Future of Technology
Our lives in the coming decade will be characterised by two dominant technology trends: massive connectivity and artificial intelligence (AI).
5G networks will offer unprecedented speeds (10 Gbps) and nearly instantaneous response times (less than 1 millisecond latency). 5G will enable a vast array of services, including immersive entertainment experiences, remote surgery and innovative smart cities. These ultra-fast networks will also support the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), with 1 million devices and sensors in every square kilometre generating an unprecedented volume of big data.
AI will use this big data to provide consumers with highly contextualised and personalised experiences, delivered exactly when needed, augmenting every aspect of their daily lives. For industry, AI will enhance efficiency and productivity, using machine learning to automate both blue-collar and white-collar jobs, with the first impacts being felt in sectors such as manufacturing, transport and logistics, hospitality and retail.
The combination of these two critical technology trends is ushering in a new era of ‘Intelligent Connectivity’.
Future of Work
The era of Intelligent Connectivity, characterised by massive connectivity and powerful AI, will have a significant impact on the workplace of the future.
Intelligent Connectivity will increasingly replace repetitive roles across both blue-collar and white-collar segments; it is anticipated that up to 20 per cent of current jobs will be eliminated by the end of the 2020s. Advances in AI and machine learning will impact roles that require problem solving, decision making and interaction in less-than-fully-predictable environments, for example, self-driving cars and disease diagnosis. Robots will be deployed where they have the greatestrelative productivity advantage over humans.
It is important to remember that technology eliminates jobs – not work. We have consistently seen in industrial development that as machines become more capable, humans move on to new roles that require a different skillset. This constant displacement and replacement are signs of a healthy and dynamic economy.
Even with advances in technology, it is likely that humans will continue to be superior to machines in areas that require creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and communication. However, we currently have a workforce that is not adequately prepared to compete in this new digital world; research indicates that today, only 11 per cent of adults have skillsets greater than those delivered by AI.
It is absolutely essential that we develop education policies and programmes – at scale – that will raise the current and future workforce above the capabilities of computers and equip them with the skills they need to not only survive but thrive in the digital workplace.
Future of Education
Built on decades and even centuries of tradition, our current education system is producing young people who are process- and target-oriented, trained for success in the examination hall, but lacking the core skills required for the future of work.
This traditional mindset contrasts deeply with 21st century work experiences, where young people will be continually stretched and challenged. They’ll break down tasks, solve problems and be measured on the results. They will be asked to think and then to do.
To better prepare students for the exciting future being created by Intelligent Connectivity, we must first accept that it is insufficient to simply “know”, and that it is impossible to fully understand without actually “doing”. We must structure education around the principles of experiential learning and the mantra “think, do, learn”.
Experiential education uses carefully chosen experiences, supported by reflection and critical analysis, that require the learner to take initiative, make decisions and be accountable for the results. In this model, the students actively investigate, query, experiment, collaborate, solve problems and use their creativity, constructing meaning and integrating previously developed knowledge. Learners are engaged intellectually, emotionally and socially in a dynamic environment where they will experience success, failure and adventure.
While we need to re-evaluate how we embrace the strategies of experiential learning across all aspects of the curriculum, in the short term we must create flexibility in timetabling to allow for at least 20 per cent experiential learning.
To support the adoption of experiential learning, it must be complemented by productive relationships with businesses and institutions throughout the local community, creating a common vision that benefits teachers, employers and our young people. We must provide continuing professional development for educators, equipping them with the skills to lead and the knowledge to provide career guidance to students entering the workforce of the future. And most importantly, we must provide students with varied and meaningful employer experiences.
Founded by experts from the education and technology communities, mTech.Academy delivers experiential learning for the future of work. The holistic mTech.Academy programme provides a project-based, technology-centric curriculum that addresses the specific requirements of students, teachers and head teachers, preparing them for new opportunities in the digital world. Combining innovative technology, creativity and real-world skills development, mTech.Academy empowers students, providing a strong foundation to achieve their potential.