The Stillman Disruption Journal: Students Building a Better Tomorrow

from Medium

Our homes are filled with AI systems telling us what we need to buy at the grocery store. China uses a facial recognition system to keep tabs on over a billion people. I still remember seeing Uber’s self-driving cars on the streets of Pittsburgh on my commute to high school multiple times a week, dating back as early as 2015. All around us, we can see the early effects of a coming digital revolution slowly working their way into our homes and lives. It’s happening, whether we wish to acknowledge it or not. These few examples just skim the surface of a reality we will soon be forced to acknowledge, a reality of machines being given human characteristics, jobs lost for good, and societies adopting a permanent culture of convenience. With all these changes coming so quickly, why is it that we seemingly hear so little of them? Or, more importantly, how prepared are we to face them?

Enter The Stillman Disruption Journal, a brand-new platform for concerned students like myself to discuss these topics and their effects on society. The newness on the horizon can seem overwhelming, especially for students like myself preparing to enter the workforce in a few short years. But, with a platform for students to not only voice their concerns, but to educate, engage and inspire others, we can begin preparation for a world changing before our eyes. My idea with The Stillman Disruption Journal is not to announce news related to digital transformation and disruption. Rather, my idea with this journal is to give the larger implications of these coming advancements, through in-depth, well-written student essays.

More here.

Posted in Future Thinking, Ideas, Innovation, Leadership and tagged , .


  1. As a society, I believe that many of us view the “good” that technological advancements have to offer. However, while there are many positives, we neglect to focus on the negative aspects and how it can adversely affect us. It goes without saying that the integration of technology (in this case AI systems) has been extremely seamless and is now deemed normal. Not only does remotely every American have an Amazon Echo, it is almost insane to comprehend how much we rely on it. Moreover, with every year that goes by the norm is pushed further and further to an extreme that eventually becomes our new state of “normal”. For instance, as mentioned in this article, this can be exemplified by Uber’s self-driving cars. Furthermore, as posed in this article, “With all these changes coming so quickly… how prepared are we to face them?” To answer this question, we aren’t prepared and I don’t believe we ever will be prepared enough.
    To put this into perspective, I would like to use the film The Terminator as an example. Those of you who aren’t familiar with the film, a disguised cyborg travels back in time to assassinate the protagonist, Sarah Connor. In the attempt to protect Sarah, Kyle Reese is sent from the past and endeavors to divulges the emergence of Skynet, an AI system that will induce a nuclear holocaust in the future (which is Kyle’s current present). The fact that I mention this film is not because I am under the impression that a nuclear holocaust will occur in the near future, rather to make the point that sometimes what is done for the betterment of society, will not always end up to do the good we expected. Moreover, with that in mind our naivete will triumph and we will continue to overlook the possible consequence of such advancements until we are “knocked out”, just as it happens in film,The Terminator.

  2. Technological developments have changed the way that we live and interact with the world completely. It is absolutely shocking when we actually consider the impact that inventions like artificial intelligence have already had on society, and it is important to recognize how we can use these technologies in their best possible way to progress the human race even more. The disruption journal is an excellent resource for opening the eyes of the readers of professor Shannon’s material and making them more vigilant when navigating these new waters. I know my necessity for security have increased many times over from the lectures of the class alone, and with the addition of the journal, we have the chance to hear the many different perspectives of those informed on this issue, which is incredibly valuable to any college student. The efficiency of artificial intelligence is a scary reminder of machines ability to out work and out produce human in industries that we rely on to employ millions. I believe part of the reason that so many will be hopelessly displaced in the coming future is just due to lack of knowledge of how automation actually would work, and no attempt at refining skill sets to make yourself attractive to the employer again. A statistic that has stayed in my mind since the first disruption lecture I attended of Professor Shannon was when he explained the average life span of skill sets, where it used to be ensured that your learned skills would last you decades. Now, though, skills last an average for 7 years, thanks to the power of an ever changing work environment evolving faster each day as computers better every process we partake in. We look at statistics like these and should be concerned with whether we can withstand the hit that artificial intelligence will take on the world when fully implemented, and questions of universal basic incomes or sweeping retraining programs are definitely no crazy pipe dreams any more. No one can deny this shift towards automation taking over, either. Considering we live in a world where people will pay absurd amounts of money to shed seconds off their processes and are completely under the control of those who can make their lives as seamless and convenient as possible. We live in an interesting transitionary period which is testing the loyalty that humans have to one another in the face of something that can produce results quicker and at lower cost. Unfortunately, i believe those factors are far too appealing to the largest corporations in the world to not aggressively use these new resources to compete and try to get to the top. Even if some were to reject this new technology, it would not stop those who will ultimately use it to drive others out of their market entirely. This is an extremely important conversation to have, as I truly do not see an alternative in the future that would involve anything different from a massive increase in jobless citizens who cannot adapt to a new digital environment.

