MOOCs are a resilience tool for being able to quickly retrain large numbers of individuals that may be displaced in economic shifts such as the increasing automation of the economy (i.e.; self-driving vehicles, machine intelligence supplanting knowledge-worker jobs). More generally MOOCS as a concept category are concerned with ‘in-habbing’ - habilitating anyone into any situation - and ultimately the next-generation of the Internet that facilitates massive online collaboration and social connectivity.
A fun science fiction idea could be artificial intelligence waking up grâce à contemporary digital environments like MOOCs, YouTube (image recognition), and high-frequency trading networks. As a MOOC instructor, the new Turing Test would be determining if your online student is a machine or a person; that is to the degree this question still matters.