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Preparing for the AI Revolution in 2024 and Beyond - A Thought or Two for Parents, Educators, and Policymakers

Updated: Jan 2



In today's rapidly evolving world, the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) has garnered significant attention from economists, experts, and individuals across various industries. As we look to the future, it becomes increasingly important for parents, teachers, and educational policymakers to understand the profound impact that AI will have on the job market and the skills that will be in demand during the fourth and fifth industrial revolutions.

Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich and Moody's Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi share valuable insights into the AI revolution - https://www.msn.com/en-us/video/news/top-economists-talk-winners-and-losers-of-the-ai-revolution/vi-AA1lnJO6?ocid=socialshare&t=70. Reich warns us that AI's reach extends beyond manufacturing jobs, potentially affecting workers in the knowledge economy. Zandi offers a more measured perspective, suggesting that AI's impact on the job market will unfold gradually over an extended period. These perspectives underline the urgency of preparing our students for the rapidly changing employment landscape.


On the other hand, because the popularity of STEM subjects has surged recently as students seek to enhance their employability in the ever-changing job landscape, and AI's rapid advancement is reshaping the skillset required for the workforce, rendering some tasks and roles obsolete in the process, Christopher Pissarides, a Nobel Prize-winning labor market economist at the London School of Economics, also provides essential insights. Pissarides caution younger generations against exclusively pursuing STEM subjects, emphasizing the importance of empathetic and creative skills - https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/nobel-prize-winner-cautions-on-rush-into-stem-after-rise-of-ai/ar-AA1mlvML?ocid=socialshare&pc=SCOOBE&cvid=4846e172c8ea427595e325111d7348a8&ei=15. He points out that despite the growing demand for STEM skills, certain jobs requiring traditional face-to-face skills, such as those in hospitality and healthcare, will continue to dominate the job market as illustrated on the graph above. Job projection for workers in the U.K. working in human health and social work industries is higher compared to professional scientific and technical workforce from the following time period, 2020 - 2023. Although the duration of the impact is not reflected from the graph data above, but one can deduct from the data above that Job prospect for workers in the human health and social work industries looks promising. Although, one could argue that comparing the impact of AI in U.K. workforce is not a fair comparison to workforce here in the U.S. True! However, it is prudent and worth noting the impact of AI to the world workforce since 2020. Moreover, Pissarides highlights a crucial aspect of the AI revolution. For example, the skills needed to collect, collate, and develop AI data will continually evolve. AI will also take on these tasks as it becomes more capable, potentially making some STEM skills obsolete.


In the long term, Pissarides asserts that managerial, creative, and empathetic skills, including communication, customer service, and healthcare, will remain in high demand. These skills are inherently human and less susceptible to replacement by technology, especially AI. Pissarides encourages us to view jobs that involve personal care, communication, and nurturing social relationships with respect and value. He suggests that these roles represent a significant portion of the future job market and should not be underestimated. These jobs may offer fulfilling and meaningful opportunities that surpass the employment prospects of previous generations.


Considering Pissarides' insights, it is clear that a balanced education that includes both STEM knowledge and essential human-centric skills is vital for preparing students to thrive in a world where AI plays an increasingly prominent role.


As educators, our moral responsibility extends beyond teaching scientific and STEM concepts alone. We must equip our students with the skills and knowledge they need to thrive in the job market of the 21st and 22nd centuries. This involves providing them with an understanding of AI and its implications and guiding them towards a diverse range of job options.


To conclude, parents, teachers, and policymakers in education, let us remain forward-thinking, continuously adapt our educational approaches, and collaborate across sectors to harness the potential of AI for the benefit of all. By fostering a holistic education that combines technological literacy with empathy, creativity, and adaptability, we can equip our students to navigate the evolving landscape of the AI revolution successfully.


Here are key takeaways and recommendations to consider:


  1. Job Prospects and Data: Parents, teachers, and policymakers should stay informed about job projections, patterns, and the changing job market landscape. Encourage students to pursue careers that align with their interests and aptitudes while considering AI's potential impact on those fields.

  2. Diverse Skillsets: While the demand for STEM skills is currently high, it's essential to recognize that AI could disrupt STEM jobs in the long run. Therefore, students should also be exposed to and encouraged to consider traditional face-to-face skills like those needed in hospitality and healthcare, as these sectors will likely remain resilient to AI disruption.

  3. Managerial, Creative, and Empathetic Skills: We must reexamine and emphasize the importance of long-term job opportunities that rely on skills like communication, customer service, and healthcare, which are less susceptible to automation. These skills will remain in high demand because they involve human-centric qualities that AI cannot replicate.

  4. Equity and Fairness: Not everyone will benefit equally from the AI revolution. Therefore, we must address the potential for income and wealth inequality and advocate for policies broadly affected by AI's benefits.

  5. Collaborative Efforts: We must recognize and accept the fact that AI's impact extends beyond the classroom. Therefore, collaboration between the public sector, NGOs, corporations, and academia must be crucial in shaping policies and practices that promote economic growth and societal well-being.

  6. Ethical Considerations: We must engage our children and students in discussions about the ethical challenges posed by AI, including privacy, data usage, and sustainability. There must be an emphasis on encouraging critical thinking and pursuing AI solutions that align with societal values and goals.

  7. Balanced Innovation: Finally, it is about striking a balance at the end. Therefore, while we encourage innovation, we must ensure that AI developments align with broader societal needs and goals rather than mere growth for its own sake.

 

Authored By Ayo Olufade, edited with the use of AI.

 

Think STEM Careers! You Have the Opportunity to Create the Future and The Privilege of Deciding What’s in It! ~ Dr. Ayo Olufade, PhD

 

Excel in Learning. Excel in Life.

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