Toolkit for the Future of Work

Syllabus (Draft)

Course Description

The future of work is ________.

Starting with this fill in the blank question, this class will examine the present and the imminent future of work in the rise of automation and the advent of artificial intelligence. Students will identify, research, analyze problems related to the changes in the way we work, and create projects that can help workers survive, prepare for, adapt to, or resist the changes. 

How can we make art and design tools that empower and uplift workers in an ever so close future of intensified automation, algorithmic hiring bias, ubiquitous surveillance, and the gamification of everything? This is one of the questions the class seeks to explore.

Class will be divided into topic-based workshops, student presentations, discussions, and project development. At the end of the class, students will have gained more understanding about the implications of the future of work, improved their research and presentation skills, learnt a few project development methodologies, and completed a research-based creative project related to the topic of the class.

Schedule (Draft)

Week 01: The future of work is __________.
  • Introductions
  • Class Overview
  • Presentation and Discussion: The future of work is __________.
Week 02: Automation
  • Workshop and Discussion: Automation / Will I be replaced by a robot, or will I become one?
  • Homework: research and get ready to present next week. In addition to showing your findings, brainstorm one or more project ideas that can help workers adapt to intensified automation.
Week 03
  • Student presentations and discussions.
Week 04: Hiring Biases
  • Workshop and Discussion: Hiring / Who are we leaving out when we filter candidates with algorithms?
  • Homework: research and get ready to present next week. In addition to showing your findings, brainstorm one or more project ideas that can make the hiring process more inclusive.
Week 05
  • Student presentations and discussions.
Week 06: Surveillance
  • Workshop and Discussion: Surveillance / How not to be surveilled by your boss?
  • Homework: research and get ready to present next week. In addition to showing your findings, brainstorm one or more project ideas that can help workers avoid algorithmic surveillance in the workplace.
Week 07
  • Student presentations and discussions.
Week 08: Gamification
  • Workshop and Discussion: Gamification / What happens when work is replaced by play, and management becomes gamified?
  • Homework: research and get ready to present next week. In addition to showing your findings, brainstorm one or more project ideas that can help workers realize the truth of gamification.
Week 09
  • Student presentations and discussions.
  • Homework: write a short proposal for final project. You can pick one of your ideas from previous weeks or start a new one. Be prepared to share your proposal next week.
Week 10: Final Project
  • Students share their final project ideas.
  • Impact Oriented Design Process: introduce students to the process and use the rest of the class to start turning their proposals to project development plans.
  • Homework: complete detailed project plans, continue doing research on your selected topics. Get ready to present both the project plan and your research next week.
Week 11
  • Students share their final project research and project plans.
  • Class discussion and feedback.
  • Homework: work on final project, make progress, and create a prototype.
Week 12
  • Students share their final project progress and prototypes.
  • Class discussion and feedback.
  • Homework: work on final project, get ready for user testing next week.
Week 13
  • Students stake turns trying out classmates’ prototypes and provide feedback.
  • Homework: Finish final project. Get ready to present next week.
Week 14
  • Students present their projects and their processes.
  • Discussion and feedback session with class and guest critics.