The robots are coming and you better be prepared. They might not wipe out humanity, but they will certainly be gunning for your job.
In a world where artificial intelligence and robots will be able to carry out many of the tasks currently done by humans, a special set of skills will allow a certain set of people to thrive.
The importance of being able to take in lots of information from various sources and then apply it in different ways will only rise. The people who are able to do this effectively will be rewarded.
With the world changing at the speed of light and becoming more and more unpredictable, the ability to work in a multi-disciplinary and agile way will make a person anti-fragile. Their value will skyrocket.
The key will be to make sense of things quickly, and then embark on a course of action. You will have to take in information, determine what it means, and then make a decision based on this information.
What skills and abilities are necessary for this?
Take in information stage: curiosity, know how to deal with information (especially in an era of information overload and fake news).
Determine what it means stage: creativity, abstract thinking skills, critical thinking, logical reasoning.
Make a decision: problem solving skills, emotional intelligence (not fall for biases).
Joseph Aoun, educator and author of the book “Robot-Proof: Higher Education in the Age of Artificial Intelligence” believes that the way to be able to do all this is to change the way you learn.
He proposed a new curriculum which is based on life-long learning and called it “humanics”. This involves an integration of technical and non-technical skills. A set of technical literacies (like working with data, and other technical skills), should be complemented with a set of human literacies (like creativity and psychology).
“When I talk to business leaders, they tell me that they are seeking people with strong technical skills. But most of them quickly add that they also would give their right arm for more systems thinkers—“quarterbacks” who can lead diverse teams by seeing across disciplines to analyze them in an integrated way. And every student should be culturally agile, able to communicate across boundaries, and think ethically.”
The way you will get ahead is if you construct a learning curriculum for yourself, which will combine different skills, abilities and knowledge areas.
All these things are very relevant for each other. Knowledge is a set of facts and theories that serve as the fundamental inputs for skills.
If you want to apply skills in order to do a certain activity, then you need to have a certain amount of knowledge in order to do that.
Skills can be subdivided into generic cross-functional skills, and technical skills.
Generic skills consist of two types: cognitive (to do with information-processing and problem-solving), and non-cognitive skills (social skills like giving presentations and behavioral skills like perseverance). These can be easily transferred from one job to another.
Technical skills on the other hand, usually consist of job-specific skills and cannot be transferred so easily.
Abilities are the capabilities (physical or mental) that are needed in order to perform a job.
Which knowledge areas, skills and abilities do you need for future work and how do you get them? We will use the O*NET groupings of skills (and their definitions) in order to examine this further.
The first thing that you need is to know how to learn. This came up as a highly important skill among the various surveys, but is also fundamental if you want to be able to improve your skills and knowledge.