Education must transform to make people ready for AI — from ft.com by Jo Owen
Schools will need to teach know-how, not know-what

Excerpts:

A recent study by Oxford university estimates that nearly half of all jobs in the US are at risk from automation and computers in the next 20 years. While advancing technologies have been endangering jobs since the start of the Industrial Revolution, this time it is not just manual posts: artificial intelligence — the so-called fourth industrial revolution — promises to change the shape of professional work as well.

For instance, lawtech is already proving adept at sorting and analysing legal documents far faster and more cheaply than junior lawyers can. Similarly, routine tasks in accounting are succumbing to AI at the expense of more junior staff.

 

The next generation will need a new set of skills to survive, let alone thrive, in an AI world. Literacy, numeracy, science and languages are all important, but they share one thing in common: computers are going to be far better than humans at processing these forms of explicit knowledge. The risk is that the education system will be churning out humans who are no more than second-rate computers, so if the focus of education continues to be on transferring explicit knowledge across the generations, we will be in trouble.

The AI challenge is not just about educating more AI and computer experts, although that is important. It is also about building skills that AI cannot emulate. These are essential human skills such as teamwork, leadership, listening, staying positive, dealing with people and managing crises and conflict.

 

Evaluation and league tables are a barrier to success — you get what you measure in education as much as you do in business.

 

From DSC:
“Teamwork, leadership, listening, staying positive, dealing with people and managing crises and conflict.” Do our standardized tests measure these types of things? No, I agree with you. They don’t. They measure “know-what skills.”

 

“We are doubling down on the idea that if we get children to know things and regurgitate them in a certain way in an exam, then we are setting them up for success in life.”

Tom Ravenscroft

 

 

 

 


Also see:


 

Capitalism that Works for Everyone — from gettingsmart.com by Tom Vander Ark

Excerpts:

Inequality Gets Worse From Here
Our new report on the future of work and learning illustrated how the combination of artificial intelligence, big data and enabling technologies like robotics are changing the employment landscape fast.

Our new paper on the future of work and learning suggests a couple solutions…

 

Ask About AI: The Future of Learning and Work — from gettingsmart.com by Tom Vander Ark

Excerpts:

Code that learns may prove to be the most important invention in human history. But in 2016, there was almost no discussion of the implications of artificial intelligence (AI) in K-12 education—either the immense implications for the employment landscape or the exciting potential to improve learning.

We spent two years studying the implications of AI and concluded that machine intelligence turbocharged by big data and enabling technologies like robotics is the most significant change force facing humanity. Given enormous benefits and challenges we’re just beginning to understand, we believe it is an important time to Ask About AI (#AskAboutAI).

After interviewing experts, hosting a dozen community conversations, and posting more than 50 articles we’re summarizing what we’ve learned in a new paper Ask About AI: The Future of Learning and Work.

The paper explores what’s happening in the automation economy, the civic and social implications, and how to prepare ourselves and our children for exponential change.

With this launch we’re also launching a new microsite on Future of Work.

 

 

 

 

To initiate lifelong learning, secondary schools should encourage students to be reflect on how they learn, and build habits of success. There are an increasing number of organizations interested in being lifelong learning partners for students—college alumni associations, professional schools and private marketplaces among them.

Self-directed learning is most powerfully driven by a sense of purpose. In our study of Millennial employment, Generation Do It Yourself, we learned that it is critical for young people to develop a sense of purpose before attending college to avoid the new worst-case scenario—racking up college debt and dropping out. A sense of purpose can be developed around a talent or issue, or their intersection; both can be cultivated by a robust guidance system.

We’ve been teaching digital literacy for two decades, but what’s new is that we all need to appreciate that algorithms curate every screen we see. As smart machines augment our capabilities, they will increasingly influence our perceptions, opportunities and decisions. That means that to self- and social awareness, we’ll soon need to add AI awareness.

Taken together, these skills and dispositions create a sense of agency—the ability to take ownership of learning, grow through effort and work with other people in order to do the learning you need to do.

 

 

 

 

McKinsey: automation may wipe out 1/3 of America’s workforce by 2030 — from axios.com by Steve LeVine

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

In a new study that is optimistic about automation yet stark in its appraisal of the challenge ahead, McKinsey says massive government intervention will be required to hold societies together against the ravages of labor disruption over the next 13 years. Up to 800 million people—including a third of the work force in the U.S. and Germany—will be made jobless by 2030, the study says.

