The world of artificial intelligence is rapidly changing, and with these new changes, we find a rapidly developing job market. This comes as both good news and bad news as opportunities will open and other jobs become redundant.
This article is going to revolve mainly around how the future of AI will affect the world we live in. However, it’s important to take these things into consideration as we ponder what paths to help our students pursue. The world of AI is quickly integrating itself into our world. Understanding its effects will help us better prepare ourselves for the future. Understanding these new strides will help us to inoculate ourselves against becoming irrelevant as we work to pursue worthwhile education.
One way to organize how artificial intelligence will impact our future is to look at its restructuring capabilities. This will move in a couple of different directions. First, it will increase both job cuts and efficiency. We already see this occurring in places as common as Mcdonalds. My husband recently went to grab us both a burger. And instead of waiting to speak to someone, he jumped onto one of the self-service stations where he could place his order quicker and more easily. The efficiency and customer satisfaction on our part was awesome. However, we also know this comes as a blow to the labor class.
There are both positives and negatives to consider in this kind of situation. Machines can bring happier customers, easier jobs for those working behind the counter, and less human created error. These can be seen as good things for those who continue to work in this kind of industry. The only downside would be that there would be fewer people to enjoy these incoming technologies due to irrelevant jobs.
The second restructure that AI will move towards is to increase job opportunities. One Swiss think tank believes that though robots could potentially replace human employees in 75 million jobs on a global scale, robots could also create 133 million new job opportunities. This, of course, is met with both fear and skepticism about whether these new jobs will be available to those who used to do what the robots take over. This is a valid concern as we will see increased need for software developers, data analysts, and social media marketers. Someone who loses their job at Mcdonalds will not likely qualify for a job as a software developer.
An Ongoing Shift
There is going to be an ongoing, cataclysmic shift that matches those of past technological revolutions. Any kind of dig through history into past industrial revolutions will show us that these shifts are more common than we think. Though the technology differs exponentially, the principles will remain the same. In the past, we found women spending inordinate amounts of time sewing clothing for themselves as well as family. As new technology made its way around the table, we found less available jobs for seamstresses. Some would find this terrifying as we consider the fact that this swept many people of lower classes into factories where working conditions were abhorrent. However, as we continue to watch the development of technology and human labor laws, we find that the change vastly improved the quality of life for all.
There were lost jobs, uncertainty, and new challenges to try and work through. However, because of these technological advances, I, as a woman with no obscene amount of riches to inherit, found myself at school regardless where I could make my own way. My family didn’t need me on a farm, and I was free to go and get an education. I was free to find new opportunities that were far better and more diverse than what I would have received had humans put a stop to the technological advances for fear that some would lose their jobs.
Part of this shift will need to include the education and advancement of those expected to lose jobs. Accounting firms, factory, and even secretarial workers will find themselves in a more saturated market as technology consumes these roles and does a better job than a human could. Taking a look at the past and prying principles from these shifts will help us better prepare people to move forward with technology rather than get swept behind it. Yes, technology has improved the lives of millions. However, it would be cruel to turn away from those it did crush during its shifts.
To Be More Human
One of the most interesting trends I found during researching this topic was that of humanity and its true role in the job industry. Some may assume that this section will delve into how robots are becoming more “human”. I, however, actually have a different direction that I wanted to head towards.
As computers take on more and more mundane tasks, it is true that we will find smaller need for humans to come in and try to sort through information. However, there are jobs with human aspects that a robot is not to likely replace. For example, a massage therapist and photographer will find themselves with much more time to develop their arts and skills as much of their mundane tasks will be taken over. AI has the opportunity to enhance their work as automating accounting aspects and scheduling will free up their time to devote to more creative aspects of their work (aspects of their work that they probably enjoy far more).
Jobs that are more “human” in nature are only going to increase in efficiency. Not only will those providing services find their time freed up by automation, but people looking to buy more “human” services will have more time freed up as well enabling them to go and partake of these other services that are non-replaceable by computers.
This may seem like a silly concept but consider how it’s happened in the past. A woman who had to wash all the families clothing by hand found herself with hours of work; that wasn’t even including the other tasks that weren’t automated (cleaning, cooking, bringing in water for heaven’s sake). Was there any chance she could have left to go and learn to read at school? Was there any chance that she could have gone and taken the time to get a massage, attend a museum, or watch an opera in awe? No. Even with lost jobs and less financial opportunity for some, there are still so many resources available for humans to more fully enjoy life. Never in the history of the world have we had so many people able to enjoy the more artistic and nurturing aspects of life because of technology.
So How Do We Prepare?
Accept the inevitable.
A good first step would be to accept the inevitability of technology. Three times as many Americans expressed trepidation instead of excitement towards growing trends of artificial intelligence. It’s easy to be afraid when we don’t know the exact challenges that are going to occur. But they will occur regardless of the fear we experience. Accept it and move forward with it.
Nurture creativity and curiosity.
I’ve already indicated the benefits of these crucial skills in previous articles. However, there are specific implications that come with artificial intelligence. Technology will open more doors, not less, as we’ve already discussed. If students can find themselves curious enough to explore new opportunities without being pushed, they will be the ones taking hold of these opportunities rather than running away from them. If students can keep their creativity regardless of the structure of modern schooling, they will be even better off. Creativity will move them in the direction of problem-solving. And considering the fact that we are entering into an age unprecedented, it will be absolutely crucial for students to take new problems and tackle them in new ways in comparison to tackling old problems in specific procedures already dictated by teachers.
Imagine the power of a student who is given a math problem to figure out, a real, everyday kind of life math problem. Imagine the power that is given to that student when they are given the option to solve it in any way they know how. This may sound foreign and silly, but it’s crucial. You would be surprised what students can figure out on their own when they’re given room to discuss and draw pictures and solve it in any way they know how. It is when they are given rigid procedures that things can get difficult to solve and far too abstract to really grasp.
I often gave my elementary students math problems that had formulas we hadn’t covered yet. And I was always pleasantly surprised to find them figuring it out without a formula. The results were two-fold. These students found themselves with a more solid understanding of the concepts. And they found themselves practicing problem-solving on a deeper level. Our problem-solving practice desperately needs to extend beyond taking a pre-written formula and plugging in numbers. There will be no pre-written formulas for the challenges we’re going to be facing as a society as technology creeps more and more into our lives.
Creativity, curiosity, and problem solving are all human traits that are going to significantly increase your child’s chances of success in an evolving financial landscape. Help them foster these abilities in a time when our schools haven’t quite caught up to these perspectives.