Artificial Intelligence (or “AI”) = Changing Workforce & Increased Uncertainty
AI is becoming more prevalent and will impact more jobs in the future, especially the ones our children will be in. Invest today for a future full of endless possibilities.
A day doesn’t go by where I don’t see some reference to Artificial Intelligence (AI) or robots automating tasks and having an impact on the future of work. While it’s predicted that automation and AI will impact tasks for virtually every job, as IBM’s Ginni Rometty has stated, the actual impact on workers will vary greatly. While automation is generally good as it increases efficiency it also creates uncertainty today and even more in the future.
We’ve seen some “ticket seller” and “cashier” jobs disappear first through movement to online sales and more recently with the introduction of kiosks in physical stores. Increasingly, large chains such as Home Depot, McDonalds, Cineplex, Tim Hortons have made more of an effort to funnel customers down this path. And, I am sure many of you have read about Amazon’s big push with Amazon Go, which is a cashier-less store that aims to transform the retail and customer experience by 2021. While it may be many years before all these jobs disappear completely, the pool of available jobs will continue to shrink.
Robots and AI are also changing entry-level (and many mid-level) jobs in various professional career streams that range from financial analysts, junior accountants, junior lawyers, journalists, medics and many more.
- Entry-level financial analysts and accountants that once helped enter and compile data for analysis is being increasingly replaced with automation. Computers are actually better and faster at analyzing data and spotting patterns and anomalies which will increasingly squeeze the number of mid-level positions.
- Along a similar line of thinking, positions in the medical field will also be impacted. Computers are good at taking samples and readings (heart rate, breathing, blood analysis, and more) and subsequently making treatment decisions based on algorithms. Soon, it will be more common for patients to have wearable devices with medicine dispensed based on continuous basis determined by their condition in the moment. Insulin pumps are a good example of this.
- Even the legal profession is not immune. Legal positions will be impacted as AI is increasingly used to reduce human labor in routine contract development or the Discovery phase of a lawsuit where lawyers review and decide on which documents are relevant in a case. Much of this was done by junior lawyers.
- News and sports reports are now being compiled by computers which is a threat to positions in media and journalism.
No job is immune. Artificial intelligence and robotics will impact all jobs in some form or another
A.I. Expert, Kai Fu Lee, Says Automation Could Replace 40% of Jobs in 15 Years
For those of us that are in our 30-50s it means keeping pace with the changes by building new skills and knowledge to navigate the changing job market until retirement. For those that want to excel, it means fully and rapidly embracing these new technologies and pivoting to become the go-to expert at your company. Don’t just follow…lead!
For our children, the challenge is a very different one. They need to play the long-game where the workforce landscape is much more uncertain and the stakes are much higher. Further, as they enter the workforce over the next 10, 15, or 20 years many of the entry-level jobs that I referenced above may not exist. And, the challenge thereby becomes how does one secure their first job where the level of experience and knowledge required in a particular field has increased significantly?
Almost a year ago now, I introduced our Mission which is: “we help kids develop 21st century skills to be better prepared for a future full of endless possibilities”. At the same time, we introduced the Envision Learning Framework, shown below, which is our approach to helping kids build the necessary skills to adapt, pivot, and lead in an uncertain future.
For those of you that have spoken with me, or, are enrolled in one of our programs, you know that my curriculum is in service of our Learning Framework and Mission. We are teaching kids STEM, mainly using robotics, coding, and now 3D design and 3D printing. These are all very valuable skills, especially in light of how rapidly work is being transformed. And, earlier and increased expose to these technologies will only help to build the competitive edge that your child is going to need.
At the top of the pyramid, are what are call the “21st Century” skills. While some frameworks have a different list of 21st century skills, there are 4 areas which are critical. These are:
- Collaboration and teamwork
- Creativity and imagination
- Critical thinking
- Problem solving
I’ll be the first to tell you that these skills are not new. They have been around for a very long time. However, these will be skills your child will need in the future. Our curriculum places an equal emphasis on development of these skills. However, the approach is a little more subtle. We don’t always call out that we are going to develop “teamwork” or our “imagination” skills today. But rest assured each lesson has a focus on development of two or more of these skills and others.
The key to long-term success for our children will be to establish what I call a “balanced platform” from which they can build upon, fortify, and shape over time. Their balanced platform will be comprised of skills and knowledge from each of the 3 “gears” or component areas of our Learning Framework. Merely excelling in one area will not ensure success. A balanced approach is critical.
Kudos to the parents that have recognized the need help their child build new skills in areas like robotics and coding, while strengthening STEM and 21st century skills outside of the classroom. Our children have a long journey ahead of them in one of the most exciting times in history! Let’s give them the best chance of succeeding in a highly competitive and uncertain world.
Invest today for a future full of endless possibilities.
Envision Robotics, based in Thornhill (Ontario) offers a STEM-based classes, March Break camps,PA day camps and Summer camps using robotics, coding, 3D design & 3D printing, and other advanced technologies. Our programs bring together STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) concepts, which are typically taught as separate disciplines, into an integrated Learning Framework.