New York Times Columnist Thomas L. Friedman Says Worcester and Becker Innovate

Posted by Sandy Lashin-Curewitz | January 29, 2015

Through Becker College's new Presidential Speaker Series, students get to hear firsthand from thought leaders known for their expertise and insights on the world our graduates enter. Last year, Thomas L. Friedman—New York Times columnist, author of six best-selling books, and recipient of three Pulitzer prizes—kicked off the series when he spoke to more than 1,100 guests at Worcester’s Mechanics Hall. 

Missed the event coverage? Here's an excerpt from Becker Bridges magazine.

“I am an optimist about America, because there are places like Worcester that are innovating,” Friedman said. “We need a new social contract that includes innovation, entrepreneurship, and capitalism.” He emphasized how the dominant American industry has moved away from manufacturing jobs that workers kept for 30 years to a new workplace where people must invent their own jobs. “Employers will no longer pay you for what you know, but only for what you can do with what you know.”

Friedman, who covered trends resulting from our newly hyperconnected world in his book, The World Is Flat, described developments one might think of as years away, such as 3G service at the top of Mt. Everest, landscaping done by robots, rental car reservations taken by artificial intelligence, the milking of 200 cows by two dairy farm employees, and one Las Vegas casino worker running 20 roulette screens. “This is happening now,” he said.

Friedman went as far as to predict that in 10 years, there will be no digital divide in the world; the only divide that will matter will be the motivation divide. “It will come down to who has the motivation, the persistence, and the grit to take advantage of the platform that is out there to compete, connect, collaborate, invent, and basically think of new products and services,” he added.

Friedman was invited as the inaugural speaker in the Presidential Speaker Series for his future oriented viewpoint and sophisticated analysis of complex issues facing the modern world. The series features thought leaders known for their expertise and perspectives on key challenges and opportunities facing students preparing for meaningful, successful careers in a world that is increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. Proceeds from the event, which was sponsored by Fallon Health, were directed to the John J. Dorsey, Sr. Memorial Scholarship Fund, which provides merit scholarships for students to attend Becker College.

Read the rest here.

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