söndag 26 april 2020

Visualizing LCA through Augmented Reality (application)

Your laptop uses as much energy as a fox. For more information, see this blog post.

Once per year KTH's Sustainability Office award money for small (maximum 100 000 SEK, maximum 1 year) interdisciplinary projects, "Environment and sustainability without boundaries". Last time I handed in an application was two years ago for the project "Homo Colossus In Real Life (HC-IRL)". The application was granted (with a 6-month delay), but we started to work with the project during 2019 and it has since expanded into a research project and an exhibit at the upcoming World Expo.

This week we handed in a new application, "Visualizing LCA through Augmented Reality". The main applicant is Anna Björklund who is an associate professor at the School of Architecture and the Built Environment, Dept of Sustainable Development, Environmental Science and Engineering. Anna is also an expert on Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). The co-applicants are me and Mario Romero (Associate professor in Human-Computer Interaction with focus on Interactive Computer Graphics and Visualization at the Division of Computational Science and Technology. Anna and me developed and wrote up the application but we invited Mario to join as we thought his competence would come in handy in the project.

While I have nominally worked with Anna before (we are co-authors of a paper with five authors), it was most my colleague Elina Eriksson and me who did the majority of the work:
- Eriksson, E., Pargman, D., Björklund, A., Kramers, A., & Edvardsson Björnberg, K. (2016). Sustainable development for ICT engineering students:“What’s in it for me”?. In Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Engineering Education for Sustainable Development (EESD'16).

That paper builds on experiences of teaching sustainability to engineering student in three different programmes and both Anna and me are still responsible for the same two courses as when we wrote that paper.

I have lately talked with Anna about LCA in relationship to the Homo Colossus project and this resulted in a shared application for funds and here is the application:

Visualizing LCA through Augmented Reality 

Project description:
This application will catalyze a multidisciplinary and explorative research collaboration between researchers as well as students from two disparate research fields at KTH - Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Interactive Media Technology. The three applicants have not previously worked together and we believe the application combines research that has not previously been combined in new and innovative ways.

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is used to support decision making in industry, by authorities and to provide consumers with information on product’s environmental performance. While LCA is a powerful tool for developing comprehensive environmental assessment of products and services, results are often complex and difficult to interpret. Improving the communication of LCA results has been the topic of several studies (Cerdas et al. 2017, Sala & Andreasson 2018, Røyne et al. 2019), but these efforts mainly target expert users rather than the general public. There is thus a lack of research on how to convey LCA results in an understandable and meaningful way to non-experts, thereby limiting the potential of LCA to influence and change people’s behavior in a more sustainable direction. 

One example of how LCA is communicated to consumers is to present a numerical value that represents the carbon footprint of a product. The hope is that consumers will make more informed choices, but there is little proof that people in general act on this information. We instead plan to explore more direct and emotional ways of communicating LCA results that relate to the audience on a personal level. We will more specifically explore new ways to communicate LCA results that move beyond traditional 2D representation of LCA results (through bars and charts) and instead use Augmented Reality (AR).

One innovative way to communicate such information, leaving behind the traditional ambition of numerical precision and transparency in LCA, is to instead focus on making results relatable, interesting and emotionally engaging. In this project we plan to use LCA to calculate the energy footprint of gadgets (or devices or services) and then use AR to visualize this footprint using Kleiber’s law (Kleiber 1947) to calculate the mass of an animal that needs the same amount of energy to maintain its bodily functions, e.g.:

  • The average modern energy-efficient washing machine in Sweden uses 1 kWh for a wash cycle and is used on average every second day. 
  • This energy use (0.5 kWh/day) is equivalent to the energy content of the food that an animal that weighs 12 kilos (for example a medium-sized dog) needs to eat each day.
  • Every gadget or service (for example a plane trip) could similarly be “translated” and mapped into an animal of a suitable size. A laptop computer is for example “equivalent” to a fox (see image below)

Future work could involve letting the user “visit” sites in the production chain where energy is consumed or greenhouse gases released, or explore how the size of one’s carbon footprint is affected by choice of diet.

