How to Prepare Your Kids for Jobs That Don’t Exist Yet
THE WORLD IS CHANGING. AND IT’S CHANGING FAST.
It’s a scary dystopian future we’re looking at. Space travel, robots, and self-driving cars are no longer the products of cartoon animations and unrealistic Sci-Fi movies. They are the objects of now.
With the world running into the arms of the fourth industrial revolution, massive technological changes are revolutionizing the world we’re living in.
Robotics, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, internet of things – these are dynamically changing the social and technological structure of our global society.
With the fast-paced advancements that our technology is making and with the threat of robots taking our jobs, the future of the human civilization seems difficult to predict.
According to a report by Mckinsey&Company, the conversation about humans being replaced by robots in the workplace is no longer a philosophical debate. It is an urgent issue.
With the current pace with which science is making progress, menial jobs will not be an option anymore.
Even now, Amazon’s warehouses make use of Kiva System Robots to move around racks of shelves. And this kind of human replacement will only get more widespread. By 2030, robots will replace up to 20 million factory jobs.
Careers such as that of medics, financial analysts and journalists are also at risk, with artificial intelligence making a dive for their marketplace.
According to a study by the BBC, 47 percent of existing jobs are “at a high risk of potential automation”.
In addition, the World Economic Forum has predicted that,
“65% of the children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in completely new job types that don’t yet exist”.
This might seem preposterous and unimaginable but consider the fact that jobs such as “mobile app developer” and “social media manager” did not exist 10 years ago.
And the future will bring about more high-demand career options that are currently not even in business yet.
Demands of architects and engineers will alter with materials and mechanizations that haven’t been invented yet.
When the very fabric of our society is readying itself to change, the existing strata of jobs will change too.
The future generation thus faces a double-headed threat.
Not only will the current job options not be valid career options anymore but the ones that will exist, they cannot be easily predicted.
SO, OUR ARE CHILDREN JUST…DOOMED?
Well, that’s an interesting question.
While the current state of things is far from comforting, the future is not hopeless. Nor we are children helpless. We cannot just accept the poor reality of things and stick our hands into the sand.
We cannot just accept the fact that our children will have a terrible future. It is too soon to hold a funeral for the next generation’s tomorrow.
In fact, in a 2017 report from Gartner, it has been predicted that artificial intelligence will create more jobs than it kills.
While, there is no doubt that the job they imagine to be in “when they grow up” will be very different from the job that they end up landing, our future generation can be trained to deal with that change better.
By guiding our children mentally, emotionally and technically, we can help prepare them for the demands of the future market.
By informing them of the futuristic changes that are undertaking, we can help equip our children with the awareness they need to pursue the most relevant career paths.
With the correct approach and skills, we can prepare our children for jobs that don’t even exist yet.
SO, HOW CAN WE HELP?
In order to address this imperative “how” for our children, we must consider a two-dimensional approach.
Not only is technical training sufficient, but parents and mentors also need to equip the younger generation with the right physiological and social tools to cope with the demands of the future.
The Academic side:
“Show me the numbers,” said Stephen Few. And show the numbers, we will.
We live in a society driven by science.
And so, in our help-guide for future jobs, we cannot divorce our approach from the scientific side of things. Numbers, predictions, graphs- it is fundamental to consider what they say about the future.
The idealistic career approach of “doctor, lawyer or engineer” is simply not sufficient anymore.
Times are changing.
And our educational approach about future career goals needs to alter as well, so that our children can pursue their education in the right fields, in order to ascertain themselves a safe future.
However, allow me to provide a disclaimer.
This does not imply that our children cannot pursue their passions or their fields of choice. It does not mean that we have to rob our kids of their dreams of being a doctor or a writer.
It just means that we cannot leave them completely reliant on the current educational structure and let them fare on the same path that we took, or our grandparents took.
Our current school systems are still built on the structure of the first industrial revolution.
Securing a career in the medical professional can no longer be limited to thoroughly learning a Grey’s Anatomy book.
We must prepare our children to adapt their interests with the scope of the future.
Get intelligent with Artificial Intelligence:
Before we delve into the importance of skills pertained to artificial intelligence, let us first consider what artificial intelligence entails.
Being raised in a generation where the internet was considered a luxury and not a necessity, the neurotypical understanding of A.I is usually disconnected from the roots of what it is.
Artificial intelligence is a domain of Computer Science that allows the creation of intelligent machines and automation that work and respond like humans.
