Star Wars fans all over the world eagerly await The Last Jedi. It’s an extreme vision of the frontiers of technology, though science fiction sometimes does lead to science fact.
Positively, these new technologies and other innovations in robotics and artificial intelligence have potential to do much good for society.
Imagine robots doing all the work we find dangerous, dirty and/or repetitive, like that in Star Wars. Wouldn’t that make our lives better? Technology can also help us do more work with fewer workers and time, a boon as our societies age.
But the message that makes headlines is that of ROBOTS TAKING OUR JOBS AWAY.
While I ultimately view technology as neutral, there WILL be groups that are hurt and groups that gain.
Optimists point to the fact that with every major scientific breakthrough, society ultimately harnesses the innovations to create better (and more) jobs.
The “This Time is Different” crowd points to the increased pace of change for this particular transition, raising concerns that robots could displace many more workers much more quickly. This gives little time for the now-redundant workforce to learn new skills that the economy needs.
The person who loses his/her job due to technological innovation is NOT going to care that society overall has benefitted from the new technology. All (s)he experiences is the loss of a job and income, and uncertainty for the family’s future. The pain is felt at a PERSONAL level.
What about Learning?
The best thing to do is get prepared. Technology is a tool, and we can all learn how to use it to our advantage.
The learning can in fact be pretty fun, and accessible at all ages.
For our children, the folks at Tinkercademy teach the young (& young-at-heart) coding and electronics in a fun and relevant way.
The climax of a recent Tinkercademy coding class was a race of littleBits R2s droids to the finish line. VROOOM!!
Besides stoking “Fast & Furious” ambitions (no bad thing if properly applied), the kids learnt to use their hands and tools to build hardware, and learnt to program the software to control their R2 droids.
They mastered the technology. It became their friend.
Step 1 in preparing for life in the age of Star Wars.
What about Workplace Learning?
Learning can be fun for the working crowd too.
Crucially, it needs to be EFFECTIVE.
I was reading Star Wars from a Certain Point of View (yes, all about Star Wars here… ). The blue-boxed section is about the “e-learning” experience of officer from the Empire (the ‘bad’ guys), obviously ineffective.
It’s a reminder to us that education practices aren’t innovating enough compared to the breathtaking developments in other sectors.
That’s the irony. We are upgrading many parts of our economy, from retail to transport to finance to healthcare, with breakneck speed.
But we’re not upgrading the most important part as much or as quickly: Us, People. Human Beings.
That needs to change, and we’re working hard to help.
We’re working particularly hard to help up-skill the under-served groups of the economy: the factory worker, the F&B professional, the retail assistant, the store-clerk, the construction worker… traditional “Blue Collar” folk.
We believe that new (and newly-designed) jobs will be created in these existing industries and occupations, and their existing workforce needs the most help in up-skilling.
We’re focussing first on the efficacy of the learning, taking into account shortening attention spans, and our new on-the-go, on-demand lifestyles.
Here’s what’s in store:
Learning that is easily consume-able, effective, and not just “acknowledged” like that hapless Star Wars character I read about.
Learning that workers can access on-the-go, leads to tangibly better skills and hopefully higher pay.
Learning that is interactive, trackable and seamlessly integrated into HR practice, giving managers insight on their staff’s learning and helping them to holistically develop staff to contribute productively to business goals.
Learning that is holistic, effective, scalable and saves companies and managers time and cost.
Say hello to Learning in the Age of Star Wars.
Say hello to Interactive Nano Learning.
May the Force be with you <(-_-)>