Opposite Direction: Today’s political and social wrangling deflect and set back serious action in the face of profound Future Disruptions. Time is running out fast!!

All of the political mayhem the USA and around the World is sucking the energy out of focussing on the enormous issues and disruptions that humans need to prepare for NOW; occurring in the present and increasingly in the future.

Educating ourselves and our children and their children to think and behave differently, creatively, with thoughtfulness and deep critical analysis about how to manage the: technology innovations; the ethical and destructive implications of continuing to ignore the coming disruptions in society; the threat to social and nation-state and global cohesion and human well-being – is absolutely pathetic and so human-like (we are flawed beings).


Not realizing that the whole World will be impacted is the Ostrich Effect.  “It might happen to others but not to me and my family!”  Tribalism is our undoing. Thinking like a victim is no protection. Thinking we are immune because of high status or exceptionalism is no safe haven. 

Rich, poor, white sheltered suburban, white entrepreneurial, non-white, non-American… all can’t nor will anyone be able to escape this deluge of change.


What we can do is start to behave with intelligence knowing that we are all in the same boat. Profound Technological Innovation changes the workforce dynamic, the way we as a local, regional, national and global society will relate and value ourselves; as collaborators pulling together or as shredders of the fabric of societal networks which connect, stabilize and secure all realms of human experience.

Global Climate Change impacts everyone, the resulting conflicts – for land, resources, safety – all of us, everyone,  everywhere, will feel the hard reality of significant disruptive changes. There will no longer a  “getting back to the good old days” or “making American Great Again”.

We squandered those days and ignored realities right before our eyes. And our children and grandchildren and their children will pay for our self-absorbed, self-important thoughtlessness.

The high minded, righteousness of the Woodstock Nation became bankrupt and slewed around through complacency and the allure of   socio/economic status and self-importance. 


The USA is NOT an ISLAND. It is part of a whole interconnected global system, ecologically and digitally interwoven. We all rise or fall together.


AND Building the Bunker won’t save anyone. It just prolongs the inevitable.


So we all need to pull ourselves together, and know the Future is as important to our families, our grandchildren and their children and future society – as getting through the present, as squabbling and yowling, destructive adolescents.
Fools we are.

Fools will we always be??

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Today’s Skills and Future Work

Preface

This piece evolved out of an accumulation of ideas and insights from a range of sources about the skills that future workers should have to be successful in the next generation or two.* It also is a call for radical academic curricular changes both in content, focus and teaching style. In all cases, experience in the STEAM curriculum is essential. However, STEAM skills  need to be woven into a liberal arts “habits of thinking” to assure the best decision-making,  both short term and equally as critical, longterm effects. The capacity to think deeply and reflectively as to the broader ramifications of actions across the human and technology spectrum, beyond short-term profits, financial viability or power acquisition, should be elemental for any decision. The changes ahead will have profound ramifications and how humans manage them will have significant effects on the human society.

*World Economic Forum 2017 – 4th Industrial Revolution;     Risks Report 2018,  Internet of Things 2018, Re-Skilling Revolution 2018

*McKinsey Report September 2017 – Getting Ready For the Future of Work

*University of Oxford – The Oxford Martin   on Technology and Employment

*Kevin Kelly –The Inevitable

*McAfee and Brynjolfsson – Machine, Platform, Crowd…. 

*Steven Pinker – Enlightenment Now:….

*WSJ, NYT, Forbes Reports

The Future World and Change

Economic value creation is and will be increasingly based on the use of ever higher levels of specialized skills and knowledge, (as opposed production of the traditional value-based tangible products – inherent in the capitalist system of the past 2 centuries) creating unprecedented new opportunities for some individuals while threatening to leave others with diminished opportunities, affecting a significant share of the workforce. Workers will have to adapt quickly, rushing to acquire a broad set of new skills that will help them survive a fast-changing job market; these include  problem-solving, critical thinking and creativity, as well as developing a habit of lifelong learning and new habits of thinking.

