[EAS]Future Software

pjk pjk at design.eng.yale.edu
Fri Jun 1 12:33:08 EDT 2001

Subject:   Future Software

Dear Colleagues -

A worthwhile item that got buried amidst my Yale end-of-semester
turmoil was a multi-section survey by The Economist, as always
terse and informative, this time on the future of software. It
starts at

To me one of the most significant sections is
which expands on the "obvious" but usually neglected point that
"even the best software won't work without organizational changes."

While new software makes the technical side of operations easier,
most organizations neglect the effect it will have on their
organizational structure and culture. This can make them end up
with "just another ugly IT animal."

What blurs such predicaments in educational institutions is the
difficulty of devising metrics for eductional objectives. Even
working on defining those terms usually implies a cultural shift.
But one should try, more likely with the insights of anthropology
than technology. I say anthropology, because, loosely quoting Neil
Postman, all technology is a Faustian bargain. For every advantage
a new technology offers, there is always some corresponding
disadvantage. The advantage is usually expressed in technical
terms, the disadvantage is usually cultural.
(See also <http://www.yale.edu/engineering/eng-info/msg00382.html>)


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