The most recent Future of Jobs report by the World Economic Forum published in October predicts that by 2025 the amount of work completed by humans and machines will be equal! To put that in perspective, this is when today’s 8th graders graduate from high school. In fact, the advances in technology have been steadily increasing for years and our lived experience is in the process of radical transformation. The adoption of technology into our daily lives is astounding. Even as I write this newsletter piece using Google Docs, the artificial intelligence built into the software is correcting spelling errors and suggesting words for me to use to complete my sentence often before I even think of it.
I would bet that nearly every individual who is reading this article will purchase something through Amazon.com before the end of the calendar year. The accuracy and speed of delivery, and free shipping through Prime feeds our desire for instant gratification and saving money. Amazon wouldn’t be able to provide such service without the use of robots. Their technology includes wrist bands that instruct people where to put their hands, robotic vests worn by workers, and transport robots that deliver containers for humans to pack. By 2018 Amazon had deployed 100,000 robots, and the number has doubled in just two years to 200,000. This fascinating video provides an inside look into their “smart warehouses” where a “symphony of humans and machines work together.”
The dramatic changes in the world of work require a rethinking of how we prepare young people to live lives of fulfillment. The skills that young people need most and our approach to school must align. The World Economic Forum gathered its data for the Future of Jobs Report from surveys of Human Resource professionals around the world, a declining profession by the way. They also employed artificial intelligence to assess job opportunities posted on LinkedIn. Tasks that were identified as being important for humans in the evolving world of work include coordinating, developing, managing, advising, reasoning, decision making, communicating, and interacting.
While job destruction is happening at a rapid pace, job creation is very quickly outpacing the destruction, but this is only good news if there are people who have the skills to be successful in these new roles. The report identified analytical and innovative thinking, and complex problem solving among the most valuable skills of the future, as well as skills in self-management such as active learning, resilience, stress tolerance, and flexibility. Some call these “soft skills”. I like to call them POWER SKILLS. At Roycemore, we seek ways to ensure our students gain these skills, both in pragmatic ways and innovative ways. This is a time of exponential change, and schools need to ensure students are immersed in an environment each and every day that will maximize the talent that they possess and develop in such a way as to reach their full potential in a world that is changing before our eyes.