  3. I recently got an Alexa for my birthday, something that I never really wanted or needed but now I use it every day. I use it to listen to music, set reminders and alarms, see if there is going to be traffic on my commute. The other day I spoke to my phone and said “Alexa” instead of “Siri”. The fact that we live in a world where it is commonplace to confuse our artificial intelligence shows that we definitely should be having conversations about the role of technology in our lives. The Stillman platform gives concerned students a place to have this conversation.
    The passage acknowledged the “reality of machines being given human characteristics… and societies adopting a permanent culture of convenience.” I think that each of these things were at first unnoticeable and have since been slowly integrated into our society to the point where they are now a part of everyday life. More than ever often robots are given human like qualities. We have been watching movies for decades on this but never thought it would actually happen. Her (2013), is a movie about a man who feel in love with an operating system seems pretty far fetched to most of us. But, it really that impossible to fathom an emotional attachment to a robot especially with the presence of AI in our homes, cars, and phones. Technology follows us everywhere. I would argue that we have more contact with tech than other human beings. Studies on contact comfort have shown just how important human touch and interaction is in developing a healthy personality. Our lack of interaction explains the upcoming generations anxieties over talking to and in front of people.
    At this point, were not only creating emotional attachments with technology, but we are physically attaching ourselves to it. With RFID technology, Microchips that hold digital information are already implanted in upwards of 4,000 people’s hands. This will essentially put those tiny chips that hold our credit card numbers and other personal information on the back of our hands. This is the culture of convenience that the article alludes to. To be perfectly honest, I’m a little worried about the path were headed on even if it does make life easier. All I have to say is, Bradbury called it, and anyone who has read Fahrenheit 451 knows exactly what I’m talking about. That’s one book that everyone growing up today should be reading.

    (The video below gives a quick summary of why RFID tech is on the rise)

  4. Technological advancements are both a great, and scary thing. On one hand, the bettering of our lives is something we should strive for. Advancements in automobiles, AI, phone technology, and other fields have increased our quality of life and enabled our society to access a new plane of achievement. There’s nothing wrong with wanting life to be a bit more convenient — at least on the surface level. It is when you delve into the consequences of these advancements, that the line becomes grey.

    In today’s world, we have reached a point where we can order our food through a machine (and in the near future, have machines COOK the food for us). While this is convenient, it poses the question — what happens to the jobs of those who did these tasks prior? Well, it’s quite obvious; those people will no longer be needed. Just look at advancements in automobiles and self-driving technology — there will be no reason to call a cab or an uber anymore at the rate that we’re moving. Another industry that will be affected quite harshly will be the truck-driving industry. No more will companies need to hire truck drivers to drive their trucks — they will just use self-driving trucks instead.

    But the scariest part about all of this — the machines that will do these jobs will do them way better than humans ever did. Once these budding technologies have been honed and perfected, long gone will be the days of human error. No longer will the sandwich you order from Burger King be missing a component, or be sloppily put together. Car accidents and plane crashes will be a thing of the past. I don’t mean to scare people when I say this. But it is imperative that we are aware to how these advancements will affect our society.

  5. The world is moving into a technology-based era where everything that we do in our daily lives revolves around technology. The Stillman Disruption Journal, that was created by the Seton Hall students, is a great idea because the future is unpredictable and no one can fully prepare for what is to come but we must embrace it. Today, we have jobs that require people to flip burgers for minimum wage but 15 years from now, that position will probably be taken by a high-tech robot. Robots may be the future of McDonald’s or Burger King, but a robot is imperfect which will require an individual to fix. Someone flipping burgers may lose their job but the demand for entry level mechanics will soar. This blog will help students, like myself, interact with each other on topics like robots and allow us to better educate ourselves as to what the future may hold for current and upcoming college students.

