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How to Educate for an AI World

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How to Educate for an AI World

Today the unemployment rate is low – but many of the unemployed are mismatched for the skills needed and jobs unfulfilled.

Current education is not meeting employers’ needs. This will become a more serious problem as automation inevitably takes over a large spectrum of jobs, including those done at least partially by many categories of knowledge workers.

How must the focus of our education change in order to meet needs of both employers and workers now and in the future that is coming sooner than we may realize? This is a question that affects not only the young generations, but also people of all ages and generations who want to stay relevant and continue to work. Pew Research Center, together with Elon University, surveyed 1,408 people working in technology and education for their thoughts and suggestions. Here are some notable ones as reported in the New York Times by Claire Cain Miller (May 4, 2017)

  • In school, the most important thing people can learn is how to learn. Then they will have to become continuous learners.
  • Learning special skills will occur on the job. (Uta Russman, professor of Communications, FHWein University of Applied Sciences, Vienna). Employers will value apprenticeships and on-demand trainings at workplaces.
  • Traits that machines can’t easily replicate – such as creativity, emotional intelligence, critical thinking, collaboration and adaptability – will have to be taught in schools, not an easy task. Already employers have been complaining that current young workers lack these traits and skills.
  • “Many of the ‘skills’ that will be needed are similar to personality characteristics like curiosity or social skills that require enculturation to take hold.” (Stowe Boyd, managing director, Another Voice)
  • Residential colleges and in-person classes are more valuable than ever as jobs relatively safe (for now) from automation require higher education and skills fostered by living with other students… ”Close proximity stimulates real compassion, empathy, vulnerability and social emotional Intelligence.” (Frank Elavsky, data and policy analyst at Acumen.
  • Resumes will be less important than portfolios of work which demonstrate skills.
  • People will have to take initiative to find their own professional and career development rather than expect employers to provide it. They will need to figure out what they need for their goals and seek out certificates, badges and online courses.
  • and maybe the most unexpected quandary for the future…
  • “The question isn’t how to train people for nonexistent jobs. It’s how to share wealth in a world where we don’t need most people to work.” (Nathaniel Borenstein, chief scientist at Mimecast).
     

 This deserves a serious and compelling conversation. Let’s start it now!

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