Can Our Education System Prevent Us From Being Replaced By A Small Box?
Robots no longer just make manual tasks faster. They can now write articles, analyse data and make decisions. Even lawyers are being replaced by artificial intelligence.
The task of shifting through mountains of legal documents and highlighting keywords is being done by computers, which used to be a rite of passage for junior lawyers.
It’s already starting in medicine with the creation of medical diagnosis apps and robots doing triage.
Truck driving, the largest employer in the US, will soon become redundant too. Most, if not all industries are being affected. Which means that thousands, if not millions of people will be out of a job. Their skills no longer needed.
So thinking forward, if things are changing so fast, what can we teach in schools so that our kids are employable in the future?
This is the question addressed by the movie, “Most Likely To Succeed.” which was screened in Sydney as part of the Spark Festival.
They suggest that our current education system is outdated because it focuses on teaching facts and testing recall; memorising irrelevant equations and following instructions (which can all be done by robots).
Then when we enter the workforce, we’re expected to already have communication skills, conflict resolution, teamwork, problem solving ability, creativity and many other ‘soft skills’. Skills that make us uniquely human and perfectly suited to coming up with creative solutions to unique problems.
These are the type of skills needed now since robots and computers can do the rest.
The movie shows a number of schools which have already moved away from the outdated model of education. Instead, they focus on teaching students skills that are unique to human beings. Skills that allow them to use the machines, tools and their own abilities to achieve an outcome.
The school curriculum is very loose with no strict division of class. For example, history and maths are not divided into separate rooms and hours.
Instead, the students work in groups to create a project which will then be presented to the local community. To achieve this goal they must work together, overcome obstacles, learn new things and challenge themselves. There is minimal involvement from teachers so that the students work things out on their own.
It’s a frightening thought for many of the parents shown in the movie. However, the results and the growth seen in the students is phenomenal. The majority of students still gaining entry into university despite not covering all the usual facts and figures of high school. It shows how the students developed many of the skills essential for survival in our rapidly changing world.
It’s well worth watching by parents and young people alike.