The bottom line: The economy of most countries will eventually replace the lost jobs, the study says, but many of the unemployed will need considerable help to shift to new work, and salaries could continue to flatline. “It’s a Marshall Plan size of task,” Michael Chui, lead author of the McKinsey report, tells Axios.

In the eight-month study, the McKinsey Global Institute, the firm’s think tank, found that almost half of those thrown out of work—375 million people, comprising 14% of the global work force—will have to find entirely new occupations, since their old one will either no longer exist or need far fewer workers. Chinese will have the highest such absolute numbers—100 million people changing occupations, or 12% of the country’s 2030 work force.

I asked Chui what surprised him the most of the findings. “The degree of transition that needs to happen over time is a real eye opener,” he said.

 

The transition compares to the U.S. shift from a largely agricultural to an industrial-services economy in the early 1900s forward. But this time, it’s not young people leaving farms, but mid-career workers who need new skills.

 

 

From DSC:
Higher education — and likely (strictly) vocational training outside of higher ed — is simply not ready for this! MAJOR reinvention will be necessary, and as soon as 2018 according to Forrester Research. 

One of the key values that institutions of traditional higher education can bring to the table is to help people through this gut wrenching transition — identifying which jobs are going to last for the next 5-10+ years and which ones won’t, and then be about the work of preparing the necessary programs quickly enough to meet the demands of the new economy.

Students/entrepreneurs out there, they say you should look around to see where the needs are and then develop products and/or services to meet those needs. Well, here you go!

 

 

 

As a member of the International Education Committee, at edX we are extremely aware of the changing nature of work and jobs. It is predicted that 50 percent of current jobs will disappear by 2030.

Anant Agarwal, CEO and Founder of edX, and Professor of
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT
(source)

 

 

 

Addendum:

Automation threatens 800 million jobs, but technology could still save us, says report — from theverge.com by James Vincent
New analysis says governments need to act now to help a labor force in flux

Excerpt:

A new report predicts that by 2030, as many as 800 million jobs could be lost worldwide to automation. The study, compiled by the McKinsey Global Institute, says that advances in AI and robotics will have a drastic effect on everyday working lives, comparable to the shift away from agricultural societies during the Industrial Revolution. In the US alone, between 39 and 73 million jobs stand to be automated — making up around a third of the total workforce.

 

If a computer can do one-third of your job, what happens next? Do you get trained to take on new tasks, or does your boss fire you, or some of your colleagues? What if you just get a pay cut instead? Do you have the money to retrain, or will you be forced to take the hit in living standards?

 

 

A game to help students pay the right price for college — from nytimes.com by Ron Lieber

Excerpt:

In the last big economic downturn, back when Tim Ranzetta was in the student loan analysis and consulting business and working with colleges, borrowers often found their way to him, too.

There would be tears. And he would get off the phone with the same frustration each time over how little the people who actually use them know about student loans.

Starting this week, he has a new tool in what has become a yearslong campaign to fill that gap: a free, interactive, web-based game called Payback. In playing, students see running totals of their debt but can also track academic focus, the connections they’re making that could be useful later and their overall happiness — crucial factors in actually finishing college and graduating with a job that can help them repay their debt.

 

Also see:

 

 

 

 

AI: Embracing the promises and realities — from the Allegis Group

Excerpts:

What will that future be? When it comes to jobs, the tea leaves are indecipherable as analysts grapple with emerging technologies, new fields of work, and skills that have yet to be conceived. The only certainty is
that jobs will change. Consider the conflicting predictions put forth by the analyst community:

  • According to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, only 5-10% of labor would be displaced by intelligent automation, and new job creation will offset losses.  (Inserted comment from DSC: Hmmm. ONLY 5-10%!? What?! That’s huge! And don’t count on the majority of those people becoming experts in robotics, algorithms, big data, AI, etc.)
  • The World Economic Forum27 said in 2016 that 60% of children entering school today will work in jobs that do not yet exist.
  • 47% of all American job functions could be automated within 20 years, according to the Oxford Martin School on Economics in a 2013 report.
  • In 2016, a KPMG study estimated that 100 million global knowledge workers could be affected by robotic process automation by 2025.