This is a pilot project. The applicants will 1) shape an attractive project proposal for using AR to visualize LCA results and 2) recruit students who will work with this proposal in a project course (DM2799) at the EECS school with 3) support from an LCA research assistant from the ABE school. While the direct output of this project will be a demo that is developed in a project course, the indirect outputs will be a deepened understanding of whether and how AR can be used to explore new formats of presenting LCA data for new audiences (e.g. the general public). If successful, we will use our existing networks to:

  1. Bring the results into our teaching. Applicants Björklund and Pargman are responsible for sustainability courses that are given to engineering students in the ICT programme (AG1815) and the Media Technology programme (DM2573). Applicant Romero teaches courses in Information Visualization (DH2321) and Advanced Graphics and Interaction (DH2413).
  2. Present the results at Tekniska Museet and/or the exhibition space Färgfabriken.
  3. Apply for research grants to fund further research into the area

The project is synchronised with and will benefit from activities that are funded by other sources:

At EECS, co-applicants Pargman and Romero will act as clients and supervisors for a group of second year master’s students working with Augmented Reality (AR) in DM2799 Advanced project course in Interactive Media Technology, a course where students work with research problems posed by researchers at the department of Media Technology and Interaction Design. Pargman and Romero have previously worked together and supervised students in this course as well as elsewhere.

At SEED, a research assistant working together with applicant Björklund on integrating a life cycle perspective in film production will act as the primary contact concerning LCA data and modelling and will support the DM2799 project group throughout the process (October - January).

söndag 19 april 2020

The academic petroleum precariat (proposed book chapter)

The academic precariat.

In my last blog post, I wrote about a proposed book chapter we just submitted to the book "Academic flying and the means of communication". As it so happens, I also submitted a second book chapter together with historian Johan Gärdebo (he is the first author).  Johan isn't a close colleague of mine but is affiliated with the KTH Environmental Humanities Lab. Four years ago I attended a workshop that he organized, "Fly or die" and I wrote a long and thought-provoking blog post about the workshop and I can very much recommend that text! It's also partially the case that our FLIGHT research project to some part came out of me and my colleague Elina attending that workshop!

I have bumped into Johan several times this past year and I invited him to be part of the concluding panel discussion in our (this year spectacularly popular) sustainability course just before Christmas where he did a great job! This is the first time we work/write something together and below is the abstract/proposed book chapter we just submitted. Also see the previous blog post to see the call for book chapters.

The academic petroleum precariat: unwanted flying in an age of uncertain employment
Johan Gärdebo & Daniel Pargman

Flying is often the single largest source of carbon emissions for aeromobile individuals. Academics are prime examples of this, not the least since they fly both as (relatively) affluent members of (oftentimes) affluent societies and as part of their jobs (for example to attend conferences and to disseminate research results). Decreasing carbon emissions entails limiting the amount of “unwanted” flying. While anthropogenic global warming in one sense makes all flying unwanted, we are in this context interested in flights conducted by junior researchers - the academic petroleum precariat - who due to precarious employment conditions are pressured to fly hither and yon whether they wish to or not.

In this essay, we argue that the significant driver for the aeromobility of the academic petroleum precariat are present-day academic (incentive) structures. With diminishing opportunities, e.g. fewer possibilities of tenure for a growing number of junior scholars, it becomes increasingly important to gain circulation. Apart from publishing texts, many attempt to increase circulation by physically placing themselves in strategic places of professional networks, where the action is. Flying is a means to quickly gain access to networks and contacts that can be used to increase the chance of texts being read and cited and to get access to valuable information about opportunities and offers.

We analyse petroleum combustion from flying as a response to academic precariousness. While ample flying is no guarantee of an academic career, at present it at least doesn’t hurt one’s prospects for it. The choice of staying on the ground (i.e. of not flying) might on the other hand easily hinder or possibly even ensure that your academic career will be permanently grounded.

Given that the skyrocketing CO2 emissions of Holecene higher education has to be supplanted by (CO2-stingy) Anthropocene academia, we end the text by elaborating on how the academic petroleum precariat is indicative of a set of challenges for the future of academia, for research(ers), and for the means of decreasing CO2 emissions in a knowledge economy.

fredag 17 april 2020

Who gets to fly? (proposed book chapter)

The Carbon Law specifies that we repeatedly need to reduce carbon emissions 
by 50% every decade until 2050.

I got an invitation to contribute with a chapter to a book, "Academic flying and the means of communication". The (proposed) book is edited by two researchers at the Centre for Development and the Environment at the University of Oslo.

The call was published earlier but apparently we don't move in the same circles, I got a personal invitation earlier this month but at the tail end of when prospective authors were supposed to submit abstracts.

