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Synergistic Emerging Technologies And Exponential Change: Implications For Engineering Education

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

ASEE Multimedia Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.1049.1 - 7.1049.6



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Paper Authors

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Kip Nygren

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

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Session 2793

Synergistic Emerging Technologies and Exponential Change: Implications for Engineering Education

COL Kip P. Nygren Professor, U.S. Military Academy

Abstract Change is coming, it is coming faster than nearly everyone expects, and it cannot be stopped. The only sensible response is to enthusiastically embrace change and use it to advantage to improve overall organizational effectiveness. The synergistic blending of Nanoscale Engineering, Genetic Engineering and Robotics/Artificial Intelligence has the potential to change society in revolutionary ways. Correspondingly, these technologies will also profoundly change the nature of engineering education with the advent of computers that exceed the processing capability of the human brain, high quality virtual reality, and molecular manufacturing, among other possibilities. Equally unsettling for many is the notion that technological progress is advancing exponentially and, therefore, the pace of change is increasing. Education is the best possible solution for successfully responding to accelerating technological change and engineering education programs are particularly well suited to inspire this response. Engineering programs must set the example for students and society by becoming “learning organizations” and by embracing a process of continual transformation to successfully cope with accelerating technological change.


The explosion of information technology during the last decade of the 20 th Century provided a glimpse of the speed and magnitude of the revolutionary technological changes that will profoundly transform society during the first two decades of the 21 st Century. As overall technological progress advances faster than nearly everyone expects, the rate of advance will only continue to increase in the future. How should institutions of higher education and engineering education in particular respond to the rapid changes in the society surrounding them?

The only rational response is to enthusiastically embrace change and use it to leverage improvements in the overall higher education process, because if higher education does not change, other educational systems and processes will step in to make current institutions of higher education irrelevant in the future. Paradoxically, education is the only means to prepare both individuals and organizations to successfully adapt to the fast pace of change in the world, but our institutions of higher education seem slow to practice what they profess.

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright Ó 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Nygren, K. (2002, June), Synergistic Emerging Technologies And Exponential Change: Implications For Engineering Education Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--11086

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