Imagine a world where the future jobs only require you to think creatively and make decisions while robots and AI do the work for you. Is such a future as far away as flying cars? Not really. Check out OpenAI’s API which writes for you after giving it a text prompt. Oh, and it also wrote a complete article all by itself which you can read here 🙂
With such powerful technologies already present, how do the future jobs look like for our kids? What future skills would they require?
Future Technologies of Future Jobs
The emergence of the digital workforce is changing the way future work is turning out to be. A digital workforce is basically a software program (or AI program) that does tasks, jobs, and activities in the background in place of a human. Companies can now separate routine tasks to such programs and enable us to focus on creativity and critical thinking.
Today, technology has not only given rise to working online but also made the hiring process completely online. Sending emails or letters to apply for a job is no longer the standard process. Companies are looking at social media and other platforms and using AI algorithms to find their new employee with the latest digital skills and this would only evolve for future careers.
With IoT being widely used in smart homes, we are going to see smart buildings around us. Smart buildings can intelligently control the temperature and lighting of the environment, have efficient elevator/lift management, can count footfall, etc. They can also relay information such as “building health” which helps with easier maintenance of the building and provides the best experience to the people.
With such a prevalence of digital technology in future jobs, it will not be a surprise when companies post new job descriptions with future skills for the same role posted today. It is necessary that kids today have digital skills that will help them in their future work.
Current Trends of AI Programs Adding to Jobs
When we think of robots or AI in the workplace, we think of them doing menial or repetitive tasks. They were built to take over physical work or enhance logistics in production or even automate tasks. Things are changing now. While robots continue to perform pre-defined tasks, AI has started to contribute to the decision making process.
The medical field is one prime example where AI is contributing to decision making. AI can detect early signs of dangerous diseases like cancer and provide suggested actions for doctors to treat it. The corporate world is also using big data and AI to analyse and predict the best marketing and financial strategies, give the best customer experience, etc.
AI is also being used in security. An everyday example of this would be the metal detectors seen in malls and airports. Previously, the metal detector beeped even if you had a coin in your pocket but now, it knows you have metal implants in your body and does not raise an alarm. They are also used in cybersecurity to prevent and treat cyber attacks. AI has evolved to “decide” what poses a threat and what does not.
What does this mean for future jobs? This means that we can focus on actions, preventive measures and decisions a lot more; we’ll have to bring out our best critical thinking skills and acquire new future skills for our future career.
So now we know robots are doing their own pre-defined tasks while AI is being integrated into everything. What happens to future jobs when AI and Robots merge?
Future of Work with AI and Robots
Contrary to the belief that they will replace jobs, AI and robots would, as a matter of fact, create more job opportunities; and in places where they don’t, they will at least change the way existing jobs are.
Musicians now also have to distribute their music through social media and gauge the reception through “shares and likes”. Journalists and reporters have to maintain and update reports and news stories regularly on an hourly basis on various platforms. Content writers should now also be skilled in search engine optimization.
Even in the manufacturing industry, newer machines require people to learn skills to handle these new machines. They supervise the robots in the factories and aren’t being replaced.
This is because the new tools, machines and technologies are designed with a human-centric approach. They are made to work with humans and not work in place of humans.
This is why the future work will change and evolve with AI and robotics and would require us to gain a new set of future skills as future careers evolve.
Future Sectors That Will See the Biggest Change
Until now, we have learnt how future jobs would be and how AI and robots would add to jobs. Now, let’s look at some of the sectors that will see the biggest change in the coming years-
- The Transport Industry: This will see huge changes because of the development and commercialisation of autonomous vehicles. It will see a surge in AI developers for self-driving cars, lawmakers will see how to bring in new regulations for self-driving cars and investors will see huge financial incentives.
- The Manufacturing Industry: They have already been using robots for a while and will further advance with the use of AI. Anything which requires pure manual work will be heavily automated.
- The Medical Field: Robot-assisted surgeries are being adopted. There have been stories of robotic surgeons outperforming human doctors in terms of stitching – which is a classic doctor skill. Even remote surgeries are being carried out where a doctor operates a machine in another room.
There can be more such examples and all of this means the world will need more students of STEM who are well versed in AI and robotics and learn the necessary future skills to be relevant in their future careers.
Role of Education in Preparing Kids for the Future Jobs and Skills
When we talk about the future, especially the future of work, we often miss the fact that preparing kids for said future should start from today. One of the best ways for this to happen is for the current education system to bring in subjects, modules or curriculums that cater to the future.
In India, AI and coding education is being introduced by various government initiatives such as the AI Step-Up Module, Atal Tinkering Labs and NEP 2020. Other countries like the USA, China, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, Australia and Qatar are also introducing coding and STEM education into their curriculums.
The education sector in India has seen a rapid increase in demand for teachers with digital skills. This is owed to the pandemic forcing schools and colleges to conduct classes online. Some institutions across the world have also enabled foreign students to apply for degrees by studying through online classes. This shows that even educators are also equipping themselves with digital skills to prepare students for their future careers.
We at STEMpedia have always been a beacon to equip today’s kids with the necessary future skills like AI and coding with our interactive courses, fun DIY projects and STEM and AI curriculums. Kids can learn and develop AI-based projects with PictoBlox – an AI education platform with a graphical programming interface – by learning to use AI features such as speech recognition, text recognition and face detection.
Our flagship competition, Codeavour 2020 AI, also enables students and schools to learn and bring in AI innovations to solve real-world problems and develop critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication – the four C’s of the 21st-century skills.
In a Nutshell
The idea of AI and robots replacing jobs seems like an emotional response which isn’t grounded by reality or facts. As discussed above, the future will either bring in new job opportunities or at least evolve the current ones; and the future jobs will require the latest set of digital skills and future skills such as critical thinking, decision making, social intelligence and creativity.
We are still at the beginning of this, and there is definitely a revolution going on in terms of AI and robotics incorporated into the future work; they are going to make the biggest differences in terms of what’s helping our jobs like augmenting the work environment. We always thought about Man vs Machine, but now it’s turning out to be Man with Machine.