This book is of course very interesting to the FLIGHT research project (previous blog post here). While a (non-peer reviewed) book chapter is less prestigious than a journal article, this book will bring together other authors whose papers we have read so it's the right company for us to be in. It's also possible to do (write about) things in a book chapter that would be harder in a journal article so we jumped on the chance of contributing to the book with a chapter.

This is however only one of several writing projects we are starting up and it just so happens that this particular project will be my personal baby (e.g. I will step up to be the first author, other research project members will step up and take responsibility for other papers we will write this year). Here is the call for book chapters:

CALL FOR PAPERS – Edited Volume

In recent decades, the institution of science has become ever more closely intertwined with the practice of air travel, to the point where many academics now think of flying – even of the intercontinental variety – as an essential aspect of their work life. Frequent flying has, in other words, become an ingrained part of what it means to be a successful academic.

Academics’ increasing reliance on air travel is quite striking if one considers that, in a period when academic aeromobility expanded greatly, science established beyond a doubt that human-made global warming is real and serious. It is even more striking if one remembers that, in this very same time span, alternatives to this “academic tourism” – like e-mail, social media, teleconferencing, MOOCs, etc. – became increasingly viable as means of academic communication. 

This planned edited volume shines a light on how and why academic practice today is so intertwined with air travel; how it came to be so; and what can be done to change this situation. Ultimately, it aims to challenge the prevalent conception of a successful academic career, where aeromobility is perceived as a need for professional enhancement. The simple – yet intractable – starting point of the book is that flying is only one means of academic communication among many, and that the state of the planet now obliges us to shift to other means. 

Among the questions we would like to see taken up are: 
• What characterizes academic aeromobility? 
• How did flying come to form such a key part of academic work life – and why is it            perceived as indispensable?
• What are the factors that drive academics to fly – and who benefits from this practice?
• What do scholars and scientists think about flying – and how do they talk about it in the everyday?
• What arguments can be presented for or against academic flying?
• How are conferences/workshops, etc. framed as part of the academic enterprise?

We now invite scholars and scientists from a variety of disciplines, including geography, sociology, history, communication, anthropology, and more, to submit 300-500 word abstracts of proposed book chapters

And here's our just-submitted abstract:

Who gets to fly?
Daniel Pargman, Markus Robèrt, Aksel Biørn-Hansen, Elina Eriksson and Jarmo Laaksolahti

To avoid the consequences of catastrophic climate change we need to uphold the goals of the Paris Agreement (e.g. keeping global average temperature “well below 2°C” compared to pre-industrial levels, UNFCCC 2015). The Carbon Law (Rockström et al. 2017) specifies a CO2 emissions reduction trajectory that is compatible with the Paris Agreement. The Carbon Law specifies that we repeatedly need to reduce carbon emissions by 50% every decade until 2050 and the Exponential Roadmap (Falk et al. 2019) exemplifies in some detail how carbon emissions could be reduced by 50% in every sector (transport, industry, buildings etc.) between 2020 and 2030. By extension, emissions need to be reduced by 50% in every country, in every city, in every industry, in every organisation, in every household and in every practice - including in academic aeromobility. While there is a much denial (“flying is only 3% of global emissions”), techno-utopianism (electric airplanes, biofuels) and suggestions for inadequate behavior changes (pack light, travel with modern airplanes), it’s not possible to reach the necessary emission reductions without significantly decreasing flying.

At KTH Royal Institute of Technology, academic aeromobility constitutes 99% of CO2 emissions from business travel. To decrease carbon emissions from travel is basically equivalent to decreasing CO2 emissions from aeromobility. At the end of 2019, KTH’s President set the ambitious goal of reducing CO2 emissions from flying by 60% between 2020 and 2030 (equivalent to reductions of 9% per year). This obviously constitutes a major challenge and in order to decrease flying we first need to understand flying, e.g. who flies when, where and why? In a research project, “Decreased CO2-emissions in flight-intensive organisations”, we have developed visualization tools to understand, display and compare KTH emissions from flying between 2017-2019 (down to the level of each individual employee) and we are working with one department at each of the five Schools to help them achieve KTH’s emission reduction goals.

