I’ve been reading Clay Shirky’s latest essay. He takes the usual Clay Shirky line: technological change, in the transformatory shape of the internet, is evidently about to profoundly disrupt a large sector, and the current incumbents are not going to be able to do much about it. But the good news is that more people are going to get more of what they want than before, and for a lot less money. He’s ridden this line over the last ten years, with classic essays like “Help, the price of information has fallen and it can’t get up” which analyse – usually presciently – the disruption that’s happening to industries like music, books, newspapers, TV, video, film.
In this latest essay, the industry facing change that is almost literally inconceivable to the incumbents is higher education, and the current shape of change is the MOOC. His prognosis?
“We’re probably going to screw this up as badly as the music people did.”
He’s a better essayist than me, so really, in all honesty you’d be better stopping now and reading his writing instead.