It is not just creating a robot that can act as a therapist but it also entails attributes such as speech recognition, Google’s search algorithm, and autonomous weapons.
It is a huge field that can be holistically captured by the following sentence: making computers work like humans. From simple tasks like data entry to cognitive human skills, A.I has it all. And the future has a lot of A.I.
Avi Goldfarb, author of the book “Prediction Machines: The Simple Economics of Artificial Intelligence”, says that there are two primary A.I job opportunities that will exist in the future.
a. People who will build AI:
Now, the first option is simple. If your child is interested in the pure field of developing Artificial Intelligence, there is nothing that is holding them back from a secure future.
While technological frameworks can change, an understanding of computer systems and technology can equip a person with the pertinent skills that are needed to deal with the changing demands of tomorrow.
The ability to code and work on programming languages, while having the yearning to learn and create more, is a safe path to take when preparing our children for the shape-shifting jobs of the future.
b. People who will provide AI machines with input and interpret their output:
However, if your child does not hold a puritan interest in A.I and computer science, there is nothing to fret about.
While it is difficult to deny the need of having technological skills for the market of tomorrow, A.I is not a field which only caters to computer geeks.
It is such a diverse and wide domain that it can be molded and adapted to fit the interests of everyone. With a little understanding of the A.I world, any career path can be taken.
Although there is no doubt that it will be different from the conventional career streams, the interest of your child does not have to suffer.
Interestingly, Goldfarb states that “education and healthcare are areas ripe for growth”.
If an understanding of A.I can be established, the shape these careers take in the future can be better adjusted to. For instance, a robot can deliver a lecture in class and check an assignment.
Does that mean that teachers will become outdated? Of course not!
These robots do not work in solace. They require the proper input to function, the correct training to operate and the appropriate expertise to be maintained.
These are all deliverances a person with the correct A.I skills and educational expertise can provide. Robots can be created to remind patients when to take their medicines, but nurses will still be needed to help the patients communicate with the robots.
This extends to the fields of history, psychology, art, and philosophy. A child who understands these domains of knowledge can help with the optimal utilization of the technology of Artificial Intelligence.
Goldfarb argues that
“the most valuable combinations of skills are going to be people who both have good training in computer science, who know how the machines work, but also understand the needs of society and the organization, and so have an understanding of humanities and social sciences”.
The critical combination of the understanding of human needs coupled with the appropriate training in computer science can open a path of great opportunities for your child.
Stagnancy will make you sink:
In our current environment, it is rare to meet someone who is well educated in different domains of knowledge.
A computer scientist often knows little about art history and that is a status quo that we have accepted. But this will no longer be an acceptable approach in the future.
As said by Amid Orad, the business analytic, “Our tradition of schooling from the Industrial Age makes you good at one thing and that’s very dangerous for the next generation”.
And he is not far from the truth. If you’re only good at one thing, what happens when that specific domain is no longer paying you for that expertise?
This is the precise reason as to why children need to be encouraged to pursue a liberal arts education, so that they may choose interdisciplinary fields of study and acquire a plethora of skills from across the board.
The cliché of “Jack of all trades” needs to be reformed into “A jack of all trades is the master of his/her future”.
When jobs cannot be predicted, it is simply not sufficient to rely on a single stream-lined career path.
Kids need to learn how to adapt to different demands so that they are prepared academically for the jobs that keep changing.
While automation can substitute humans in systemized and technical jobs, there is one place where they don’t farewell. Jobs that demand creativity.
As columnist Anna Powers states in a Forbes article “a computer lacks imagination or creativity to dream up a vision for the future”.
Computers can do a lot. They can automate depositing a cheque at the bank and process huge amount of numbers. But they cannot replace the emotional and creative capacity of a human being.
They cannot regurgitate originality. While they can produce an intelligent order of paintings, they lack the vision to create an art piece like the “Mona Lisa”, without performing some form of replication.
The numbers point towards a fascinating statistic.
Almost 90 percent of creative jobs are at low/no risk of automation. Designers, artists, poets, actors, musicians- all possess personality and creativity that a computer cannot originally produce.
They come from the kind of experience and growth that machines are foreign to.
Hence encouraging your children towards the creative domains is a highly profitable idea. If they possess within them the passion to pursue a career in the artistic side, inspire them to go forth with it. It is protected for the future.
THE OTHER SIDE
While academic guidance has become a necessity, perhaps the greatest guidance that a parent can impart on a younger one is the mental and social tools that are required to make the best of the uncertain future conditions.
Technical skills are unparalleled, but if a child possesses the right attitude, the changing terrain of tomorrow can be easily tackled.
