After the rousing reception that my previous article looking towards the past received, I turn my blurry eyes to the future of higher education, and what FedUni will look like after we are all long gone. Of course, it is not possible to 100% predict what will happen even in the next second of time, but that won’t stop me from trying to predict what university will be like for the next generation.
Technology will continue to become a vital part of the education experience. Cybernetic implants will allow for the fast tracking of information directly into a student’s brain, via a patented ‘Applesoft’ port (created after the multi-trillion dollar merger of Apple and Microsoft into a biggest monopoly since the roaring 1920s). ‘Classrooms’ will be full of standing desks (because of the dangers of sitting) with high-speed ports pumping information in at a staggering 100,000 mbp/s. In 15 years there will be no tutors, only lecturers who prepare their course for direct input. More and more professional jobs that students are studying for today will be done by robotics, so more theoretical degrees such as Arts, Psychology, and Philosophy will become popular, as currently the only thing a robot cannot do is think. Virtual Reality will take off, allowing for history students to experience documented historical events, social welfare students to provide counselling, animal husbandry students to take care of virtual animals, and so on.
Moore’s law indicates technological impact doubles every 18 months; ten doublings in 15 years gives an increase of over 1,000 times by 2032. Imagine your mobile device, your games console, or your personal computer over 1,000 times more efficient. Students would have to receive more payments to be able to go to university with the reduction in part-time jobs. This will mean many people will be inspired to create their own businesses and work, so degrees in Business and Finance will continue to have increased enrolments because of this. Depending on whether the current conservative political trend continues or the liberal approach makes a comeback, university education will either be free or will continue to be funded by HECS-debt or similar. There would be a vastly different amount of degrees on offer, and technology-specific degrees such as Engineering and I.T. would be completely different, both in content and delivery.
I am fully aware that some academic in the year 2032 will read through old back copies of FedPress, and in reading my article will laugh their head off in the same way we laughed our head off in 2015 when the hoverboards, flying cars, and microwave pizzas of 1989’s Back to the Future Part II failed to come to fruition. To which I say that I feel education in the future will be better off, if my predictions are true.
by Damian Brown*
*Fedpress’s Raoul Duke.