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The Future of Work

The Future of Work

This video was recorded at MIT World Series: Back to the Classroom 2004. In Thomas Malone's optimistic view of the future, the human values of creativity and freedom ultimately triumph, and business leads the way. This explosion of possibilities in work, and everyday life, will flow from the increasing ease and decreasing expense of communicating. Malone sees parallels between the emergence of democracies in political and business worlds, and technological advances in communications. He notes that in the age of the Internet, businesses are growing decentralized, markedly departing from "command and control" organizational models to newer environments where "workers seek advice instead of approval." Empowered by new technologies, workers will exercise ever greater strength in important decisions -- even while corporations expand and sprawl across borders. Just as the printing press enabled large numbers of people to participate in the politics of their times, so will the Internet and evolving communications technologies enable workers to perform their jobs as more active decision-makers, across greater distances. For evidence of this massive shift, Malone explores the "e-lance" economy, as well as the success of eBay, a company with 130,000-plus off site "sellers" making up a global network of "small store owners."

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