Note: Click on any word on this page (and click it again) to experience the Online Learning Support Net (OLSN).


The other night I received a call from the cable company. The voice explained that it was calling about an appointment I had scheduled and asked whether I wanted to keep the appointment, cancel, or reschedule it. After saying I wanted to keep it, the voice asked me if I or someone over 18 would be home for the technician. When I said I would be home, the voice thanked me and wished me goodnight.

As soon I heard the voice I knew that I was talking to a robot. But interestingly, the reason I knew it was a robot was not the sound of its words – they were pronounced perfectly. It was the robotic ways it used words that tipped me off.



Imagine the kinds of conversations we will be having when the processing power is millions of times, much less a billion times, more powerful. Not just on the phone, through any medium, at any time, about anything (televisions, tablets, cars, smart appliances, clothing – everything we regularly interact with that can be made into a sufficiently profitable application of machine intelligence).

As the machines get ever better at performing like humans, what kinds of jobs and careers will they take over?  In the past few decades robotic assembly lines have replaced millions of factory workers and computers have had an even more profound effect on office jobs. What human skills will be in demand in 15 or 20 years from now when the machines are a million times more cost-competitive at performing what are, today, exclusively human jobs?

What kind of jobs will be left for humans as the machines become unimaginably more ubiquitous and pervasive?

Remember, Google couldn’t predict Facebook. (2023 addendum – see “Critical Mislearnings: Corporations

Now, how do we help prepare today’s children to be ready for the kind of world that is coming?

What kinds of job skills will be in demand a couple of decades from now? How do we educate children to be ready to thrive and compete in the world that is coming?

For more see: The Challenge of Change

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