For decades, lives have been impacted by automation. In seemingly small ways like ordering at a kiosk instead of a cashier. On a large scale, machines that produce package and ship products for companies.
These are things many people take for granted, but as technology advances faster than before some are beginning to wonder if the impact will hurt the future of jobs.
Professor Darren Chapman teaches economics at Fanshawe College. Fascinated by artificial intelligence (A.I.) and automation, Professor Chapman says that the job market will be impacted but a change in thinking will curb the adverse effects. So much so, that he has completely changed his approach to his economics classes.
“No longer am I focusing on content, but I’m focusing on critical thinking and communication skills because those are the critical skills that individuals need being in an A.I. environment.”
He notes that without these skills, people will not adapt to our changing world. Specific skills in communication and critical thinking are ways of being creative- and to Professor Chapman, that is the greatest skill to possess.
He says that people with creative tendencies are more likely to succeed because of their ability to come up with ideas. Professor Chapman also believes that being hesitant to share ideas and thoughts are detrimental to future success.
He gives an example of how nickel is extracted from mines. In Sudbury nickel mines, machines are used to dig and excavate nickel. The machines are operated by people in Australia via a computer. Professor Chapman explains that being creative in today’s world, means looking at technology and seeing where else it could apply.
“It’s completely different tangents on existing technology. It really takes a creative mind to see some of these connections that we before didn’t think were connected. That’s where the real gains will be made.”
He says that discussions in groups are ways to spark and foster innovative ideas. It also takes people who are not afraid of sharing radical ideas, or being “wrong”. Once an idea is shared, he says that is the moment where something bigger can happen.
“All of a sudden, all these (sic) ideas that are ‘wrong’, actually turn out to be tremendous ideas that we would never have got to, if we had not had the courage to be wrong.”