    One big topic that is being discussed world-wide currently is business analytics. Business analysts are said to be very important careers in the near future and there will be a huge demand for analysts in the market. Many college students are currently studying business analytics as a minor to have a little knowledge in this field so if this does become a necessity, students will already have some background in it. Another big, upcoming career is supply chain management. Supply chain management is a career which involves the flow of goods and services and where products get their raw materials from. Supply chain in a company is very important because knowing where products come from and their costs can help drive the cost of goods sold and make products cheaper for the producers to produce or allow them to sell the products at a discount. Topics like this should be discussed in the journal they created because it is very useful information that students may want to take into consideration when deciding on a career path they want to pursue. I wish I had a resource like that available to me because I was not sure what career path I wanted to pursue until I finished community college and realized that I had a passion for solving financial problems and working with business related numbers.

  6. Today technology is not the leader of this society it is also what controls everyone’s life now. Some major forces in the stock market today are Jeff Bezos Amazon and Mark Zuckerberg Facebook. Two companies that are just based on the internet, that rise and fall with technology. We all have a smartphone in our pocket that has stronger computing power that the first computers that took up whole rooms to work. Now a chip smaller than our palms has the same if not more powerful than those computers. Just one generation before mine the computers used floppy discs, came with an input to allow a cd to play on the computer, now to watch a movie or show I just have to go to some streaming service like Netflix or Disney plus. The only way to watch a movie was to go to the theater now, we just wait to watch it at home. Technology is taking out things that had a solid foundation for such a long time. The first of these examples that come to mind is blockbuster falling to Netflix because of ignorance on their part. Now Tesla is pushing for self-driving vehicles taking out the need for a driver who makes mistakes on a daily basis. Soon enough online shopping will take out the need for retail shopping. The idea of a mall will be a thing of the past just like Blockbuster. The only way for us to adapt is not to take what we learn now and hold on to it. That would and could buy some time for me and my generation but in the end, we’d have to adapt again to the next things to come. The problem then arises is how to combat these problems that will come. The answer isn’t as simple as just getting used to using the technology. If we look at a business that has thrived through the use of Amazon, or in a different light Stock X. Stock X is a third party that aides in the sneaker resale world. They have built a billion-dollar company just through an online enterprise. People are making so much money by just having an online front. I have a friend who started flipping vintage wear, he finally got a website for his brand hearts and thrifts. The revenue he made through his strategic use of Instagram to help him get this website is the present and the future. The question is though for how long. The point I am trying to make is that not long ago a storefront was needed to make some type of business, but now all that is really needed is a social media profile. The change is astronomical compared to what is normal. They all thought outside of the box, yes this is a risk but then they are ahead of the curve as everyone else tries to play catch up. For us to even be considered as an asset for a business in the next ten years where it’s likely that our job experience will count as nothing is for us to constantly adapt and get used to these things. We have to become students of the trends. This means we’d study how the next technology trends like self-driving cars or maybe in ten years it’ll be flying cars and adapt with either our money in the stock market or put ourselves in a position to give us the best upper hand.

  7. The advancement of AI and the technology it’s applied in is often overlooked. Why is that? Is it because it is an idea, we wouldn’t mind seeing advance? In this age, technology is synonymous with efficient and convenience, why would we not want to see that progress? However, it is because of these traits in which problems arise.
    According to BBC, some 1.5 million jobs in England are at high risk of losing their jobs to automation, being greater than 60% probability. A lot of these jobs at risk are lower level jobs that don’t require a significant amount of expertise. These include waiter, shelf filers, and bar staff. Conversely, highly sought-after gold collar workers, are at a low replacement rate.
    Then what does this say about our society right now? For people who do not have the opportunity to enter a college that allows them to attain these high-level jobs, they must resort to these minimum wage jobs that will be eventually replaced by automation. These leaves people who did not have a lot of money in the first place without a job. While this rich people who earn a living retain their profession because of the demand of their skill set, allowing them to get richer. This is not meant to pick one side over the other, this is just something to consider. So, what will happen to these workers, considering they cannot afford a higher education?
    According to Inc., the overlooked factor about machinery is that they are not human thus do not possess emotion. In the article, it states that once material needs were taken care of the desire to have conversation with a real human prompted the users to contact customer service. AI and technology is only as smart as we program it to be and it can only do so much. Due to a robot’s lack of human personality, perhaps this can be an outlet for those entry level workers. They possess a skill set that will always be out of reach for any machine. Perhaps this can make them more sought after than any machine.
    The rate at which AI advances isn’t as fast as the media will have you believe it to be. The advancement is based on human ingenuity itself. While the rise of AI is coming, hopefully we will have some time to figure out where our workforce can migrate to.

