industrial revolution automation

As the third industrial revolution – led by software – continues to gather steam, world leaders are predicting our entrance into the fourth industrial revolution. Can you guess what is leading it? Artificial intelligence (AI). We all dreamed of the day when robots would effortlessly takeover our mundane chores like doing the dishes, but the truth is that AI can already do more than that. AI is already driving cars, making art, beating humans at Go…and will soon take over your job!

Forget science fiction, AI is already here and it is so close to getting so much bigger that governments are starting to prepare for this Tsunami. The White House recently released a report that highlighted staggering numbers for the job market due to AI. For example, it is estimated that 83% of US low wage jobs will be automated – representing 66 million jobs and potentially affecting 62% of American workers*. So what should we do?

Should we sound the alarms of panic and call Sarah Connor? Probably not. We should keep calm, embrace this industrial revolution and prepare our workforce for it. But we cannot rely on the past centuries’ workforce strategy of teaching people a skill and using that skill to make a professional career out of it. Education, as we know it, is obsolete. It still acts as a gateway to knowledge that is no longer needed with the rise of Internet and can’t keep pace with our fast changing world…Truthfully speaking, it’s literally impossible to predict what will be needed: “65% of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in completely new job types that don’t yet exist”.

To be successful in this new era, professionals will need three important skills:

  • Complex Problem Solving
  • Critical Thinking
  • Creativity

Individuals will have to quickly adapt to take on new opportunities; they will no longer have a single career, but multiple careers that span different areas of expertise, which would lead to them mastering completely different sets of skills. As you know, this is not what regular schools are teaching.

So how can we apply this to better prepare our future workforce? Several organizations are already addressing this. For instance, software engineering schools using a project-based and peer learning approach to teach problem solving, critical thinking and creativity instead of solely teaching programming languages. Students have no formal teacher, no lecture and learn by building. This will permit them to better adapt and acquire new skills, even after graduation. Examples of those schools include Holberton School, EPITECH or School 42. This innovative approach will become the standard in education.

When you consider Marc Andreessen’s famous quote “software is eating the world”, there is no doubt by extension that Artificial Intelligence will definitely consume our world as well. Although these changes will continue to materialize over the coming few decades and not overnight, their impact will be so tremendous that we need to start preparing and learn to evolve with them. But until AI rises up, I must go back to do the dishes.