Humanics in the Era of Artificial Intelligence

Humanics in the Era of Artificial Intelligence

With the current age of technological development, it is now known for a fact that Artificial Intelligence and Automation are no longer a future prospect of growth and these trends have already taken up huge roles in various industries around the world. Sophistication and luxury are turning into the ultimate need of a man after the basic food, water and shelter. Though automation and AI provide ease at work and home, one cannot overlook the threats that these trends might bring along with the huge set of advantages.


With the widespread reach and development of Artificial Intelligence, workers everywhere are becoming anxious about how these new age trends would affect their career. On a recent study by Pew Research, it was found that most workers from about 10 emerging economies expect the robots and other AI machines to entirely perform the work that is currently done by humans within the next 50 years. Estimations also reveal that some jobs will disappear gradually and some will disappear altogether.


The World Economic Forum suggests many white-collar jobs, like accounting, will be at risk from future automation, while the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) says low-skilled jobs will be most vulnerable and there’ll still be a strong correlation between education and income. Either way, skills are becoming outdated faster than ever before. Automation and AI trends will not only affect the lower skilled jobs but it will also bring disruptions in professions such as law and accounting.


Thus robot-proofing one’s career becomes very important and for that one needs to constantly update oneself with the skills needed for we know that existence in the world is always been about “SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST”.  Though robotics and automation are said to cause a major blow on the employment opportunities, one cannot assure the work ethics from these new age trends. A small malfunction can result in disruption of the entire system thus leading to terrible consequences. The possible solution to this problem is “HUMANICS”


HUMANICS is defined as the study of human nature or human affairs. According to Northeastern University president Joseph Aoun, who wrote Robot-Proof: Higher Education in the Age of Artificial Intelligence, the only way to keep up in the uncertain future is to combine technical, data and human skills. He also insists that education needs to change dramatically if workers are to adapt to this new environment. His solution, which he calls humanics, has three basic pillars. Technical ability, Data discipline and Human discipline.


The technical ability deals with understanding how machines function and how to interact with them. As both artificial intelligence and robotics become larger and more capable than ever, machines will step into roles once monopolised by humans. Some employees won’t stand a chance, but others will find themselves working with machines, and probably being vastly more productive as a result. Sources claim that workers with a strong foundation in coding and engineering principles will be better placed to thrive in this new kind of workplace.


Data discipline involves navigating the sea of information that’s generated by these machines. Data is the primary most important factor in any field of work. One cannot deny the fact that “Information is wealth”. Hence workers will need data literacy to read, analyse and use the almost bottomless troves of information that are increasingly guiding everything from major business decisions to stock picks to purchasing decisions.


Human discipline is nothing but “what we humans can do that machines for the foreseeable future, cannot emulate.” This is said to include creativity, cultural agility, empathy and the ability to take information from one context and apply it to another. In educational terms, this means less emphasis on the classroom and a greater emphasis on experiential learning.


Aoun says that the rapid change in pace need not be necessarily negative, but it does give a message to the universities and educational institutions around the globe to shift their focus towards lifelong education and training mid-career workers. He also says that “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.”


Though sources claim that universities, particularly in the US, Canada and Australia, are increasingly focusing on interdisciplinary studies. The tertiary institutions in other countries are still a little more traditional in their approach and are far too focused on four-year undergraduate courses and academic research.


Technology is constantly upending our expectations, with change being the only certainty. Hence it is essential to understand our changing relationship with the machines and adapt to education accordingly. Perhaps, this requires us humans to focus on skills that are hard for artificial intelligence to replicate, more specifically taking context from one discipline and applying it to another. As we can see HUMANICS is itself about combining three different disciplines together.


Thus the only way to survive in this constantly moving pace is to make the most out of what we humans are, “creative, innovative, entrepreneurial, possessing the ability to interact with other people, work with them and be empathetic.”



Umayal R
Umayal R

Engineer in making with a thing for writing, fueled by caffeine. Living by the quote "Go where you feel most alive" and "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger"

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