Future Thinking

The primary idea that I drew from Howard Gardner’s work ‘Minds Viewed Globally: A Personal Introduction’ is something that I have been trying to hone in on, develop and make myself aware of throughout my degree and within my professional, and somewhat my personal life.

This concept I am talking about is future thinking.

In particular when it comes to education, Gardner’s work does touch on some key ideas that I feel should be prevalent and considered in modern education and training. I think the idea of change is particularly relevant when considering how education works, and it shows in the direction that many educators are taking. Without taking into account change, and what it can do, you may find yourself left behind. It is mostly relevant in my mind due to the face that the world is changing every day, and so are technologies, attitudes and ideas.

On a positive note, it seems this change is making its way to lower education institutions, with many primary and high schools adopting technologies and ideas that keep their students studies relevant to the times. One example I can think of is my old school now offering certain classes in 3D printing, purchasing printers and even providing a program whereby the students can build their own fully functional 3D printer.

Without these types of forward thinking, education specifically could become less and less relevant in modern society, as access to this information is so readily available already. Change must be made by all to stay afloat, to stay relevant and to stay a part of the modern society that we currently reside in.

The most precious commodity

Time in todays society is seen as a commodity more than anything, especially in the professional work environment. As discussed by Barbara Adam in her piece ‘Finding Time in a Digital Age’ there are certain aspects of life such as work which are accelerating the fastest, primarily due to technology.

This concept of work is one that concerns me very much so, and I have talked about time and time again in my own pieces of writing. Whilst the foreseen future was one whereby labour and human interaction in the workplace was diminished and limited, the trend has definitely taken a full 360 degree turn since developing those ideas. Whilst there are definitely industries becoming more automated and less reliant on paid worker contributions, for the most part the ‘human touch’ is still needed and is very prevalent in almost every industry.

The main issues that I would like to deal with are those surrounding the idea of ‘presence bleed’ and the consequences and implications that a concept such as this entails.

‘Presence Bleed’ is another way to describe working outside of paid work hours. For instance, those emails that you read or reply to at night when you have time after having a break, or those calls that you answer outside of your billed hours that you are paid for.

Industries, in particular communication industries are finding this much more prominent, and a more common occurrence than previously, due to advancements in technology. These advancements pave the way for easier access to employees outside of hours they are required to help under contract.

Whilst all of this may make a company more productive and create further growth for the company, and perhaps the individual within the company, where does it end? When does the job that you are hired to do cease and when does it begin? These hard questions must be asked by not only people suffering from this issue, but everyone, as work is not the be all and end all of everything. It is just the beginning.

The Craftsman Vs. The Passionate

Calvin Newport’s work ‘The Clarity of the Craftsman’ brings up many interesting points. Many of these points do come across as quite controversial. After discussions with multiple fellow students and experienced professionals I personally don’t see most of the assertions made by Newport as very valid.

I note that there are reasons as to why people work where they do. They may gain fulfilment from helping others, or they may give others fulfilment etc. However I feel to say that in most cases his idea of the Craftsman Mindset isn’t necessarily the one whereby most decisions are made. Though many people would try to see themselves as being not selfish, to say that most people do what they do because it enables them to focus on what they can give to the world is rather limiting.

I agree that many people may see it this way, but unfortunately the majority the human race is selfish in nature, in some respect or another. Though this concept of being passionate about work is not necessarily all down to being selfish, the definition given by Newport needs some attending to, as that is the impression that it paves the way for.

The main issue Newport’s article has is it’s completely biased and opinionated nature. For a topic such as this, there is no line that can really be drawn in the sand. There is no right or wrong answer as the answer is different for everyone.

Exploiting the Knowledge Economy

The issue of Freelance exploitation is something that is a rather passionate topic for me personally, as I have experienced it in one way or another myself.

The main issue with freelance work, more-so freelance writing, is as stated by Lobato and Thomas I would say is that there are no formal protections. Compared to a ‘secure’ job with a company, where you have constant income and protections that aid you such as work cover or even minimum wages, you don’t have this when working for institutions that are based on the content farm philosophy.

As people are able to charge what they want for this type of content, it brings to question many ethical issues, however there is not enough room to talk about this here.

I feel the main issue with this system is that there is always going to be the manpower to do this work for content farms, and this competition may in fact create even lesser value monetarily. Pushing this most I feel is the concept of experience, and idea that ‘that you can’t have too much’, and ‘you never have enough’.

This stigma means that these people are going to go through being paid below minimum wage, in the hopes that it will lead to a more lustrous career in the industry. The model however, does not take into account that writing low value (quality wise) articles for companies that farm your content doesn’t really go the places that it is expected to lead.

It is hard to think of a way around this industry practice, as there is nothing governing what is right and wrong. Ethically this type of practice is not ideal, but for most organisations in this situation the ethics do not make a difference to the outcome. As an individual I don’t think there will be much that can be done, or if something can be done it won’t very influential. I think that as a group change could be made, but it is still going to be a long road from where we have come to at this moment in history before we can bring journalism back to what it once was.