Food for Thought Friday: What does the future hold for our students?

by Kristie Burk

A few weeks ago, I read an article in the newspaper called “America’s Dazzling Tech Boom Has a Downside: Not Enough Jobs” by Jon Hilsenrath and Bob Davis.  The statistics in the article are amazing, but here are some numbers that really caught my attention:

“The five largest U.S.-based technology companies by stock-market value—Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, Facebook and Oracle Corp. —are worth a combined $1.8 trillion today. That is 80% more than the five largest tech companies in 2000.

Today’s five giants have 22% fewer workers than their predecessors” – Jon Hilsenrath & Bob Davis

This reduction in labor is due, in no small part, to the automation of many tasks to robots. These robots could take away “as much as $2 trillion worth of human economic activity in coming years,” writes Hilsenrath and Davis.

What does this mean for our students? What kind of future are they facing? I think the authors summarize it well when they predict:

“The spoils of growth go to those few people with skills and luck and who are best positioned to take advantage of new technology.” – Jon Hilsenrath & Bob Davis

And so what does that mean for us, the educators? We need to know and to understand this reality.

Hilsenrath and Davis say that it takes “luck,” but we need to focus on the skills to make sure that our students are well-prepared, including the 4 C’s — critical thinking, creativity, communication, and collaboration.

…a little food for thought this Friday!



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