In the short-term, people already in the workplace will be forced to adapt and re-skill. While students K-16 (the “workers of the future”) will need to be “schooled” in very new ways.

It is these individuals, present and future, who will succeed in the economy of the future. They will have to develop the capacity to blend the inherently human and non-machine skills, those defined as  “social intelligence”,  to work in complement  with machine intelligence. Machines are more comprehensive and accurate in data sourcing “intelligence” (learning/ artificial machines) or repetitive motion and predictable action (robotics), driven by mechanical or algorithmic technologies than humans. They are  exponentially more rapid and efficient producing far better results than humans in design, production quality at a notable lower cost to the producer and ultimately the consumer. Businesses will acquire these technologies and adapt new business models to maintain competitiveness. And so more people without these essential skills will be forced out of the traditional workforce resulting in significant social, economic and emotional disruption.  That humans will invariably be working alongside machines, whether in an artificial augmentation or augmented intelligence platform, is inevitable.

This inevitability and the resulting affects on human cultures is critically important to acknowledge, now. It raises  a whole new sense and set of imperatives in how humans manage, adjust and optimize their future or potentially that humans will become secondary drivers in their place on Earth.  It means that new skills compatible with this blending of human and machine is going to be required to make the most of what the machines can do for the humans. And as a result how human development evolves.

Action now is imperative.

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The Fourth Industrial Revolution – It’s already started: Your Career/Your Future

(The first paragraph is an extract from the World Economic Forum 2018)

The Fourth Industrial Revolution represents a fundamental change in the way we live, work and relate to one another. It is a new chapter in human development, enabled by extraordinary technology advances commensurate with those of the first, second and third industrial revolutions. These advances are merging the physical, digital and biological worlds in ways that create both huge promise and potential peril. The speed, breadth and depth of this revolution is forcing us to rethink how countries develop, how organisations create value and even what it means to be human. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is about more than just technology-driven change; it is an opportunity for leaders, policy-makers, academics and people from all income groups and nations, to harness converging technologies in order to create an inclusive, human-centred future. The real opportunity is to look beyond technology, and find ways to give the greatest number of people the ability to positively impact their families, organisations and communities.

This will require design of new school curriculum K-16 to imbue students with the essential skills; foundational, complex, and character development – most of which are not presently incorporated into the standard academic curriculum. These uptake of these skills is predicated on acquisition of fact-based information, blended with long-term project development skills and applications, engaging emotional intelligence skills and developing character traits that are adapted to the new corporate and social expectations essential for managing the fluid and rapidly changing demands of future careers and lifestyle. (Kinsey 2017, WEF 2018)

A national vision of what that new educational model needs become has to occur as rapidly as possible. (New Zealand has already started developing a consensus of need and a national vision for implementation) The ability of the next 2 generations to manage the tidal wave of forces occurring presently and expected in the next several decades (rapid technology implementation , globalization, civil war, natural and man-made disasters, massive population migrations, social and political discord, and economic disruption and inequality of wealth distribution), and the cohesion of stable societies into the future, are dependent on framing this vision. Today’s leaders are obligated to cohere and collaborate on defining and implementing a dynamic and appropriate change in the educational course of study sequenced and scaffolded from kindergarten through graduation from college, to give students time to practice these essential skills so they are embedding in their behaviors and practice to support their future career, life endeavors and societies continuing progression toward maintaining and sustaining liberal (as in liberty), democratic institutions.