  8. I recently applied to be an Instacart shopper and deliverer. Instacart is a grocery delivery service that people use to pick, pay for, and set to deliver their groceries with the simple touch of a few buttons. It is then my job to go to the grocery store of their choosing, find their groceries, and then deliver them before a certain time. Initially, I thought nothing of it. To me, it was just a way for busy or even disabled people to get an important task done when they cannot. After reading this article, the powers of technology are certainly progressing in that you can restock your pantry without getting out of bed- and it does not stop there.
    Although I do understand the daunting nature of these technological advances, I do not see it taking over the world anytime soon. It is important to note that in order for these processes to be successful, manpower is vital. Technology is meant to make our life easier, not to take it over. As long as it is controlled and regulated, I think that these advancements are very useful and practical. Perhaps creating one yourself is easier than you think; then you would never have to worry about your job if you created the application.
    Things such as Instacart, Postmates, and Amazon Alexa’s can make the inconveniences of everyday life much more bearable. For example, those who are disabled, or elderly can enjoy many of our same luxuries thanks to these newfound applications. Quite frankly, I am happy to start my second job as an Instacart shopper and deliverer because the=is gives me an easy way to help those who need it and perhaps make someone’s day much easier.

  9. All over the world, it can be said that we are in the midst of a technological revolution. These new advances are taking over many aspects of life, some of which are very beneficial – but at what cost? Loss of jobs and changes in curriculum are just a few negative aspects this technological revolution is having on society. It is honestly crazy to think that new machinery is able to consist of human characteristics and replace the actual people in order for convenience, or cheaper costs. Also, the fact of the matter is that this change in society typically impacts older generations more considering that they are used to things being a certain way and with this rapid change, they have to try and quickly catch up. Even as a student, it can be challenging at times to learn and be able to figure out these new developments which is why it is common for students to rely on one another for help. The idea of being able to freely discuss and voice opinions on an open platform is something that could be really helpful during this time of change. I also think that this would not only be beneficial for students, but especially older people who may be struggling to adapt. I highly agree with a statement in the article that states, “The preparation we receive will make or break us.” Because as time goes on, more and more changes are made, so the better we prepare and adjust for these upcoming changes now, the better off we will be in the future and can see success as a result.

  10. I also am able to view the pros and cons that come with technology. I agreed with the author’s analogy regarding technology “knocking us out cold” because humanity wasn’t ready for it. I think this is a perfect analogy for our current time. Technology is always developing as quickly as possible to allow more and more convenience to the public. Over time, we have created self-driving cars, incredibly fast Internet and computers, algorithms to know what you buy and how frequently, and even a mini robot to heed to your every command. To some this can be interesting and even life-saving. Perhaps this advancement of technology makes it so much easier to now live your life. You can take a coffee/breakfast break or read the newspaper on your drive to work in the morning, or you can keep a running list of groceries through Alexa or set reminders instead of using a simple pad and pencil.
    However, there is also the flip side of technology advancement. The middle class blue collar population will soon see their jobs and livelihoods disappear since robots could do a factory job better, more efficiently, and cheaper. Also, with technology being able to “speak” to us and listen to what we are asking, such as Alexa, this creates a dangerous tread of privacy in our homes. Personally, I would never allow a device like this into my own home. It makes me uneasy that a device that was created to listen to me with the cue of the name “Alexa” could be listening to me or seeing me at all times. There have been many lawsuits to suggest this. Though the self-driving car sounds interesting in itself, I do not know as much information about this advancement. I do see how it can be extremely beneficial to humans since it could significantly lower car accidents and potential DUI’s. However, it makes security come into question since there are so many brilliant computer hackers in the world. With a self-driving car a computer hacker could manipulate the car into driving wherever the hacker is, making auto theft just a little bit easier.
    It will be interesting to see what else man can create and how convenient a product could become. My biggest curiosity would be keeping the privacy and security of human lives. Though I am not one to fight change, I am cautious about the potential creations or advancements of current products.

