Archive | Book Reviews

Down and Out in Silicon Valley

Oakland has been chosen as a pilot for the concept of UBI (universal basic income). Y Combinator, a Silicon Valley incubator and early-stage funder of Airbnb and Dropbox, announced a pilot in May to provide 100 individuals a monthly stipend for up to a year. The purpose is not just to test whether the UBI theory will succeed, but to also test the logistics of how to manage such a program. Matt Krisiloff, the manager of the pilot, noted that he was inspired to conduct the experiment based on his work with Artificial Intelligence.

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Revolution in Higher Education: How a Small Band of Innovators Will Make College Accessible and Affordable

In Revolution, Dr. DeMillo continues where he left off with Abelard, noting that “most American colleges and universities are locked in a system that is anything but excellent.” The “Middle” represents the 4,000 colleges and universities just below the elite level, the ones that are “in trouble.” The Middle schools enroll 80 percent of all students, are in financial disrepair and their historical inability to control costs has reduced public confidence in the value of a college degree. Without innovation, cost increases at institutions will continue to repel prospective students.

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Jeff Selingo Life after College book cover

There Is Life after College

Jeff Selingo, author of College (Un)bound, recently released his latest book, a primer for parents of college-aged children. He maintains that today’s teenagers and young adults have many challenges ahead of them after college graduation and that it’s appropriate to start thinking about how to manage your career as soon as you finish high school. Selingo notes that the education system is out of sync with the economy and that college is a platform for lifelong learning that we will leave and return to whenever we need further education and training to get ahead in our existing job or to switch careers.

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Another Observation About Tech Impact On Middle Class Jobs

While reading James Barrat’s book, Our Final Invention, about artificial intelligence and its impact on humanity, I came across the following paragraph.

“Advances in natural language processing will transform parts of the economy that until now have seemed immune to technological change. In another few years librarians and researchers of all kinds will join retail clerks, bank tellers, travel agents, stock brokers, loan officers, and help desk technicians in the unemployment lines.

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Breakpoint: The Changing Marketplace for Higher Education

Breakpoint: The Changing Marketplace for Higher Education

When I read that author Jon McGee had spent the last 14 years as a cabinet officer at two liberal arts colleges, I thought it was an interesting parallel to my nearly equivalent time served at a wholly online institution. While we serve a different clientele (his students are traditional, residential, full-time, 18-22 year-olds and ours are working adults studying part-time online), our viewpoints are nearly identical:  higher education faces major challenges, and institutions need to anticipate and prepare for change, rather than simply react to it.

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The Future of the Professions: How Technology Will Transform the Work of Human Experts

The Future of the Professions: How Technology Will Transform the Work of Human Experts

Richard and Daniel Susskind, professor and lecturer, respectively, at Oxford University, are one of the rare father/son co-author combinations. Richard has previously written about the reduced need for attorneys due to technology innovations and his son Daniel has served in economic policy positions in the British government. An extension of Richard Susskind’s research on the impact of technology on the legal profession, The Future of the Professions: How Technology Will Transform the Work of Human Experts, addresses many other professions, including healthcare, education, divinity, journalism, management consulting, tax and audit accounting, and architecture. 

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RISE OF THE ROBOTS: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future

RISE OF THE ROBOTS: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future

While preparing a speech about the impact of technology on higher education, I found a reference from the “Transforming Higher Education” chapter in Martin Ford’s new book, Rise of the Robots. Curious about the thematic link with higher education, I bought a copy. As expected, I found parallels with other books that I had reviewed, including Nicholas Carr’s The Big Switch and Brynholfsson’s and McAfee’s The Second Machine Age.

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The Glass Cage: Automation and Us

The Glass Cage: Automation and Us

I can’t remember many non-fiction book authors whose multiple tomes have generated as much interest as Nicholas Carr’s information technology related works. Two of his three previous books, The Big Switch and The Shallows, were reviewed by me for this blog. The Glass Cage was published by Carr last year and I finally pulled it off the shelf determined to read it over the holiday weekend.

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Will College Pay Off? A Guide to the Most Important Financial Decision You’ll Ever Make

Will College Pay Off? A Guide to the Most Important Financial Decision You’ll Ever Make

In his latest book, Dr. Peter Cappelli tackles the complex subject of Will College Pay Off? in consumer-friendly terms understandable by parents, students and policymakers. I admire his bold approach (full disclosure: he was a member of my doctoral dissertation committee) but as an active higher education participant, wonder if anyone can adequately describe and summarize all of the issues related to whether or not attending a particular college will pay off for a student.

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