 
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The Educator’s Dilemna

Future jobs are likely to pair computer intelligence with creative skills.  Things have changed in the essential skills needed by future employers and society.  The dilemma for educators is now that routine cognitive skills – skills that are easiest to teach and easiest to test (the skills which have been traditionally taught for 19th and 20th Century  careers)– are also exactly the kind of skills that are easiest to digitise, automate and outsource.  * Andreas Schlecher OECD/PISA Programme

Retooling the historical educational curriculum will be an uphill battle. Society resists change but, ironically, readily adopts technological innovation.  The lag between development and adoption of new and very different skills sets  and the  timely necessity of society to become trained and available as a relevant new workforce, will strain educational systems, and leave much of the population ill-equipped to qualify for newly evolving careers.  New academic models, retooling curriculum, and a reassessment of the whole idea of what being educated means, will strain the capacity of educators and academic institutions,  breaking some and driving others to experiment. And out of this disruption will eventually evolve new curricular models designed to constantly adapt to keep up with the exponential  changes driven by technologies and societies metamorphosis.

The near future will see a wrenching, dynamic debate and significant disruption in the form and substance of “education”.  It will take a broad social vision and then the shared sense of common purpose to engender the energy and political will to create this change.  To resist this change, to not recognize the imperative to move thoughtfully but also quickly,  threatens the balance  and stability of the economic, social and political  order of America and its foundational democratic vision and its leadership in the World.

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Future Work/Careers – 1.1

Sorry, I should have left you with some tasters of the sort of work that might be out there in the future. Actually, a few already exist and will continue to exist even as many existing today will disappear. Here are only a few:

Health Coach

Bioinformatician

Clone Ranchers

Memory Augmentation Therapists

Artificial Intelligence Programmer

Robot Counselor

Makeshift Structure Engineer

Auto-Transport Analyst

Robocar Traffic Controller

Urban Farmer

Ecosystem Auditor

Hydrologist

Robotic Earthworm Drivers

Mining Resource Specialist

Carbon Capture Technician

Earthquake Forecasters

Computer Forensics Analyst

Media Remixer

Integrated Digital Media Specialist

Augmented Reality Journey Builder

Cyber City Analyst

Personal Data Broker

 

There are 100’s of possible new careers that coming change will create, many of which will then fade as others rapidly, are newly created to meet demand. Developing new skills and lifelong learning will be inevitable for anyone who wants to continue to work and have a viable and productive life.  Expect to have 20 or more careers or modifications of careers in your next 20-50 years of work. Change and Gig are the by-words.

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Future Work/Careers series – 2

This is the second blog entry in this theme of Future Work/Careers:

There are social, economic, environmental and technological forces around the world that are building and intersecting at this moment in time that will magnify complexity of the human experience and will drive enormous change in ways foreseeable and in ways still beyond our ability to foreseen but  can only speculate will occur. And there are changes ahead that are and will be unexpected, unthought of and never before seen,  that will proffer remarkable benefits and devastating harm to mankind and the Earth.  The next several generations will have to “fly by the seat of their pants” to manage this profound blast of change.  Those decisions will ramify through the societies of the World for generations.

The forces I see are compressed into 9,  though a case can easily be  made that there are more, or there are less. In all cases however, each force doesn’t stand alone but impacts the others, creating further dynamic change. 

I will be writing about these forces:

  1. Rapid Global Population Growth/Particularly in Developing Nations/Regions
  2. Rapid Expansion of Globalization
  3. Dramatic Climate Change
  4. Rapidly Changing Employment Demands
  5. Increasing Demands on Energy Production
  6. Corrosive Environmental Degradation
  7. Exponential Technology Change and the Digital Interconnectedness of  the World
  8. Rapid Urban Population Growth
  9. The Creation of New Forms of Wealth and Deepening Disparity Between Haves and Have-nots

and how they will force humans to modify their lives and potentially alter their place of singular dominance.

and so……….

Rapid change across a vast field of global, regional, national and local communities  is clearly impeding. It is certainly inevitable, that this change will impel each successive generation to learn to adapt in ways far different than ever before.

What is this change? 

