Future of Globalization

How Is Digitalization Changing the Future of Work?

What do impending job losses mean for our societies? And how do we integrate artificial intelligence into our education system?

Credit: luckey_sun www.flickr.com

Takeaways


  • What do impending job losses mean for our societies? And how do we integrate artificial intelligence into our education system?
  • A debate about the big picture of the future of human beings in the hybrid world is inevitable. And yet, we try very hard to avoid it.
  • Our traditional school system hardly prepares the young generation for the upcoming hybrid age. How do people “graduate” from an education system when future jobs are no longer predefined?
  • We should think of the three types of education, the Homo sapiens (the knower), the homo faber (the creator) and the homo ludens (the creative).

Jill Watson works at Georgia Tech since 2016. She answers the students’ questions quickly and efficiently.

For the students, this reaction time seemed strange at first. After their exams, they learned that Jill is a chatbot. Jill will not replace all the teaching assistants, but a response system for MOOCs, the so-called Massive Open Online Courses, can be supported with her.

The linguistic analysis of legal texts characterizes the daily work of many lawyers. The arrival of Kira on the legal scene may not represent the end of lawyers, but marks a definite change in their job profile. Kira is an artificial intelligence tool. It learns while analyzing texts — and learns and learns.

As one of the first law schools in the United States, Yale teaches Data Analytics. The course, which prepares young lawyers for the use of digital technology, is titled “AI, Robotics, and Law.” Those who study law should enrol in the course to escape their own potential expiration date.

Cooperative robots

There will also be more cooperative robots like Baxter. Baxter smiles and collaborates in the workplace with his human colleagues. Does he take their job away? Probably. But there will also be new ones arriving on the job market.

Magic Leap One is an example. If one puts on the virtual reality glasses, data appear on the screen comparable to the laptop and the phone. They are projected onto the inside of the glasses, and in the background, the real-world shines through the glass. Soon, the pictured objects will even become tangible. This digital world needs to be designed and programmed. That requires specialists with a design and IT focus.

However, the new technologies, digital or not, also raise many questions about the “how?” For example, do we want to use CRISPR-CAS to design babies with a math gene so that they are fit for the future?

A debate about the big picture of the future of human beings in the hybrid world is inevitable. And yet, we try very hard to avoid it.

But that future, whether we like it or not, is already with us. Just consider the existence of Facebook’s content moderators who, based in Manila, clean the social network every day in 10-hour shifts according to an algorithm known only by Facebook.

These moderators delete content with a mouse click. What seems like a “clean” method runs counter to the general idea of the freedom of speech and of a democracy in which there is no censorship, especially not one executed by private companies.

What is Otto doing with the two million U.S. truckers?

On the way to the future, we also must think as a community: In the US, Uber recently bought Otto, the driverless truck. What happens to the two million U.S. truckers now? A big social problem is before us, if those affected have no alternatives.

Singapore has begun to convert its financial hubs into a fintech system, fully expecting that jobs will have an expiration date. That means that traditional banking houses are made more effective through digital financial innovations. It also says that fintech-startups are developing entirely new bank models. At the same time, investments are being made in the startup scene, to stay ahead of the curve in the restructuring of banks and jobs.

By contrast, our traditional school system hardly prepares the young generation for the upcoming hybrid age. How do people “graduate” from an education system when future jobs are no longer predefined? It will work by making education more personalized.

PeTeL works at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot. The abbreviation stands for Personalized Teaching and Learning. The system collects data about what students in the classroom know and what they do not know. PeTel, therefore, allows individual teaching.

What does this mean for our education systems? First and foremost, we must be aware that we will need a different mix in the future. In the future, we will have to individually weigh the elements of classical university education, from formal education courses and maker spaces.

We should think of the three types of education, the Homo sapiens (the knower), the homo faber (the creator) and the homo ludens (the creative). The last type will be the important one: Free thinking and creativity are crucial characteristics. Because the machines can do one thing much better than us: They can always work. We humans need to sleep and eat. What is unique about us is only our creativity.

Governments need to prepare

For that reason, it is imperative that governments develop ideas and the tools to help their societies shape the coming changes. In the education sector, public-private partnerships are available that empower society to face up to these challenges.

These bring new technologies directly into the classroom, resulting in the immediate adaptation of the transfer of knowledge and skills. It is important to educate. We must talk about it because many still do not know how fast the technologies are developing.

In addition, inside all our educational institutions, we need to explore what future we want to live in and how we want to shape it.

To be prepared for this future, a special burden rests on governments. Rather than putting their heads in the hand, or scaremongering, or facilely soothsaying the future, they must be very active in disseminating the knowledge we are developing very openly and widely. Otherwise, we will be ill-prepared for the future.

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About Denise Feldner

Denise Feldner is a lawyer and technology expert based in Berlin. She works in international law and analyzes the impact of digital technology on the modern state and society.

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