Despite the conflicting views, most analysts agree on one thing: big change is coming. Venture Capitalist David Vandergrift has some words of advice: “Anyone not planning to retire in the next 20 years should be paying pretty close attention to what’s going on in the realm of AI. The supplanting (of jobs) will not happen overnight: the trend over the next couple of decades is going to be towards more and more automation.”30

While analysts may not agree on the timing of AI’s development in the economy, many companies are already seeing its impact on key areas of talent and business strategy. AI is replacing jobs, changing traditional roles, applying pressure on knowledge workers, creating new fields of work, and raising the demand for certain skills.

 

 

 

 

 

The emphasis on learning is a key change from previous decades and rounds of automation. Advanced AI is, or will soon be, capable of displacing a very wide range of labor, far beyond the repetitive, low-skill functions traditionally thought to be at risk from automation. In many cases, the pressure on knowledge workers has already begun.

 

 

 

 

Regardless of industry, however, AI is a real challenge to today’s way of thinking about work, value, and talent scarcity. AI will expand and eventually force many human knowledge workers to reinvent their roles to address issues that machines cannot process. At the same time, AI will create a new demand for skills to guide its growth and development. These emerging areas of expertise will likely be technical or knowledge-intensive fields. In the near term, the competition for workers in these areas may change how companies focus their talent strategies.

 

 

 

 

Psalm 100

A psalm. For giving grateful praise.

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
    come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he who made us, and we are his;
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.

 

 

25 Reasons to Give Thanks for Teachers — from gettingsmart.com by Mary Ryerse

 

 

 

From DSC:
Personally speaking, I am very grateful for teachers! They are amazing people who have to put up with a lot of different challenges/things.  I appreciate their knowledge, expertise, hard work, caring, and willingness to serve our youth.

 

 

 

How Blockchain Could Help Emerging Markets Leap Ahead — from hbr.org by Vinay Gupta and Rob Knight

Excerpt:

Much has been made of the potential for blockchain technologies to open up new vistas for business and society. But is there a way for this revolutionary technology to empower the rich and poor alike? We argue that, like previous revolutionary ideas, blockchain has the potential to help developing nations leapfrog more-developed economies.

Leapfrogging — using the lack of existing infrastructure as an opportunity to adopt the most advanced methods — has been a highly effective strategy for developing nations over the last few decades. The most visible example of leapfrogging today is in nations like Kenya and South Africa, which have rolled out near-universal telephone access using 3G networks instead of laying down copper cables, and provided internet access by smartphone rather than with desktop PCs. But it’s not just physical infrastructure that can be leapfrogged.

One of the 20th century’s most celebrated examples of leapfrogging happened in Japan, when the country recovered from the ravages of World War II by embracing sophisticated new manufacturing techniques.

 

Blockchains can also address the most pressing needs of developing-world governments: the modernization and digitization of government functions. The current world leader in blockchain adoption is Dubai, and there is much in Dubai’s approach that could be adopted by developing world nations. The Dubai Blockchain Strategy (disclosure: Vinay is the designer) envisions moving all government documents — more than 100 million documents per year — onto a blockchain by 2020, creating a new platform for innovation and huge cost savings.

 

Because it was explicitly designed to function in an environment where participants cannot necessarily trust each other, blockchain technology is extremely secure. Records held on a blockchain database are immune to being tampered with by third parties, and can thus be authoritative. Smart contracts can provide automatic and predictable execution, again removing the ability for third parties to subvert agreed-upon processes. The benefits for a developing economy are clear: There’s less potential for fraud and corruption, trade becomes more efficient and less costly, government becomes more effective, and local technology hubs can form to build out the infrastructure and export the knowledge gained.

 

Educational records, business histories, health care information, and credit ratings could all be made usable the world over, helping those who want to trade or travel to prove their credentials. Anybody who has ever paid too much for a college transcript or tried to clear a shadow on their credit score can see how systems like this would be helpful in our daily lives.

 

Also see:

Dubai Blockchain Strategy — from smartdubai.ae

Excerpt:

Required documentation, such as visa applications, bill payments and license renewals, which account for over 100 million documents each year, will be transacted digitally under the new strategy. Blockchain technology would contribute savings of up to 114 MTons CO2 emissions from trip reductions, and redistribute up to 25.1 million hours of economic productivity in saved document processing time.