  11. The world that we live in now is greatly based on technology and the technological advances that continue to occur. I find it mind blowing that we live in a world where we have self driving cars, self checkout registers, online shopping, amazon “Alexa” and much more. All of these things have pros and cons in our society. A lot of our technological advances and changes in curriculum that stem from more advanced technology helps with the efficiency of getting tasks done, and also allows us to multitask because the machinery does one thing, while we can do another. However, it results in job loss because these machines are programmed and made to do what humans can already do but at a faster pace. Additionally, with the innovation of self driving cars, there may statistically be less accidents and driving mishaps, but a hacker could disrupt the system and make it impossible for anyone to control. I am a person that would rather be able to control when I see something about to go wrong to prevent it, rather than rely on a machine that may or may not pick up on it fast enough and react correctly. This rapid advancement in technology is all that I have known in my young adult life but as I get older and closer to entering the workforce and “real world”, I realize how problematic going out into the workforce on my own can be if I do not offer something that differs from the normal. Additionally, if we are not groomed to operate this new machinery and software that are constantly popping up, it is very likely that finding work to support my family and myself will be extremely low. Robots that are being built to work can do our jobs at a cheaper price also, which saves money for blue collar businesses to say the least.
    I see having the “Stillman Disruption Journal” as a tremendous idea because although we may not be able to address our concerns head on, starting a conversation between the upcoming generation of workers and those who are creating these new work environments, will be beneficial for both sides. For the ones that are going into the workforce, it makes us feel that we have a voice and push an agenda that’ll help everyone. On the other side, the ones creating this new way to work can understand the true pros and cons for everyone besides their money-making agenda.
    The conversation that I am proposing here is not one that is against change because in many cases change is a great thing, and we will have to learn how to adapt. My concern is how much the current things that we do and use in everyday life will change and render us incapable of doing things for ourselves. Technology is increasingly giving us the excuse to become more and more lazy, since we have machines to tell what we want them to do.

  12. By reading the title already, I have a lot of brain work going, regarding the coronavirus, but I believe that this is not a article about that.
    I like this article as it is a lot more positive about the future than the other articles about AI and future and that everyone is going to be without jobs. In this article, it has a very positive tone of the future, and it just reminds us to trying to keep on top of technology, so we wouldn’t be “knocked out”. I think I need to be a better job with that, as I am already quite behind on the technology, and I am surprised how quickly everything is developing. It is crazy to think that we are in the time where we have cars that don’t need a driver, we have a crocerystore that we don’t have to go to the cashier, everything is online, and we have our own helper robots like Alexa or echo that we can ask anything. I believe that the world is going to be a lot better and faster pace world in the next 10 years, as long as we don’t screw up with the corona virus, and shutdown everything. We need to keep moving and keep coming up with new technology, so the future will be better and better.
    The main goal for me with the technology is that I need to be better with it in my 70’s than my granparents are with today’s today’s technology. Most important thing is to stay on the wave and learn about new devices etc.

