John Hagel Co-Chairman of the Deloitte Center for the Edge, author of “The Only Sustainable Edge”, ” Net Worth”, and “Net Gain”, wrote a great piece for Wired Magazine entitled “Here’s How to Keep the Robots From Stealing Our Jobs“. It’s another important exhibit in the case for reformulating the mission of schools. One of it’s key points: companies develop ever better ‘scripts’ to maximize the efficiency of their workforces. And workers whose work is ‘scriptable’ “have bullseyes on their backs: Machines, after all, are far more predictable than humans (and far less demanding to boot)”.
No matter how we reenvision the future of work one thing should now be abundantly clear: there will be ever fewer opportunities for human beings who can only perform repetitive manual labor, remember factoids, or perform routine intellectual functions.
But the more pressing question today is what must we do today to prepare today’s children for the economic opportunities of tomorrow? What kind of jobs will exist for humans? What should today’s children learn in order to be ready to compete for jobs with tomorrow’s computers and robots? In what kinds of ‘knowledge work’ jobs will humans still be able to out-perform the ROI advantages of machines? In what kinds of manual labor jobs will humans out-perform machines?
In any long view, everything depends on how well we educate our children. Today’s young children will become adults in a world profoundly unlike any world any human being has ever lived in. They are growing up in a world in which the rate of change, the complexity of change, and the implications of change are far beyond our ability to reliably predict. What should children learn in order to be prepared for life and work in a future we can no longer envision? How do we prepare children for a future in which how well they learn – in ways and about things we can’t teach them in school – will determine their success? Obviously there is much we must teach them, but just as obviously, there is nothing more important to their futures than how well they can learn when they get there.
What is the mission of education? It begins with:
“We can no longer assume that what we think children should learn is more important than how well they can learn.”
I posted a variation of the above as a comment on the Wired piece. If you agree with me, follow this link and ‘like’ my comment to push it up into greater consideration. THANKS
For more see: the Challenge of Change
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