 

 

 



And from another perspective — from Forrester’s 2018 predictions document
Blockchain is a story of rational exuberance. Blockchain promises to fully enable bold platform and ecosystem strategies while defending against increasing cybersecurity threats. And that extraordinary promise is, in part, the problem. The exuberance for blockchain hindered progress in 2017:

  1. Marketers oversold blockchain.
  2. Teams ran narrow tests that delivered underwhelming results against high expectations.
  3. Teams applied blockchain-like approaches to problems that they could have solved with existing technologies.

Eighty percent of projects failed to meet expectations.

In 2018, the combination of rhetoric and enthusiasm will continue to limit blockchain gains. However, 30% of proofs of concept will accelerate blockchain for those companies able to consider its operational impact.

 



 

Addendum on 11/21/17:

 

 

 

 

The Ivory Tower Can’t Keep Ignoring Tech — from nytimes.com by Cathy O’Neil

Excerpt:

We need academia to step up to fill in the gaps in our collective understanding about the new role of technology in shaping our lives. We need robust research on hiring algorithms that seem to filter out people with mental health disorders, sentencing algorithms that fail twice as often for black defendants as for white defendants, statistically flawed public teacher assessments or oppressive scheduling algorithms. And we need research to ensure that the same mistakes aren’t made again and again. It’s absolutely within the abilities of academic research to study such examples and to push against the most obvious statistical, ethical or constitutional failures and dedicate serious intellectual energy to finding solutions. And whereas professional technologists working at private companies are not in a position to critique their own work, academics theoretically enjoy much more freedom of inquiry.

 

 

There is essentially no distinct field of academic study that takes seriously the responsibility of understanding and critiquing the role of technology — and specifically, the algorithms that are responsible for so many decisions — in our lives.

 

 

There’s one solution for the short term. We urgently need an academic institute focused on algorithmic accountability. First, it should provide a comprehensive ethical training for future engineers and data scientists at the undergraduate and graduate levels, with case studies taken from real-world algorithms that are choosing the winners from the losers. Lecturers from humanities, social sciences and philosophy departments should weigh in.

 

 

 

Somewhat related:

 

 

 

Updating Education for the Evolving Job Market: Learning at the Pace of Life and Work — from huffingtonpost.com by Sophie Wade

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

A technology-stimulated, connected, and accelerated marketplace is generating different roles and additional skills requirements for us as workers. The traditional model of completing our lifelong education needs before we enter the workforce is now obsolete. On-the-job experience must now be supplemented as business and technological requirements evolve significantly and rapidly. Compelling new multilevel learning options are emerging to cater to the new necessity of updating important knowledge and capabilities at work. Many new offerings are online and modular in order to be accessible and flexible, giving labor force participants greater opportunity to remain relevant and competitive.

Since the beginning of the Industrial Era, evolution typically occurred from generation to generation. New developments were adopted by incoming cohorts, adding to and then replacing well-established workers’ existing practices of which could be phased out gradually. However, the exponential pace that is characteristic of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is requiring modifications to be absorbed and adapted within a generation accompanied by frequent incremental updates and revisions. Innovative learning models and modules that target incoming and existing working populations are being built out to respond to business-related requirements as new fields, disciplines, and roles appear and are established.

I talked to Anant Agarwal, CEO and Founder of edX, and Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT about the situation for new workforce entrants and the future education of workers. He spoke of what he called “MOOC 2.0” as the next phase of evolution of this high-profile MOOC (Massively Open Online Course) platform and the strategic rationale and content of edX’s new MicroMasters program offerings.

 

 

As a member of the International Education Committee, at edX we are extremely aware of the changing nature of work and jobs. It is predicted that 50 percent of current jobs will disappear by 2030.

Anant Agarwal, CEO and Founder of edX, and
Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT

 

From DSC:
We are moving towards providing up-to-date, relevant “streams of content” (which will in many cases represent unbundled content/courses). Mark my words, that’s the future that we’re heading for — and the future that we’ll need to successfully adapt to the new, exponential pace of change. Organizations offering such streams will be providing a valuable service in terms identifying, presenting, curating the most relevant, up-to-date content.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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