It is essential that schools ensure students are equipped with the necessary skills and competencies for the age of smart technology and AI.

Education in the age of AI and smart technology


It is essential that our schools and governments ensure students are equipped with the necessary skills and competencies for the future

Key points:

  • As AI advances, workers will be needed to do the tasks that technology won’t be able to do well
  • Educators will have to model the behaviors and new way of learning that students need
  • See related article: ChatGPT is the shakeup education needs

We are in a new era–the Era of Smart Technology. Artificial intelligence (AI) in the form of ChatGPT-4 is very smart and ChatGPT-5, -6, and -7, etc. will be even smarter. Smart technology will change the “game of work” and it will change how we educate people.

We will live in the most disruptive job time since the Great Depression. Technology is and will continue to automate many blue- and white-collar jobs. Oxford University predicts that 25-47 percent of U.S. jobs will be automated by 2030. Scientists have predicted that the average person will have 5 completely different jobs in the next 20 years. No one will be exempt.

The new workplace will be very different than today’s workplace. As AI continues to advance, workers will be needed to do the tasks that technology won’t be able to do well. As of today, those tasks are:

  1. Thinking in ways different from smart technology’s way of thinking. Those ways are higher-order critical thinking; making moral judgments; going into the unknown and figuring things out; creative, imaginative, and innovative thinking; problem solving; and making decisions in situations where there are lots of uncertainty and not a lot of data.
  2. Excelling at building caring, trusting, positive emotional relationships with other human beings, including teammates, customers, co-workers, patients, clients, etc.
  3. Excelling at doing trade jobs that require human dexterity and iterative diagnostic definitions of the problem and iterative trial- and-error approaches to solving the problem.

The goal of education will be to teach every student how to become a highly adaptive Learner who can learn, unlearn, and relearn at the speed of technological change. That will require every student to learn how to take ownership of their own selves so they can bring their best self to the world every day.

Taking ownership will require every student to learn how to take ownership of managing their ego, their body, their mind, their emotions, their listening, their thinking, and how they emotionally relate to other people.

The goal is to help every student develop the foundational soft skills, learning skills, and technical skills required to do the type of work that humans will be needed to do. That is how people will have good jobs. That is how people will stay relevant workwise. That is how people will have a meaningful and happy life in the Age of Smart Technology.

For many people, the future of work will depend upon how fast our government (federal, state, and local) and public schools adapt. Public schools will have to adapt at the speed of technological change. That will require educational leaders and teachers to be adaptive–to embrace continuous learning, to change how they lead, how they teach, and what they teach; and it will require communities and governments to increase the funding of public education so that millions of students will not be left behind as smart technology continues to advance.

Educators at all levels will have to transform themselves to model the behaviors and this new way of learning that will be needed by their students.

Education in the United States is not an equal opportunity game. Wealthy families can buy the best education starting from kindergarten through graduate school. Most American families can’t do that. What is at stake now in this new era of smart technology is the American Dream for those individuals and families who are not wealthy. Our public education system is hindered significantly by achievement gaps that underserve the students who will likely be at the highest risk of automation, growing the digital divide.

To go right to the source, below are Chat GPT-4’s answers to my question: “What will be the impact on our society if public schools do not embrace fast enough the need to train students to do the types of work that smart technology cannot do well?”

If public schools do not embrace the need to train students for work that smart technology cannot do well, there could be several potential impacts on society:

  1. Skills mismatch: Failure to adapt the curriculum to prepare students for work that requires uniquely human skills could result in a significant skills mismatch. If schools do not prioritize developing these skills, students may graduate without the necessary competencies to succeed in the evolving job market.
  2. Increased inequality: The lack of preparation for work that complements smart technology can contribute to widening socioeconomic disparities.
  3. Economic competitiveness: Failing to train students for work that complements smart technology can have broader implications for a country’s economic competitiveness. As the global workforce evolves, nations that successfully equip their students with the skills needed for future jobs will have a competitive advantage.
  4. Hindrance to innovation and entrepreneurship: Neglecting to foster human creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills in students can severely impede innovation and entrepreneurial endeavors.
  5. Erosion of social cohesion: The failure to prepare students for work that complements smart technology undermines the development of social and emotional skills essential for effective collaboration, communication, and empathy. Neglecting to emphasize these skills carries the risk of eroding social cohesion and intensifying polarization within society.

It is essential that our federal, state, and local governments fund a Public Schools Transformation Program that will ensure students are equipped with the necessary skills and competencies for the Smart Machine Age.

Technology will not wait on education. The transformation of our public school system is an imperative.

Related:
Edtech leaders offer guidance on safe AI classroom integration
Is AI the future of education?

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