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What will Humans Do in the Artificially Intelligent World

Aditya Singhal

Artificial Intelligence is already a part of our world – even if we don’t realise it: Google Maps shows us the fastest routes to and from work; Commercial airlines have been using (AI-powered) autopilots since 1914! Gmail successfully fillers 99.9% of spam we receive with the help of AI technology. Contributor Aditya Singhal, co-founder – Transtutors.

Self-driving cars and teaching assistants may be a wonder to us, but for the kids today, they have always existed. They are already using Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems and very soon, they might see AI and robots eating up jobs that have traditionally existed for us.

Hence, it is high time that we make necessary changes in the curricula right from the elementary school level to the tertiary education level to make sure that our next generation is equipped with skills that can help them rule the AI world.

Programming and coding will be needed big time. Other major skills that will help ‘humans’ find a job in the AI world will undoubtedly be the ones that make us humane in the first place, such as: Adaptability; Creativity; Ethics; Interpersonal Skills, Problem-solving Ability and Team Work etc.

The good news is that many US districts are already adopting the inquiry-based or project-based learning at the K-8 level. Christine, an academic assignment help provider, shares, “Team collaboration is becoming more and more important when it comes to complete school assignment these days. Kids who come to me for guidance now not only ask me how to write an essay or report but also how to deploy work in teams, and how to track the status of a particular task in their work process without being too intrusive. These are the skills they will need for the future.”

What changes do we need in our School Curricula?
Many people emphasize on ‘coding’ to make our kids future-ready. Coding is an essential skill. Even today, we are facing a shortage of programmers. In the future, it can help our kids get jobs.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that the computer and information technology (IT) occupations will grow at a rate of 13% from 2016 to 2026 – much faster than many other professions. The highest demand will be for experts in: Cloud Computing; Big Data (Acquisition, Storage, and Analysis); Information Security.

Forcing coding on young kids might not be the right thing to do. ‘Snap!’ and ‘Scratch’ might be useful for young kids if they enjoy it, but such skills can always be picked later. Grade 9 seems to be the right time to introduce a basic programming course to kids. At the elementary level, however, Computer Science needs to gain the same momentum as Reading, Writing, Math, Arts, and Sciences.

A Google and Gallup survey in 2016 showed that 40% US schools already offer CS classes that include programming and coding. 60% schools offer at least one CS course, and 76% schools offer CS learning opportunities to their students through classes, student clubs, or as after-school activities.

Engineering intelligence into systems requires a diversified workforce. Teaching computer science at the high school level will encourage women and minorities to join the field – and prepare them for the jobs of the future too. It is also important to upgrade the programming skills being taught in schools. Coding is a creative activity, and there are several ways to make programming fun and exciting. The Girl Scouts in New York City run a program were girls use Javascript to create beautiful videos. We can learn from such programs.

Some of the electives that high schools should introduce are: Computational Art; Computational Mathl Robotics etc.

Top 3 Skills Kids will need in the AI World
Sensemaking is a crucial leadership skill. Deborah Ancona, Director of the MIT Leadership Center at the MIT Sloan School of Management, shares in her article ‘The Elements of Good Leadership‘:

“Executives today need to let go of their archaic mental models and core assumptions. They should have the ability to make sense of the complex business environment which is changing rapidly. They need to take in data from a variety of sources and conduct small experiments to make informed decisions for their organization.”

Social Intelligence
Siri, the Apple’s virtual assistant, is tactful, charming, and witty. Ask it  “What are you wearing?” and it smartly replies, “I can’t answer that. But it doesn’t come off.” We need to remember that Siri just uses a few tricks taught to it by the programmers to come up with such responses. Machines and robots, no matter how socially adept they are, do not ‘feel’. Socially intelligent people, who can assess the emotions of people around them and use appropriate words, tone, and gestures to win them over, will be highly valued in the future too.

Adaptive Thinking
As the ‘manual labour’ kind of jobs decline, future graduates will need ‘situational adaptability’ as one of the key skills to make a place in the future workforce. It means they must be able to assess their environment, identify its opportunities and challenges, and come up with creative, original, and innovative solutions. Leaders of tomorrow will need to be curious, collaborate with each other, and learn continuously.

The Institute for the Future mentions several other skills that next generation needs to be prepared for. It counts: cross-cultural competency, new media literacy, computational thinking, ability to understand concepts that span across multiple disciplines, ability to develop tasks and work processes to achieve desired outcomes, ability to use tools and techniques to filter required information and optimize cognitive functioning, and virtual collaboration as some of the other key skills of the future. NOW is the time to teach and train our kids in these skills and help them survive and thrive in the future.

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