Artificial intelligence (AI), sometimes called machine intelligence, is intelligence demonstrated by machines, in contrast to the natural intelligence displayed by humans and other animals. As AI is becoming both more useful and more widespread, workers everywhere are getting anxious about how a new age of automation might affect their career prospects. So if automation makes the job market a little like a game of musical chairs, is there any way to make sure you’re still employed when the music stops? Can your education help you robot-proof your career?
According to the Northeastern University president Joseph Aoun, who wrote “Robot-Proof: Higher Education in the Age of Artificial Intelligence”, future-proofing your career is actually less about picking a safe job and more about constantly updating your skills throughout your career. He quotes that education needs to change dramatically if workers are to adapt to this new environment.
He calls his solution humanics, which has three basic pillars:
• Technical ability: understanding how machines function and how to interact with them
• Data discipline: navigating the sea of information that’s generated by these machines
• Human discipline: which is what we humans can do that machines for the foreseeable future, cannot emulate
“We’re constantly becoming obsolete. And in some ways that’s an enormous opportunity for us all to re-educate ourselves and update ourselves. Those that are able to do it will be able to flourish,” Aoun quotes. He worries that the tertiary education system currently isn’t equipped for this new reality and many universities are far too focused on four-year undergraduate courses and academic research.
He says, equally important to helping students graduate, is helping students master “the human discipline”. The solution is a greater emphasis on real-world experience and the life-skills to negotiate and interact with colleagues. Perhaps above all, Aoun says humans need to focus on skills that are harder for to replicate by AI. Specifically, that means taking knowledge from one context or discipline and applying it to another. Humanics itself is about combining three separate disciplines.