Training and Tomorrow’s Jobs

business man looking at gears

Robots, artificial intelligence, and machine learning are thrilling—until the possibility arises that they could take your job. Could a computer pass the Turing test with your job description?

Reports vary in predictions about what parts of the workforce will be most affected by automation. Of course, there’s already self-checkout at the grocery store and automated writing for sports journalists and financial reporters. How far-fetched is the idea that significant numbers of technology jobs will become irrelevant? How can training and education programs better prepare us for the future?

The Future of Jobs and Jobs Training,” the recent report produced by the Pew Research Center and Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center, addressed two questions: Will well-prepared workers be able to keep up in the race with AI tools? And will market capitalism survive?

More than 1,400 technologists, futurists and scholars, practitioners, strategic thinkers, and education leaders were surveyed about their predictions on the future of workplace training that will be needed to perform the jobs of the future. Five major themes emerged, based on the responses.

  1. The training ecosystem will evolve. There will be more online learning, including self-directed, and online courses will get a boost from advances in augmented reality, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence.

  2. Intangibles, such as creativity, critical thinking, and adaptability, will be most highly valued. Learning via apprenticeships and mentoring will advance. While coding and other “hard skills” were listed as being easiest to teach to a large group in an online setting, “soft” and “human” skills were seen by most respondents as crucial for survival in the age of AI and robotics.

  3. New credentialing systems will arise. More employers may come to accept proof of competency other than traditional college degrees.

  4. Training will not meet 21st-century needs by 2026. Some people are not interested in or cannot use self-directed learning.

  5. Tech forces will fundamentally change work and the economic landscape. There will be millions of more people, with millions fewer jobs.

To meet the growing demand for expertise in the field of AI, NVIDIA announced plans to train 100,000 developers this year through the NVIDIA Deep Learning Institute. Other training options include the variety of massive open online courses (MOOCs) that are internet-based. Coursera and Udacity offer online courses in a variety of subjects, such as engineering, humanities, mathematics, business, computer science, and more.

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