Now of course we are all suffering from the same affliction. Our technology whizzes along at the velocity of a speeding electron, and our poor overtaxed neurons struggle to keep up. Everything has become a split-second decision. Find something you like. Share it. Have a half-baked thought. Tweet it. Don???t wait. Don???t hesitate. Seize the moment. Keep up. There will be plenty of time to repent later. Oh, and just to cover your ass, don???t forget to stick a smiley????on the end just in case you???ve overstepped the mark.
I am both a faculty member, because I teach a freshman writing seminar, and an administrator, because I assist faculty. This dual role can be challenging, both for me and for my colleagues. Am I someone that faculty come to for technology help, like IT support, or am I a peer, like a junior faculty member? So, for example, when I help faculty members develop new and innovative assignments, do they see me as ???tech help??? or as someone who can help them rethink their pedagogy? How are these separated when you are teaching someone a new technology? Also, since I am not in a department, how do I work both within my own discipline and relate to my colleagues here in that discipline and how do I work across the disciplines, something highly valued at a liberal arts college? Finally, how do I prioritize this kind of broad, interdisciplinary work when I know that I will have to go out on the job market again, a job market that often values highly specialized work?
First, we might remember Marx???s comment that ???the windmill gives you a society with the feudal lord; the steam engine gives you one with the industrial capitalist.??? And precision guided munitions and drones give you a society with perpetual asymmetric wars.
The creation of technology is a value-laden enterprise.?? It creates the material conditions of culture and society and therefore its creation should be regarded as always already moral and political in nature.?? However, technology itself (the physical stuff of robotic warfare) is neither smart nor dumb, moral nor immoral.?? It can be used more or less precisely, but precision and efficiency are not inherently morally good.?? Imagine a very skilled dentist who painlessly removes the wrong tooth.?? Imagine a drone equipped with a precision guided munition that kills a completely innocent person, but spares the people who live in his or her neighborhood.?? The use of impressive technologies does not grant one impressive moral insight.?? Indeed, as Gyges demonstrates, the opposite can be the case.
Second, assassination and targeted killings have always been in the repertoires of military planners, but never in the history of warfare have they been so cheap and easy.???? The relatively low number of troop casualties for a military that has turned to drones means that there is relatively little domestic blowback against these wars. The United States and its allies have created the material conditions whereby these wars can carry on indefinitely. The non-combatant casualty rates in populations that are attacked by drones are slow and steady, but they add up.?? That the casualty rates are relatively low by historical standards ??? this is no Dresden ??? is undoubtedly a good thing, but it may allow the international media to overlook pesky little facts like the slow accretion of foreign casualties.
When I men??tioned that even Har??vard was already offer??ing??blend??ed learn??ing degrees, the recruiter was quick to point out that those degrees were lim??it??ed to Har??vard's Exten??sion School, and the Uni??ver??si??ty's most pres??ti??gious schools go out of their way to??under??score the power of com??mu??nal, face-to-face learn??ing.
"I hate to sound like a snob, but call me back when Har??vard Busi??ness School offers an online MBA."
Ulti??mate??ly, edu??ca??tion is a promise, rather than a prod??uct.