I am firmly in the camp that agrees with the Oxford Martin study ‘How susceptible are jobs to computerisation?’ that 47% of jobs are at risk. Given the clear pattern in technological development this seems inevitable. As discussed opposite the world is changing fast and with consequences. What we do, and how we do it will naturally morph as we allow computers to do what they are good at, and focus on how us humans can flourish in partnership with the machines. And we will on two conditions: first, we must be cognisant of technological developments and secondly we must be permanently learning. Well fed brains are needed to create the jobs that will be destroyed.
And it is technology that can facilitate this feeding. Concurrent with the rise of smartphones and broadband has been the uptake of Podcasts and MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). At no cost you can study at many of the Worlds greatest universities. Google Coursera or Udacity to be amazed at what is available.
Similarly Podcasts are brilliant for learning. I am an addict of EconTalk by Russ Roberts of Stanford and Exponent with Ben Thompson and James Allworth. One provides in depth conversations with brilliant economic and business minds and the other exceptional insights into the role of technology in society at large.
The negative attitude towards these types of tools is that they are no substitute for face to face learning. But the reality, and the positive appreciation, is that they enable many more people to be much better educated than ever before. And that will be our saviour.
This first appeared in Estates Gazette on the the 21st February