Cool Logic

Johannes Emerich and Nikhil Maddirala (ILLC)

Of Steel Mills and Ivory Towers: Thinking About the Future of Higher Education

October 25th at 18:00, in ILLC Seminar Room (F1.15)

As logicians at the ILLC, we are primarily engaged in the activity of academic research, but we seldom focus on the social, economic or industrial contexts within which this activity takes place. In this talk, we wish to draw your attention away from pure academic research, and we invite you to take a step back from the ivory tower to survey the social, economic and industrial contexts within which it exists. In particular, it is our contention that the spirit of technological innovation which has been rapidly transforming almost all areas of life and work over the past few decades is about to reach the ivory tower of academia.

To set the scene, we will first give a short account of the genesis of the modern university system, followed by a look at its socio-economic realities today. We will then discuss the potential for technological developments to change the university system though a process known as "disruptive innovation." Hoping to incite a discussion about the issue, we will finally lay out some possible scenarios for the future of higher education from the point of view of students, teachers and researchers.