Friday, April 21, 2017

Gene V Glass: Education in Two Worlds: Is Your Job Robot-Proof?

Gene V Glass: Education in Two Worlds: Is Your Job Robot-Proof?:

Is Your Job Robot-Proof?

It doesn’t take much observation of the typical high school curriculum to see that most of what is being taught is a vestige of a long past era. Geometry was essential to the ancient Egyptians, but not to modern Americans. Spelling, handwriting, and even writing itself have little to do with contemporary communication. My wife can’t understand why I still type instant messages instead of speak them into my smart phone.

The future is robots and artificial intelligence. Profit-seeking individuals and corporations demand it. Ford motor company recently ear-marked $1 billion for R&D on robotics, in an industry in which humans are already disappearing from the assembly line.
My father left school at age 14 and started work as an apprentice printer in 1923. He worked as a dues-paying member of the International Typographical Union for nearly 40 years. In the mid-1960s, his union struck against the introduction of computers into the composing room. He never worked another day as a printer. When he retired, the ITU’s pension fund was broke. "Printer" was the first occupation to be wiped out by computers. But it was hardly the last.
Recently, David Brancaccio and Katy Long undertook to catalogue various occupations as either 100% robot-proof (i.e., unlikely to be replaced by computers and AI) or 0% robot-proof. My father’s job was 0%, and it happened so long ago that Brancaccio and Long didn’t even bother to mention it. Here are their two lists:
    0% Automatable
  • Ambulance Drivers and Attendants, Except Emergency Medical Technicians
  • Animal Scientists
  • Animal Trainers
  • Astronomers
  • Athletes and Sports Competitors
  • Clergy
  • Dancers
  • Directors, Religious Activities and Education
  • Historians
  • Mathematical Technicians
  • Models
  • Music Directors and Composers
  • Religious Workers, All Other
  • Roof Bolters, Mining
    100% Automatable
  • Aircraft Cargo Handling Supervisors
  • Dredge Operators
  • Foundry Mold and Coremakers
  • Graders and Sorters, Agricultural Products
  • Logging Equipment Operators
  • Machine Feeders and Offbearers
  • Medical Appliance Technicians
  • Motion Picture Projectionists
  • Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians
  • Packaging and Filling Machine Operators and Tenders
  • Plasterers and Stucco Masons
  • Slaughterers and Meat Packers
We can conclude a couple of things from these lists.

1) The robot-proof jobs have to do with the arts, sports, entertainment, and – shall we say – spiritual pursuits.
2) The jobs replaceable by computers, AI, and robots are the mid-level trades Gene V Glass: Education in Two Worlds: Is Your Job Robot-Proof?:

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