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Last month (June Issue) our image-smashing columnist explored how the flat world described in Tom Friedman’s best seller, The World Is Flat, might affect the world of claims. One writer even suggests allowing “self-handling” of much of the claims process, at least the “linear” parts that technology can handle. That leaves the rest of us to do the thinking parts. Additionally, some technology allows machines to think for themselves. So, what do you think?

In the 21st century’s flat world predicted by Tom Friedman, national borders will become less important, something this writer who is exploring the future believes. Friedman even cites one 19th century writer as predicting the type of international “all for one and one for all” society a flat world can create — no, not the Three Musketeers of Alexandre Dumas, but the Communist Manifesto of Marx and Engles. A workday will not be limited to only nine to five, but will function on the basis of an around-the-clock 24/7/365 cycle where what doesn’t get finished by 5 p.m. in Peoria will be completed by 10 a.m. in Kuala Lumpur and be back on the desk by 8 a.m. in Peoria. The bulk of business will be intangible, existing in cyberspace where computers do all the grunt work. Corporations will be international, and everyone will reap the profits. Well, maybe. Maybe not….

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