(Below is a very long sentence, and most likely grammatically incorrect. Sorry! Try to hang in there to its end)

It is the complex and singular compression at this time in history of: rapid global population growth; increasing competing demands and access to basic and advanced natural and mineral resources; the increasing instability of global and national economies that struggle  to adopt new forms of economic development and wealth creation (compounded by a widening disparity of between the  “haves and have-nots”; all magnified by the driving, compounded exponential adoption of powerful technologies that with increasing rapidity  interlink the people and machines of the world with wonderful opportunities and unforeseen infringements; the corporatization of big data information flowing out of that Internet of Things we all are participating in, that is: via the monitoring of our cell phone use patterns, our nascent but effective AI “Alexa’s” learning machines,  each website click, on-line posting, U-Tube and Facebook viewing and the incorporation of the billions of digital sensors being incorporated into every aspect of today’s human behavior and actions.  

These and more “new” human action and circumstance, all happening at an ever increasing rate, overwhelms humans’ ability to comprehend their effects in the near and distant future.  Twitter is an apt model of a technology with both benefit and unforeseen harm which has left humans in a quandary as to how to manage it. Twitter was simply conceived as a communications tool to express ideas and opinions. Who would have thought it would  become interwoven in revolutionary movements and political behavior, or offer individuals from the opposite ends of the Earth access to ideas of creative novelty and means of  connected networking.

Our successful ability to  anticipate, manage, and adapt to the changes unfolding because of these forces will be the hallmark of humanities capacity to succeed as a specie. There is no guarantee that we will. What is essential however to this outcome with be the quality and appropriate form of education and skills that children will apply.  

And so the crux of this blog is framed around the necessity to create new forms of learning those skills and knowledge; in ways far different that exists in traditional educational curriculum. Skills to manage this new world  take years to acquire and practice. The creation of this new curriculum is long overdue. 

postnote:

Subsequent blog essays will dig into this new learning and its applications to successfully confronting change and adapting for future generations. And it will address the individual forces as they unfold and impact human behavior and civilization.

 

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The Future of Work/Careers and Social Purpose 2018-2050

I haven’t written this blog for quite a long time.  I have been struggling with finding a focus that has meaning to me and merit to others. Much of my work in the past has been focussed on a general conversation about what the unfolding forces in the new future will increasing add pressure on the next several generations.  My focus has shifted, to a broader multi-generation frame.

Having 3 very young grandchildren who will inherit this Earth we leave them is what has shifted my engine of purpose. And that is: What talents, skills, strengths, attitudes, perspectives, reflections and sense of shared destiny will be necessary for them breath into their beings

to have a chance to live in their future World with the same opportunities, hopes and expectations we had; that of continuing to live in a civil society,  founded on the liberal classical American democratic model embraced by the Founders – a model underpinned by a commitment to equality for all and respect for human dignity and human rights; our children will need to re-establish the balance in civil and political discourse and commit to compromise in governance; they will need to tamp down the gross aspects of human greed and perverse drive for power – to the harm of the vast majority of the World’s human and non-human populations; and they will need to rediscover the essential humanity embedded in the human species, by knowing in their bones that always seeking common ground of purpose and beliefs is not only possible but absolutely essential for survival.  We  live on one Earth, it is our home and our lifeboat – and that it is just fragile enough to ecologically fracture.

It has become an existential moment for humans and our children and grandchildren are inheriting this from us. 

One last comment on this blog entry:

I find that we the baby-boomers were going to save the World from the horror and damage our parent’s created, exquisitely ironic. Listen to our songs; Dylan, CSNY, Hendrix, Baez, the list is long. We committed to peace, to shared purpose, to a clean and human environment, to respect for each other and the essential goodness of humanity.  We are leaving with confusion, deep social fractures, global pollution, the denigration and abandonment of vast populations of hopeless people, and an economic and social burden which is profoundly destructive to the very people we say we love and care for: our children and grandchildren. 

What sloppy, thoughtless, narcissistic adolescents we were then and still remain.

A lousy job!  And a mess for others to clean up!

* Other blog entries will follow in a series of  discussions of the forces that are presently and increasingly will pressure the human cultures and societies to scramble to manage; Forces that are creating the new World of challenge and opportunity. There is hope but it will require a new way of thinking and managing our lives.

 

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