When Thanos could destroy half of the universe in just a snap of his fingers, many argued why could he not double the production of resources, food etc. in just a snap. If technology was equivalent to Thanos, the mighty power at the snap of our fingers, would it ease our lives or would it bring us to extinction?
While some argue that technology eases our work and increases our productivity, there are those who believe that with advent of technology we will have fewer jobs. Human count would not reduce and the unemployment rate would continue to increase as machines learn and rise.
We are seeing this happen across our daily lives without us realising it most of the times. On PolicyBazaar.com, almost 70% of motor insurance policies are sold by bots. HDFC Bank products such as ‘loan in 10 seconds’ are processed by machines. At travel platform Ixigo, bots handle most queries without people realising. Machines are adept at checking chances of a waitlisted ticked being confirmed, lowest fares, best time to book tickets and so on. There is an AI based robotic arm which teaches Table tennis called Forpheus. And then there’s also AI robot Sophia that once said it would like to dominate the human race. Scary?
If scientists are eventually able to build an AI machine that has the processing power of a human brain, that machine could become a programmer, an actor, a doctor. Research agencies have been working on projects that focus on using software to assemble code, by pulling from code that someone has already written. Many programmers today focus more on assembling code from resources such as StackOverflow.com, instead of re-creating code that already exists.
This process has now been automated too with the advent of Bayou, an AI program that can write codes.
Not long now when there would be bots that would take over the hot jobs of today like data scientists or business analysts. Feed in your data and the report requirements you want to visualize, and the bot would refine and prepare it accordingly.
What is all this doing to employment across globe. Long term unemployment has only risen now …in USA alone it was less than 10% back in 1950s but in 2010 it rose to 40%. According to the World Bank, by 2021, some 40 percent of jobs will be lost to AI and technology in India. A staggering 70 percent of jobs in India are already under threat from automation in the coming decade or so.
The book Human+Machine by Daughtery and Wilson focus on how the world would have a paradigm shift where human hybrid and machine roles would take over.
So how should we cope with this shift? How can we prepare our children for the future? It’s the era where skill sets matter, where being Jack of all trades is not valued but specialisations are sought. Should we then continue to remain in the education system which teaches a little of everything or should we not focus on life skills?
It is therefore mandatory that the regular education system changes and incorporates the need of the hour. Preparing children for life long learning through STEAM (Science , Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) helps them prepare for future . Basics like critical-thinking and problem-solving skills and reading should be taught as a life skill and early childhood should include simple coding games through STEM toys. There are toys which help preschoolers put in a sequence of commands for a robot to follow. Hoping the educators around the globe realize their importance in building youth for future and start evolving an education system that is forward looking rather than basking in the glory of past.
We cannot always build a future for our youth, but we can always build our youth for the future – Franklin D Roosevelt.