  13. It is insane to see the advancement of technology and devices over time, especially in the development of AI services and how they are beginning to broaden our every day life with new purposes and reasons for their use. You look at Amazon’s “Alexa”, or Apple’s “Siri”, or even any bluetooth voice activation application on a device like a TV or laptop, and it is incredible to think about the amount of knowledge and data that are embedded within their function and toward a function that you command it to do for you. The article also mentions the possibilities self checkouts or self drivers have for people currently and how game changing that is to the future of the workforce. With the invention of the Stillman Disruption Journal, it can give a resource in aiding those who have questions and concerns regarding our ever growing technological services provided to us. I can obviously see it helping those who are in need of adjusting, as adjusting and dealing with a change of the norm can be difficult in certain ways as can it be in any circumstance. By one having a service in the Journal, it can at least help one person prepare better in what they will need to know to operate and bring to the table. On the other hand, it can draw an aim at the lack of accessibility and productivity in one’s life having advanced technology doing majority or all of the hard work done for one. Laziness and mediocrity are both dangerous habits in picking up, especially if the payoff is easy rather than rewarding, which could and would find its way in costing them later on down the line, whether that could be a working position or outside of the workforce. Overall, I feel the journal is a great idea in accessing ones to draw concerns and communicate in how to adjust in our evolving technological environment, but at the same time staying away from creating less productivity as a result in certain aspects.

  14. In Nathaniel’s post, he speaks about the ongoing technology revolution and how society will bend to its knee very soon. I agree with this totally, technology is growing at a rapid rate and society is not prepared for it. I imagine things such as advancements in AI systems, virtual reality, uploading/downloading consciousness, payment/identification chips implemented in our hands or on our fingertips, and much more. It is quite scary to imagine such things since I believe it will start to take away from what it is like to be human.
    As a kid I enjoyed playing outside everyday and walking to my friend’s house to see if they can hangout. I was able to find things to do everyday outside and be creative. The advancement in technology may cripple the youth coming and hurt society. We already have a problem with face to face interaction and jobs becoming obsolete, what will happen in 10 years when technology reaches a new peak?

  15. Technological developments have truly impacted almost every aspect of an individual’s life; cell phones are utilized for more than just speaking with others, machines are completing the same tasks as human workers, and automobiles are equipped with advanced safety and self-driving features. Living and working amid the technology age, new innovations are constantly being presented to the market. These advances have not only improved the timeliness and efficiency of tasks being completed, but they have also reduced the amount of work humans complete. While the transition to a more technologically advanced world is inevitable, it does present both positive and negative implications to society.

    This is especially seen within businesses today like Tesla, an automobile company focused on dominating the market with their electric and autonomous vehicles. The CEO, Elon Musk, discussed his ambitions for the future within his “Battery Day” event held on September 22, 2020, which highlighted both the benefits and risks of becoming a more virtual world. Recently, Tesla made technological innovations in their vehicles’ batteries and redesigned the process that creates new electrons by transforming powder into film. These implications simplify the manufacturing, coding, and winding processes of Tesla’s vehicle production process, improving the company’s energy density and cost, and reducing their environmental footprint.

    While these advances seem minor, Tesla’s technological innovations are leading the market in electric vehicles, and ultimately, the manufacturing process. They have created factories that operate with minimal stoppage time between parts, which greatly accelerates the production process and works towards obtaining Musk’s goal of being the best at manufacturing. This advancement could allow Tesla to have one factory producing the same number of vehicles as a competitor’s five factories. It is certain these implications will be utilized by countless companies in the future, following the successes of Tesla both financially and environmentally.
    These improvements will most likely be expanded into areas within global supply chain, minimizing human contact between suppliers and manufactured products. Similarly, these advances can be utilized within mobile devices, which not only improves the speed of the product, but could have the ability to transition into an autonomous device that can be used relatively close to the user. These proposed ideas not only utilize less parts but will reduce the footprint of manufacturers while maintaining affordability for its customers.

    With all vehicles expected to be electric or autonomous within the next decades, these technological advances will become standard amongst the population. Vehicles will have the ability to navigate the roads without the oversight of humans, reducing human error and the occurrence of car accidents and driver violations. While this does improve road safety, it also presents negatives, as the implication of autonomous vehicles eliminates the need for industries such as taxis, ride-share, delivery services, and possibly even automobile insurance companies.

    It will not be long before the electric and autonomous technology is fully implemented into service markets, as it will minimize these companies’ processes while maximizing their efficiency. While this financially benefits companies, it also reduces career opportunities for individuals and removes the human touch of compassion and sensitivity within business transactions. This technology is still considered up-and-coming, but it can be assumed it will be adopted by all businesses soon enough. There are still strides to make in the implications of technology, but with businesses eager to produce the next best product, it will not be long until these predictions become reality.

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