Visualizing data about flight and CO2 emissions, including inequalities both within and between departments, begs tough but necessary conversations: who gets to fly and who needs to reduce their flying? Living up to KTH’s goals will eventually necessitate conversations about what constitutes excellence and what constitutes a successful academic career in an age of escalating climate emergencies. We also need to ask questions about what characterizes prudence and responsibility for KTH employees a decade from now. 

söndag 12 april 2020

My first Overleaf paper



This blog post can only be interesting for colleagues of mine and other researchers who work in academia. You have been warned.

It's a bit weird to realize that I hardly ever write about concrete work practices that play such a large role in my daily life as an associate professor (researcher and teacher). I never write about how email structures my day or the fact that our sustainability research group has a Slack channel that is more active now (during the Corona shutdown) that ever before. The one tool that rivals mail in my everyday life though is Google documents. We use them for everything in our research group. A new [something] almost always starts with a new Google document. In our FLIGHT research project (that started in mid-2019) we (this far) have documents for:

- the research project application (the actual application + another document for brainstorming-about-the-text)
- running meeting notes from our weekly meetings in the project
- a GANTT scheme for when what (pre-Corona) was supposed to happen when in the project
- a variety of data (several spreadsheets)
- a list of research articles of interest (which has now been superseeded by a shared group in the reference tool Zotero)
- brainstorming ideas for new research papers
- each paper writing project we consider or initiate (on document with the actual text/academic paper + another document that is used for brainstorming about the text)
- a rebuttal that we wrote when a research paper was "conditionally" accepted (the paper was later accepted)
- another research grant application we were part of + a brainstorming document
- another future add-on and follow-up research grant application (after this project finishes)
- saving links to news articles, blogs and other resources of intest to us (including universities where interesting things happen and persons of interest)
- discussing criteria etc. for hiring a PhD student in the project (the document is from half a year ago, we have now hired someone who started to work with us recently)
- the research workshops we were supposed to do now but that have been Corona-postponed
- the test workshops Elina conducted in Lancaster (UK) when she travelled there in February
- discussing what departments we are or have recruited for the research workshops (one per School at KTH)
- discussing upcoming project presentations (including what exactly to say)
- project proposals for a project course (one group chose to work with us)
- a slide presentation with thesis opportunities (for master's and bachelor's theses students) (ten students are working with us in 5 pairs)
- another slide presentation (pitch for students in a project course) (three groups chose to work with us)
- there's also a folder that contains all our FLIGHT-related google documents

There are certainly more documents, but these are the most important shared documents. To keep track of everything I have a personal "document of documents" with links to everything (se image below). Every time I create a new google document, I also create a link to the new document in my document of documents. I'm unfortunately not equally good at removing old links (the document is currently 25 pages long).

My to-do list with links to all my Google documents

When I write a paper together with one or several coauthors, we usually start with one or more brainstorming sessions (preferably with a whiteboard nearby). Later on we look for the "main argument" of the paper and start to structure the idea(s) in a Google document. We then use a shared Google document to write the paper and end that process by transferring the text to the asked-for format of the conference or journal in question. My new PhD student, Aksel, only started to work with us recently, but has already (multiple times) suggested we should use Overleaf for final formatting work - and preferably also to use if from start to finish when we write papers. It's a hard sell since we have worked with Google docs for years and years and by now have fine-tuned structures and practices according to the affordances and limitations of Google docs. I suggested that when he eventually takes on the responsibility of being the first author of an article, he will have extended possibilities to decide how we will work (e.g. what tools we should use for that "writing project"). So far, so good.

And then there's the ACM new-and-improved format guides about what papers should look like. I'm not sure they are better than previous format guides - but they are for sure more complicated (on top of the previous also being complicated). So we had a deadline for submitting a paper this past Friday and I was the first author of that paper. Aksel convinced me we should "pour" the text from our Google document into Overleaf instad of Microsoft Word and I accepted the challenge since Aksel's suggestion also came with an offer for a one-hour private lesson on how to use Overleaf. I have in fact used Overleaf before (some), but I have to say the one-hour just-in-time lesson was a game changer. It was enough to get me going and for me to manage to do most of the job myself (Aksel later checked in to fix some things I didn't know how to easily manage, like placement of images and formatting of a table). So what's the verdict? Well, I have to say I'm impressed by the level of control you can have over what a document will looks like when you use Overleaf. Although I of course still have much to learn (Overleaf is very powerful), the level of control that you can have over the tiniest of details appeals to me as a control freak. I'm however even more impressed by the smooth integration between Overleaf and (in this case) the ACM reference format guide, as well as by Overleaf's handling of references.

