Trilaboration: When the Lines Among Higher Education, Corporations, and Research Centers Blur

Rick Docksai, associate editor of THE FUTURIST and World Future Review (rdocksai@wfs.org) has reviewed Jerome and Theodore Gordon and Elizabeth Fiorescu’s book, 2012, State of the Future, which is part of The Millennium Project (www.millennium project) in the latest edition of THE FUTURIST.

Docksai apparently rightfully praises The Millennium Project for its “forward-thinking global scholarship” and cites several insights that the book offers.

As you’d expect I scoured his review for something directly slated toward education’s future. I did note one however “stretched” that did seem to allude to education: “Companies, universities, and research centers will increasingly form partnerships and cooperation networks, combining their expertise to bring new advancements in nanotechnology, photonics, advanced manufacturing, and other areas of endeavor to fruition.”

A couple of things struck me. One was that the quote above more or less affirms what I offered in the previous post, namely that education and economic endeavors will be even more entwined than they are now. On one hand I find this a laudable development in that it only makes sense that learned and expert minds will find ways to Trilaborate to invent new technologies for society’s advancement.

And the other hand it also is clear that the lines among higher education, companies, and research centers become even more blurred. One obvious, potential negative future that could emerge out of this sort of Trilaboration would be how or to what extent higher education might be compromised by the financial power of super-companies. Does higher education become subservient to the super – companies’ economic and profit aims?

Now think about the system that feeds those Trilaborators. Follow it backward down the system chronology. If Higher Education’s aims and visions become twined with Research Centers and Super Corporations doesn’t that also mean that Universities will demand that their K-12 feeder systems send them students likely with the capacity and the talents to feed the Three-Headed Monster?

What kind of Common Core Standards would we be talking about then?

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