The year is 2050. The revolution has been televised. It’s a Monday morning. The start of the work week. Your self-driving electric automobile hovers in your driveway. Ready to take you to your office. What this place of work looks like and what you do there can only be imagined, as you began your education and career in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. In the era that saw the human workforce sparring with artificial intelligence, its friend and sole nemesis.
Rewind to approximately thirty years earlier than this, to understand how this future you live in is not an alternate reality or distorted parallel universe. Look at how the decisions that you made with your education and career have prepared you for failure and success in a world that is becoming increasingly mechanized and operated by artificial intelligence (AI).
AI is something that we live with daily and is operating in so many aspects of our lives, that we may not realise it. AI stalks your timelines, smartphones and online activity with the purpose of better understanding how you operate. What motivates and interests you culminates in volumizing big data. Data that feeds AI with the intention to innovate technology for a unique personalised user experience of gadgets and applications in your daily life. How is this data being used to your benefit, besides Google setting up notifications about your personal life and making recommendations for hashtags or restaurants on your behalf?
We cannot sit idly as AI begins to take control of our cognitive processes and even relationships. Humans need to adapt and develop themselves at the same speed that AI operates, to maintain control of the science and ensure its expansion is to our benefit and not our detriment. How does one ensure that future generations of humans are well prepared for a coded future?
This form of action would be required through early interventions in the way we educate children. However, the trend in most education systems is maintaining the status quo and upholding tradition. There is little difference between the curriculum of the 1970’s in comparison to 2018, but, the changes in the world that children of the 1970’s and the children of Generation Z live with are enormous and unimaginable. Yet, there are schools that still operate on industrial revolution era models.
Educators and governments need to fervently take this knowledge into account and rapidly adapt how and what we teach children to keep them leaps ahead of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Early interventions in adapting the education system to a changing and globalised world can be set by the introduction of academic curricula that places an emphasis on teaching technology and innovation, through all spheres of the academic process.
Imparting twenty first century skills in students such as critical thinking and digital literacy, which are some of the skills required to keep up to date with technology, can positively contribute to innovation in whatever field a student may pursue or choose to operate in. Education needs to prepare children to be drivers of innovations and not just consumers.
To teach primary school students’ skills such as basic coding or programming, may lay a solid foundation that prepares them for a futuristic and revolutionised world. This will teach children relevant skills and adequately mould their education for a digital future.
A focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths) subjects should be implemented to properly prepare students for university entrance that will avail a wider choice of career opportunities. It should be emphasised from foundational phases of education that an emphasis on teaching STEM will prepare children for a future in which mechanisation, automation of industry and AI will ultimately take over certain jobs. Children from emerging markets need to acquire critical skills to remain competitive and boost the economies of their homelands, to remain competitive in this globalised world.
A report from Techrepublic.com found that “Oxford University researchers estimate that 47% of all current US employment is at high risk to become automated over the next decade or so…But there is positive news: Of the 1.8 million jobs AI will get rid of, the emerging field will create 2.3 million by 2020, according to a recent report from Gartner. And a recent Capgemini report found that 83% of companies using AI say the technology is already adding jobs.”
These findings quickly dismiss the notion that AI will be to the detriment of the workforce globally and result in massive job displacement. AI will create jobs and allow for the growth of technological innovation, only if students are adequately trained and prepared for this.
In looking at employment trends and high paying jobs, STEM careers dominate the lists of top jobs for graduates. Top career paths that come from STEM qualifications are monopolised by engineering majors with petroleum, chemical, nuclear, computer science, electrical, aerospace, materials science, and electronics and communications engineering amongst the top ten. In addition, actuaries and physicists are amongst the non-engineering careers in the top ten. STEM qualifications comprise of 90% of the top fifty jobs based on research from collegechoice.net.
Where do these facts leave the average student making career choices, who perhaps did not take these subjects at school, was ill prepared for them, or lacked interest in them?
Surely they are not doomed to a fate of poverty and banished from the capital to live out their days in the impoverished districts of the world. As trends within AI and industrialisation show that technology generally replaces jobs that require muscle or manual labour. Therefore, AI cannot take over every aspect of the workforce.
Research shows that jobs that AI cannot replace, for now, are marketing and public relations managers, writers, human resource management, editors and graphic designers. Basically, anything that cannot be swallowed up by the IOT (Internet of Things) and does not necessarily require it for performance.
Students and graduates of this era need to carefully consider how their academic choices will establish the type of future they have. It is the critical role of parents, educators and governments to ensure that students are adequately guided and properly prepared to contribute to the global economy in careers that are not fanciful but are necessary for the future growth, development and survival of the world. Ultimately students need to be aware of the impact that their academic choices will place on their future success in this calculated world.
Article by: Lisa Kolwa
Cranfield has been appointed as the lead for a new university in Milton Keynes
Currently known as MK:U, the university will be developed in partnership with business and prepare students for the future world of work. It is estimated that around 5,000 students will eventually study at MK:U, with the first cohort arriving in 2023.
Cranfield's educational, technological and industrial partners on MK:U include Grant Thornton, MK College, Microsoft and Tech Mahindra.
The university will be designed as an education institution for the 21st century, delivering a distinctive STEM-focused (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) undergraduate curriculum in key areas including digital, cyber, autonomy, robotics and artificial intelligence. In each of the university's key areas of focus, there will be a lead business partner.
find out more
*Information provided by our trusted partner Cranfield University. For full article click here