software – check out this new artist’s work that creates facial jewelry to make things complicated!
Going deeper into this topic, facial recognition technology is really only the beginning…there are other ways to be “bio tracked.” This article suggests that being “anonymous” will increasingly be a thing of the past. Another interesting article called “The fantasy of opting out” further explores this new world of being seen, tracked and analyzed…and what is may all mean to those who just want to be left alone.
This is a recent NYT article about increasing use of AI in the hiring process (otherwise known as “automated hiring.” While often touted as decreasing or even eliminating bias, this article suggests that in fact, it could make it worse (following from other authors who are tracking racism and bias in this space).
Machine learning has learned to see through walls and in darkness. As always – we ask questions of ourselves and each other…how will this kind of technology be used, who will drive this use, who will lose – and what will vulnerability mean with potential increased use of this kind of tech? More social workers at the table means our ethics are at the table…and some of these questions will be asked.
The Institute for the Future has a new report out called “Connected Living” about increasing use of “smart items” that continue to grow and multiply in the world around us. How will these trends potentially change the way that social work is practiced? Or how will it potentially impact the lives of vulnerable people? As usual, this is a terrific tool to use with students to inspire different kinds of questions – and expand what “human behavior in the social environment” might mean in the future.
Future of Government
The group Nesta (in the UK) has prepared a really interesting publication that explores issues of trust, viability of government and general “future of government” kinds of issues.
I ran across a recent issue of the Journal of Community Practice devoted to the topics of “Ecosocial” work and community practice. It includes a terrific and engaging collection of articles that are relevant for social workers focused on climate change-anchored practice.
Literary Hub recently published a commencement address given by author Naomi Klein called “Advice for the next generation of climate activities.” It is an inspiring piece.
I guess we all know it is a particularly challenging time to be alive. It can safely be said that every single social work colleague I know, has also reported that the load is heavy. Here’s an article from the publication “The Grist” that gives us a window on 50 young activists who are changing the world in some way. It is powerful. It is inspiring. Let’s help each other stay fueled…all our work matters!!
Should universities be preparing students for the gig economy? This article says yes. And though we may debate this issue intensely. Certainly there will be value in finding pathways where students see ways for themselves to succeed in the future. Even if we’re not inspired by the gig economy – few would argue that we need to help our students prepare for the way the changing world of work is unfolding.
What does designing the “learning ecosystem of the future” mean? This article says we are in need of a full out upgrade to meet the changing needs of the world we live in now and the one that is coming up right behind it. This piece wrestles with the ultimate challenge – creating learning environments and preparation for folks to become “competent” in jobs that haven’t even been invented yet. More vision, more risk, and more agility will be needed.
Inside Higher Education did a great overview of the “critical digital education” world and noted that some of the most important voices on the topic are coming from outside of higher education. There is a list of names with links to explore more. Their point is that those within higher education institutions face many challenges to approaching the topic with sufficient disruptive sensibilities – and that may be part of why higher education continues to struggle to innovate.
And because it is good to get international now and then to boost our viewpoints – here’s an overview of what leaders in Canada’s system of higher education see on the horizon.
Here’s an article that explores the role of artificial intelligence in higher education and seeks to identify some of the ethical challenges that we’ll be facing as we figure out how to make the most of the available technology.
I thought this was a super creative article called “Seven Ways to Die in the Future” which does what a really good piece of futures writing should do…made me curious, made me laugh, made me cringe and made me think! Check it out and see if you find yourself in any of these scenarios…think twice as you journey into the future!!