I don't yet know if this will affect how we go about to write papers, but I suspect we might never again use Microsoft Word for final formatting and for other tasks that are related to the appearance of a document. I honestly don't know why I haven't switched earlier. Overleaf's power comes from (left in the image below) being able to work either with Rich Text (which very much looks like any document in any word processor) or directly with the source (running text + codes for describing the appearance of that text) - and then on the fly being able to generate a pdf of what a final version of the text would looks like (right in the image below). You can thus repeatedly experiment with code and generate a new pdf on the fly to see what the results will look like. It's not WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get), but what you loose in interactivity you gain in sheer control over every detail of the text's appearance.

Two examples (see image below):
1) keeping global average temperature \emph{“well below 2°C”} specifies that "well below 2°C" should be emphasized (in italics).
2) \section{From Moore’s law to the Carbon Law} specifies that "From Moore’s law to the Carbon Law" should follow the ACM rules for what a header should look like - and as an author I don't really have to care what exactly they look like (right image)

View in Overleaf. Source code to the left and final appearance to the right.


söndag 5 april 2020

My first Zoom lecture

Recreation of my distance lecture set-up (I had a shirt when I gave the real lecture). My new beard is a device for measuring (Corona quarantine) time. 

This past week I held my first Zoom lecture. I've given many lectures over the years and I've had many meetings over Zoom and Skype, but this was the first time I combined these two things. KTH transformed itself and went online with all its teaching in less than a week (I wrote about it recently), but I don't teach any courses during this period (2nd half of the spring), so I haven't had to deal much with this personally and on a practical level. I do meet 16 students who work in pairs writing their bachelor's theses every week over Zoom (group 1, group 2), but that't about it.

I was invited almost half a year ago to give a guest lecture about sustainability and computing to all undergraduate students in the Electrical Engineering programme in their "program integrating course". That's 200+ students - definitely a handful. I usually lecture to fewer students, but then again, it doesn't make much of a difference in Zoom as the delivery channel will look the same no matter how many students there are.

A complicating factor though is that my computer hard drive crashed two months ago and while I have pdf files of my lecture slides, I lost quite a few powerpoint slides and had to painstakingly recreate them. For all of these reasons I was a bit nervous and spent a lot of time putting together a slide deck and thinking about how a lecture through Zoom would differ from an ordinary lecture and what I should do about it.

After having held the lecture I have to say that it was ok (but probably not more than that). There were 200+ studentens "present" and the responsible teacher, James, was hosted the Zoom meeting and gave a short introduction. I was a guest lecturer and James controlled the technical aspects of the lecture so that I could concentrate on just talking/delivering the lecture. I encouraged the students to ask questions and asked James to monitor the Zoom chat channel and interrupt me if relevant and interesting questions would turn up. James muted all students so it was in fact only he who had the authority to interrupt me as I gave the lecture. I also didn't want to see the chat channel when I talked as it could be distracting. I think this was a good setup but despite the fact that there were 200+ students, there weren't a lot of questions. At least not until the break (we had a break in the middles just as in real lecture). I suggested students could use the break to pose questions (in the chat channel) and spent the break answering them in writing. I also took another 10 minutes to answer questions that were posed in the chat when we reconvened for the second half of the lecture.

I had two screens when I gave the talk; I had a pdf presentation with slides on my smaller (laptop) screen that I shared with the students through Zoom. On my second, external screen I had the Zoom interface (mostly an image of myself) and lecture notes. I also connected to the lecture through my smartphone. That way I could also be a participant and see exactly what the students saw. I still managed to start talking after the break without remembering to put on screen sharing again (until I was reminded).

All in all it was ok, but I would definitely have preferred to have met the students in a classroom (lecture hall). It was for example much harder to encourage the students to ask questions over Zoom that in a lecture hall. Perhaps that didn't matter much in this case as I had many slides and much to talk about, but still, it would probably have been better had I talked a tad bit less (and a bit slower) and allowed more time for questions. My take-away lessons to me a as lecturer (not limited to to the Zoom experience) are:

- I have realized I have a different and probably better attitude to giving a 10- or a 20-minute talk about a research paper than about giving a 90-minute lecture to students. For some reason I feel that I want to cram as much as possible into the lecture - which is very different from how I think about a shorter talk. If I give a short talk based on a research paper, I have realized (and internalized) that there is no way I can convey everything that is in the paper and everything that is relevant about the the paper - so the function of the talk is to whet the appetite of the audience and convince some (as many as possible) to actually pick up the paper and read it. Perhaps this would be a more productive attitude towards a lecture too, e.g. I can not convey everything there is to convey so how can I say something that makes the students interested in learning more?
- I have a lot more to say about "the problem" that I have to say about "solutions". That's partly because the problem is huge and it's not clear that proposed "solutions" will actually "solve" the problem. But still, if this is a guest lecture I think I should perhaps have as much to say about "solutions" (not "the solution" though) as I have to say about the problem. This is something for me to think about for future lectures.