Teach your kids about change:
Take a step back and reflect on the world around you for a second.
A few decades ago, some of the billion-dollar businesses did not even exist. Booking.com, a hotel booking service which does not own any hotels of its own, is worth more than 90 billion US dollars.
Uber, a taxi service which does not own any of its cars, founded in 2009, is now worth a whopping 120 billion US dollars. This would have seemed impossible two decades ago.
Yet, with the way things are changing, new businesses are emerging and making unprecedented profits.
Yet, with the fast rise to glory, also comes an equally fast fall from the top. According to Richard Foster of Yale University, the average lifespan of a business has gone down from 67 years in the 1900s to 15 years today.
And with the current rate of change, 75% of the big companies today will not be around by 2027.
This is essentially why we need to teach our children about the climate of change. By making them aware of how quickly things can come and go, we can help them not rely on concrete paths for their future.
By educating our selves and then communicating with our children, we can instill in our children an awareness of the uncertainty that surrounds us.
If the younger generation acknowledges the fickle nature of things, they can then learn the appropriate mental, social and technical tools to deal with that change. And it all starts with a conversation.
Work ethic. Work Ethic. Work Ethic.
To survive in the cutthroat world of tomorrow, muddled in change and uncertainty, there is no room for slacking off. The survival kit for future jobs constitutes of a motivation to keep learning, a thirst of knowledge and hard work.
Especially hard work. They yearn for greater knowledge needs to be fostered within children, so that they are instilled with the dedication to keep up with the changing demands of the future.
This is why intelligence is not the sole personality trait that needs to be praised.
In fact, according to Carol Dweck, a psychologist at Stanford, the conventional approach of praising children for their intelligence is inherently flawed and makes them lose motivation and become lethargic with their work instead.
On the other hand, positive reinforcement of a solid work ethic, allows children to continue making an effort, fostering a sense of control in their mind. By encouraging our children to work hard, we give our kids the tools to be responsible for their work and to develop a “growth mindset”.
And this is fundamentally important as it allows our children to acquire the positive toolset of leading a more rewarding life.
With this mindset, children in their professional lives, will not view career hurdles as “limitations” but rather as “opportunities”. They will tackle challenges without fear and value effort and hard work.
Hence, it is important to instill within our children a strong work ethic and reward them for the efforts they make. Not their intelligence.
The Four C’s You Want on Your Child’s Transcript
Social skills are your ticket to success. Technical and academic skills are important, but in the global culture that we exist in, it is the soft skills that have become fundamental.
So, what are the four C’s?
Creativity is the ability to be innovative. It constitutes of thinking differently, trying different methods and getting things accomplished imaginatively and intelligently.
Communication skills allow people to share thoughts, ideas, questions, and solutions with those around them.
3. Critical Thinking:
Critical thinking is the skill that allows one to come up with smart solutions by looking at problems in a different way.
People need to work across the board to achieve fruitful results. This skill imparts one with the ability to work well with others by creating a productive working environment.
As parents, it has become a dire necessity to equip your child with these skills. These are the skills that help an individual survive in the competitive innovative job market.
By putting these soft skills together, a child can fare well in different working environments.
It’s risky, it’s good.
As parents and mentors, we cannot afford to create a generation that does not value the importance of taking risks.
While most of us can be wary of our children making difficult choices of their own, our protectiveness might be robbing our children from having healthy emotional and physical confidence.
The art of taking risks enhances physical health and also promotes emotional health.
When kids try new things, they make their own decisions and put their cognitive utilities in action.
This creates a thinking pattern that is independent and self-reliant.
Furthermore, taking risks diminishes the fear of failure. When children try something and fail at it, they take responsibility for their choice and try again, not held back by their failure.
This is a toolset that raises strong, independent individuals who are not afraid of change. And not afraid of failure.
YOUR CHILDREN WILL BE OKAY.
It’s reasonable to be terrified of the world of tomorrow.
But here’s the thing.
Things have been changing for a while. In the 20th century alone, we’ve seen the emergence of electricity, the first computer, and the first airplane.
In the past two decades, we’ve seen self-driving cars, self-checkout grocery stores, and talking robots. Technology is a thing that is built on the institution of change. Its mantra is “can we make it better?”, and yes, we continue to make changes and we continue to make it better.
With the changes that technology brings, humans adapt and they too, like the flexible creatures they are, change for the better.
We do not know what kind of jobs the future will throw at us.
But we will be prepared for them.
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