The digital revolution will eliminate 50% of today’s jobs over the next 10 years. Who would have thought just a few years ago that we would be recruiting growth hackers, data scientists and full stack developers! Artificial intelligence is slowly transforming the world we live in and the way we work. So, how do we face robots and coding experts? We train, train, and train some more.
The future of work
Technology is advancing at lightning speed. Just recently, artificial intelligence outplayed professional poker players. What’s astonishing is that it took computers only a few months to learn how to beat humans at poker after beating them at Go. Whereas in the past, it’s taken computers up to 20 years to beat humans at Go after beating them at chess. According to the researchers who developed the AI poker champion as part of Carnegie Mellon University’s AI programme, this technology could be used to “negotiate business deals, set military strategy or plan medical treatment,” and much more.
As a result of this technological catch-up, we should not simply rely on our acquired knowledge or consider university programmes as the be-all and end-all of training. We must recognise early on that our careers are destined to change or evolve, and thus stop accumulating industry-specific capital (knowledge and experience) that may end up being poor investments. This reasoning goes completely against traditional education and training system. Clara Delétraz, co-founder of Switch Collective (a French cutting-edge program to help people change careers), has said this repeatedly: “We are still strongly set on an archaic work model, where 1 diploma = 1 profession = 1 career, thus leaving little room for change.”
We are still strongly set on an archaic work model, where 1 diploma = 1 profession = 1 career, thus leaving little room for change
The digital transformation affects all industries and spares no professions. For example, a large part of journalistic work can now be carried out by robots, as proven by Flint. Benoît Raphaël, co-founder of Lab d’Europe 1 and Plus de L’Obs, describes Flint as “a personalised newsletter made with love by artificial intelligence.”
Machines can also be used to monitor quality. We must challenge the way in which we work and update our technological tools regularly to stay ahead of the curve in the future of work.
So how do we keep up with AI?
Learning how to learn
Oussama Ammar, co-founder of TheFamily, starts off his “Learning How to Learn” conference with the following: “We’ve gone from a world where everything you didn’t know was extremely valuable, to a world where everything you don’t know is available in your smartphone.” There are even neuroscience MOOCs that promise to teach you how to learn in just four weeks. Participants can take full advantage of these online courses to learn about the brain’s different learning styles, memorisation techniques, and the importance of dividing up information.
Today, people can acquire new competencies or hone existing skills thanks to online training that is available in all forms, for all levels, and conducted by both professionals and amateurs. Webinars, MOOC, e-learning, tutorials … the possibilities are endless!
Employees no longer aim to be ‘employed’ but rather to remain ‘employable’
Surveys conducted in the United States and in France reveal that skill development is the biggest motivational factor for taking such courses. According to Jean Condé, PhD student at ENS Cachan carrying out research on MOOCs, “employees no longer aim to be ‘employed’ but rather to remain ‘employable’. They aim to maintain a sufficient level of competence to stay competitive in an uncertain and fluctuating labour market.” This is evidenced by the success of Rémi Bachelet’s online course on project management. With over 140,000 registered learners, his course was elected Most Popular MOOC in January. At the end of the course, learners receive a certificate of completion or university credits. This serves as proof for employers that the training was successfully completed. In 2016 alone, 313 MOOCs were launched and 2.4 million learners were registered in France.
However, it’s important to have a solid educational background before signing up for training left and right. We need to radically change our views on education and accept the fact that it’s okay to change majors and explore other options. We should take after our Scandinavian and Anglo-Saxon neighbours and encourage students to take a gap year after high school to learn a new language, explore their interests and develop a purpose for their future. According to the Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education in Oslo, more than half of graduating high schoolers in Denmark and Norway take a gap year.