Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Bosses believe your work skills will soon be useless. (Theirs will be fine, thanks.)

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Danielle Pacquette reports in the Washington Post:

Nearly a third of business leaders and technology analysts express “no confidence” that education and job training in the United States will evolve rapidly enough to match the next decade’s labor market demands, a new report from the Pew Research Center finds.

About 30 percent of the executives, hiring managers, college professors and automation researchers who responded to the Pew survey felt future prospects looked bleak, anticipating that firms would encounter more trouble finding workers with their desired skill sets over the next decade.

“Barring a neuroscience advance that enables us to embed knowledge and skills directly into brain tissue and muscle formation, there will be no quantum leap in our ability to ‘up-skill’ people,” wrote Andrew Walls, managing vice president at Gartner, an IT consulting firm.

“Seriously? You’re asking about the workforce of the future?” added another respondent, a science editor who asked to stay anonymous. “As if there’s going to be one?”

Lee Rainie, Pew’s director of Internet, science and technology research, the study’s co-author, helped canvass, reaching out to 8,000 decision makers in Pew’s database. About 1,400 responded, and many of those told the researchers they were bracing for machines to transform the ways humans work — sometimes in unpredictable ways.

“People are wrestling with this basic metaphysical question: What are humans good for?” he said. “It’s important to figure that out because this blended world of machines and humans is already upon us and it’s going to accelerate.”

Most of the business and technology professionals expected new training programs to emerge, both at schools and on the private market, to better prepare the future labor force. But 30 percent of the 1,408 respondents doubted such a quick transformation could take place. They felt, according to the report, that “adaptation in teaching environments will not be sufficient to prepare workers for future jobs.”

Jerry Michalski, the founder at REX, a technology think tank in Portland, Ore., feared public schools and universities aren’t keeping up with changes in the economy.

“They take too long to teach impractical skills,” he wrote, “and knowledge not connected to the real world.”

“I’m skeptical that educational and training programs can keep pace with technology,” added Thomas Claburn, editor-at-large at Information Week, a news site. . . .

Continue reading.

I’m quite interested in what Jerry Michalski considers to be “impractical skills and knowledge not connected to the real world.” I imagine Esperanto is in there (even though Esperanto is totally practical as a propaedeutic foreign language (the language you learn first so that the next language is learned better and more easily). I fear he is throwing out the liberal arts and focusing solely on vocational education. That may work to produce docile workers, but one of the requirements in a democracy is that people be educated for their role as citizens, and that goes beyond vocational and occupational knowledge. If you don’t see that citizens are educated for their civic duty, you end up with a government run by people such as Donald Trump.

This problem—the mass destruction of jobs due to automation (as we bring autonomous vehicles and AI on-line)—reminds me of climate change: it’s going to be a true disaster, but it won’t hit really hard for a few years, so it seems as though too many (citizens, government officials, businesses, schools and colleges, churches, and so on) are thinking (somehow) that we’ll cross that bridge when we get to do and are doing absolutely nothing to get ready for this.

I imagine the same mindset was seen at the onset of the Industrial Revolution. It’s as though people cannot face a situation until it smashes into their face.

Update: See also:

Apple-Picking Robot Prepares to Compete for Farm Jobs

Where Automation Poses the Biggest Threat to American Jobs

From the second:

The authors estimate that almost all large American metropolitan areas may lose more than 55 percent of their current jobs because of automation in the next two decades. “We felt it was really stunning, since we are underestimating the probability of automation,” said Johannes Moenius, the director of the Institute for Spatial Economic Analysis at the University of Redlands, which prepared the report. . . .

Moenius and colleagues used a widely cited 2013 study from Oxford University predicting which of roughly 700 common jobs are most susceptible to automation, and then mapped out which metropolitan areas have a high share of those jobs. That study, by the economists Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osborne, suggested that 47 percent of total U.S. employment is at risk of automation over the next decade or two; they found that telemarketers, insurance underwriters and appraisers, tax preparers, and cashiers were some of the most likely to see their jobs threatened by automation, while the livelihoods of mental-health and substance-abuse social workers, oral surgeons, choreographers, and physicians were more protected.

So what is the plan for those whose jobs are lost and their families? We’re going to wait until it happens and then try to figure out what to do?

Written by LeisureGuy

3 May 2017 at 12:24 pm

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