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Preparing Young People To Take Their Place In The AI Revolution: Rethinking Education And Work

Artificial Intelligence Apr 30, 2024 9:00:00 AM Jamie Bykov-Brett 4 min read

Preparing Young People To Take Their Place In The Ai Revolution: Rethinking Education And Work

As we dive into a future filled with Artificial Intelligence (AI), it's really important that we help young people get ready for a world where AI is omnipresent. Reflecting on my own experiences and what I discussed in a TEDx talk in 2015, the predictions I made about AI and automation are unfolding right now. Our schools were established to cater to a very different economy – one that prepared individuals for an industrial workforce. However, we're currently in the midst of a digital revolution, and our educational institutions haven't kept pace. They are not alone in this regard; our political institutions were initially set up to govern farmers and then retrofitted for managing industry but were never designed to regulate our rapidly evolving digital world.

In the industrial workplace people filled the gaps in machine capability but as our digital capabilities have advanced, we’ve reached a point where machines ‘machine’ better than people do, so people need to ‘people’ better than machines. We need to make some huge changes to help young people learn skills that machines can't do better than humans.

The world of technology is changing so fast, and it's not just about who has the latest gadgets anymore. It's about understanding how to use this technology in ways that really matter. We've got a massive gap between people who can use technology to make their lives better and those who can't. And as we move more into a world run by AI, this gap could get even wider. We used to worry about people not having access to technology, but now we also need to make sure they know how to use it meaningfully.

Technology can do so many things that used to need a human touch. But as machines start doing more of these tasks, we have to ask ourselves: What does this mean for human labour in the workforce? How do we prepare young people for a world underpinned by AI where so much work can be done autonomously by computer?

When organisations I consult for inquire whether a task could be performed by AI, I pose three questions:

  • Is the task repetitive?
  • Does it involve significant amount of text?
  • Or, is it a task that an intern could manage?

If the answer to any of these questions is a ‘yes’, then AI is well-equipped to undertake the task.

Truthfully, from my perspective, this encompasses approximately 90% of entry-level jobs, I would even argue that these same questions if applied to the acquisition of human labour, essentially results in job description. This situation serves as a critical wake-up call for us to prioritise the teaching of skills that are inherently human and cannot be easily emulated by AI.

Even though technology is changing a lot of things, what makes us human – things like our creativity, our ability to care for others, and our resilience – are more important than ever. These are the qualities that we need to build in the next generation. But it's not just about learning how to use new tools. We need to teach young people how to think critically, solve problems, and understand the ethical issues that come with AI.

Teachers play a huge role in this, but they need to know more about the changing world of work to help students prepare for it. The old idea that you go to school, maybe go to university, and then get a good job doesn't really work the same way anymore. Especially when it comes to jobs that aren't about teaching.

Young people today know that the promises made to previous generations don't apply to them in the same way. They're aware that no matter how hard they work, some things like owning a home or starting a family might be out of reach for them, unlike for their parents. This is a big shift in how people think about work and life.

So, what we're talking about here isn't just about adding new subjects to school. It's about completely changing how we think about education, work, and how we all contribute to society. We need everyone – teachers, parents, politicians, and companies – to come together and figure out how to make sure everyone is ready for a world where AI is a big part of our lives. We're not just getting kids ready for jobs; we're preparing them to be citizens of a world that's more connected and digital than ever before.

It's clear that the journey toward a future intertwined with AI is not only about integrating new technologies but fundamentally rethinking the purpose of education, the nature of work, and how we contribute to society. We must collectively strive to ensure that every young person is not just prepared but excited to navigate a world where AI shapes every aspect of life. To change everything, we need everyone, especially if we are going to create an inclusive, forward-thinking, and human-centric future. It's time for action — to rethink our approach, empower our youth with the skills of tomorrow, and ensure that in a world dominated by technology, humanity's most valuable traits flourish. Let's not wait for the future to shape us; instead, let's shape the future for the betterment of all.

Jamie Bykov-Brett

Listed as one of Engatica's World's Top 200 Business & Technology Innovators Jamie is a Social Entrepreneur, Digital Innovation Specialist, Metaverse & Web3 Advisor, Workshop Facilitator & Futurist Educator. His niche is developing people, implementing innovative technology solutions and the fundamental intersection where that expertise meets.