Addendum (April 13). My union publishes has a website and a magazine, "Universitetsläraren" [The University Teacher]. There's a Swedish-language article from March 26, "Corona forces higher education institutions to digitalize at lightening speed". The Swedish Government held a press conference on March 17 where they recommended that higher education institutions (HEIs) should move all eduction online from the following day(!) and the article describes the efforts of moving everything online as "stressful" but also as a success story. It seems many HEIs have decided to use Zoom and in another article, "Capacity and use of Zoom multiplied in a week", some statistics are presented. From a few thousand simultaneous users and one million minutes per week, Zoom use during the week of The Great Transition increased to 60 000 simultaneous users and 15 million minutes in a week. To manage the onslaught, Zoom immediately bought capacity from Amazon Web Services' recently opened data center in Stockholm. The prognosis is that there will be 100 000 simultaneous users so Sunet (that delivers data services to Swedish HEIs) increased the capacity to 250 000 simultaneous users just to be on the safe side.

What I think is interesting is that Zoom and online education to a substantial extent are described as life-savers. I therefore think it's interesting that also critical perspectives are voiced. I always like to turn things around and I'm intellectually attracted to paradoxes and dilemmas. And so I have recently come to realize that if we didn't have Zoom, I doubt the Swedish Government would have closed all higher education institutions from one day to the other (as well as all high schools in Sweden). Students and teachers do not generally belong to Corona virus "risk groups" (those who do would of course have to stay home) and there are around 400 000 students and 75 000 employees at Swedish HEIs. If these students' exams would be delayed (while still handing out student loans and paying for employees' salaries), the decision to close down everything would have been considerably harder. Close to half a million students and employees are equivalent to almost 10% of the total Swedish workforce...

This also makes me wonder if one reason that societies have closed down (quarantine and all that) is that the comfortable middle class has cushy jobs that can be handled remotely. The working class still have to show up to make society run (water, sanitation, trash, transports, food, public transportation, daycare, schools, care for the elderly etc.), but a large part of the middle class can manage their jobs while being holed up at home. Perhaps that's the most important reason societies can and have shut down and why it's considered an ideal to stay at home? You could imagine that in some other time and place, stay-at-homers would be seen as cowards who scurry to be the first to leave a (possibly) sinking ship to (historically speaking) "head for their countryside villas" while everyone else has to stay in the city and endure the plague.

Finally, here's an even more critical exchange about higher education Corona distance education adaptations between two US professors I know:

Professor 1: One version of the story of the last couple of weeks has been how much upheaval organizations and institutions have gone through in order to switch to a virtual mode. But another is how smoothly they have mobilized ways of working in which they had already trained us. If we believe that education is simply "content", then the mode of its delivery becomes a matter of little concern. When work has already become casualized and virtualized, then the question of where it happens or who does it becomes immaterial. It's interesting to view platforms like Zoom not as tools being pressed into service to meet new circumstances, but as mechanisms that have been standing ready for the dissolution of the workplace all along.

Professor 2: I think it breaks apart the institutions as well. If you don’t have to be at the workplace then you could be working for anyone. It’s a step toward the gig economy for anyone who could work from home. It’s the breaking of the album into singles. It’s the home theater release of new movies. It’s arxiv, instead of journals. The university can just be a collection of outsourced services once there is a fluid market for faculty. Adjuncting on steroids.

Professor 1: The university becomes a logistics organization, coordinating deliveries. [...] the costs of the university are so easily moved onto the individual. In the same way that Uber relies on people to pay for the maintenance of their vehicles, the university is now relying on me to maintain the infrastructure by which I teach -- power, tech, networking, etc. They'll pay for my webcam but they ain't gonna pay for my network service

Perhaps the "success story" of moving online is no success story at all for students and university teachers?