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8 SMT007 MAGAZINE I JULY 2020 Nolan's Notes by Nolan Johnson, I-CONNECT007 Rethinking Manufacturing These days, it seems we're all doing a lot of rethinking, looking at nearly everything from a different perspective. The rapid changes we've made in 2020 to help as many people as possi- ble survive a pandemic also trickle down into our thought patterns. A measure of this change in thinking can be seen in academic research currently underway. Part of my job is to keep a watchful eye for newsworthy content. One source I use aggre- gates technology-related press releases from major universities, including new discoveries, research papers, and thinktank-and-incubator stuff. In the last 45 days, the type of content announced on this feed has shifted away from technology and applied sciences to a heavier focus on sociology, anthropology, and epi- demiology. The shift in the work being done in academia is just one mirror reflecting our changes worldwide. It's also a reminder that we shouldn't specialize too much. In the middle of preparing this magazine, a colleague sent me a link to an article by Vikram Mansharamani, a lecturer at Harvard. He wades right into the middle of this shifting discourse academia is having with the public [1] . Man- sharamani states: "The one certainty about the future is that it will be uncertain. The rapid advancement of artificial intelligence and technological innovation have commoditized information. The skill of generating dots is losing value. The key skill of the future is, well, not quite a skill; it's an approach, a philosophy, and way of thinking—and it's critical you adopt it as soon as you're able." Mansharamani's argument is that specializa- tion is no longer as critical to success as it once was, which stands to reason, I suppose. During the industrial revolution, and into the digital revolution, it was the highly specialized experts who drew higher salaries; specialization was the most likely pathway to success. Manshara- mani, however, argues that has changed:

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