While reading Bosquet’s piece, I was struck by his image of the fighting faculty and administration. The administration wants to employ fewer workers and the faculty want to keep their jobs. Bosquet takes this from David Noble and he begins to build this image on pages 56-57. What is so interesting about it is that “The faculty and administration are fighting over what is essentially a shared vision, a vision of a future created by information technology, of a fully downloadable and teacherless education” (Bosquet,57). This dichotomy of the faculty and administration also proves itself to be an antinomy in that they both He explains that both these groups lend themselves to fantasy. The administrator’s fantasy is as old as industry itself: profit without workers. He uses the metaphor of a workerless factory to illustrate this point. The faculty, on the other hand, think of themselves rather romantically as “taking a stand against technology” (Bosquet, 58). Bosquet sees technology as a superficial issue here. The real issue is not even that the administration wants to employ less workers. He later mentions that there are now more academic workers than ever before. The real issue here is viewing education as a commodity. The administration wants to be able to shootout doctors and lawyers and enginners, or rather consumers, very efficiently. Bosquets quotes from Stanley Aronowitz who says that “there is little that would qualify as higher learning in the United States.” He instead says that students receive a kind of “higher training.” In the below graphic, someone has taken the time to articulate all the problems that feel the administration either create or come up against.
Now I want to get back to the faculty’s fear. They are afraid of being replaced with machines. The intriguing detail that Bosquet points out is that, at least in the early stages, people are still needed to control the machines. He uses the example of replacing Tom Hanks with a digital actor. That requires a lot of work and in this scenario, more than just having a real actor. With things like online classes, you would still need people. They might be different types of people, but it is not workerless.
In essence, both the faculty and the administration could be wrong about the thing they fantasize most about, what technology could to to higher education. The administration will not be able to have their workerless profit and the faculty will not have to worry that technology will eliminate the need for them and themselves entirely.