Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo
Today's post starts with something that teachers and schools are grappling with in the developed world right - technology addiction.
1. Tech. addiction and digital distraction is becoming a real challenge for teachers and schools. There also appears to be a growing number of critics of big tech. companies' tactics in targeting young people with these distractions, with former employees of tech. companies coming together to fight the 'addiction crisis' with a 'Truth About Tech' campaign.
They argue that tech. companies are basically exploiting a loophole in human psychology to hook children on technology when they have not yet developed developed the internal locus of control required to resist it. Over years of technology use, companies can identify users' online habits, likes and dislikes to understand and then target individuals' unique addictions - far more effectively and more insidiously than tobacco companies ever did. As long as the online and technology space continues to be unregulated, we can expect the tactics and targeting of young people to continue and become more sophisticated.
How do we prepare children for this reality? How do we open their eyes to it and view this issue thoughtfully and objectively? How do we help them self-regulate?
Any job that operates in this way is at risk, as the line above is essentially how code works while telling AI and robots what to do. In this article from https://futurism.com, various experts are asked to take a best guess about who will likely suffer the most due to automation. Each approaches the question from their own perspective, but common themes emerge: routine manual and cognitive tasks, and any high repetition, low value process is at risk. A position involving complex, higher-order thinking, customised services, high social and emotional intelligence and real-time iterative problem diagnosis and solving is safe (for now).
From the article:
"Technology is going to continue to advance, and in reality, all of us are going to have become life-long learners, constantly upgrading our skills. The most important skills to have will be knowing how to be highly efficient at iterative learning — “unlearning and relearning” — and develop high emotional and social intelligence."
Life-long learning, unlearning and relearning, emotional and social intelligence. Are these skills, attitudes and intelligences part of how we currently learn in school?
3. Two interesting articles via http://www.exponentialview.co/ about the effects of AI and automation on jobs. The first is from qz.com, which shares how Deutsche Bank is replacing many of its back office functions with AI as part of a restructure. The second is a https://www.nytimes.com photo essay about how repetitive warehouse tasks at Amazon are now being done by robots, and how human jobs have changed as a result. There are some interesting perspectives shared, with some workers feeling that the boring tasks of the past have now been replaced with something more meaningful with responsibility - ie looking after the robots. Others state the automation has led to net job creation within the company, as improved productivity has allowed it to expand. Others believe it will start to slow in future.
Jobs are already being replaced, and as technology improves the pace will quicken. Are our education systems flexible and responsive enough to recognise what's happening? Will people and companies be prepared?
4. To finish, something quickly from ourworldindata.org. Have a look at the increase in cost of education and college expenses in the USA from 1997-2017. Young people are getting into greater debt that will stay with them for decades - to what purpose?
Does the traditional school-university-job pathway prepare students for the real world where the real jobs and opportunities will be? Is it necessary to spend all this money? Are credentials really that important? Are they still relevant? How about 5 or 10 years from now?
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