As technology continues to advance, robots and automation are becoming increasingly present in our lives. You may have a robot vacuum cleaner at home and more and more people are buying robot lawnmowers. Not only does this make life much easier but the artificial intelligence and automation of these robots almost let them function with very little human intervention. These facts may distress many people as some jobs may be replaced by these robotic workers who never take sick days and can work day and night.
This means that students today need to be equipped with the skills and knowledge to thrive in a world where robots play a significant role. Here are some ways students can prepare for this future:
1. Study science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects:
Robots and automation are built on advanced technologies and require expertise in these fields to design, develop, and maintain them. Studying STEM subjects will help students acquire the foundational knowledge they need to understand and work with robots. This understanding will aid them in using the robots rather than being replaced by them.
2. Learn programming:
Programming is the language of robots and is critical to their development and use. Learning to code will equip students with the skills they need to control and interact with robots, as well as create their own algorithms and applications. There are many moral and ethical questions surrounding the use of robots and the programmers set the parameters for their use.
3. Develop problem-solving skills:
Robots can only perform the tasks they are programmed to do. Students need to be able to identify problems, analyze data, and develop creative solutions to make robots work effectively. The famous billionaire, founder of Alibaba, Jack Ma, famously challenged young people to become less like robots so that they will not be able to be replaced by robots.
4. Embrace change and adaptability:
The field of robotics is rapidly evolving, and students need to be flexible and able to adapt to new technologies and methodologies as they arise. Being open-minded and willing to learn new things is essential in this field. Early exposure and an understanding of how these technologies will give your child the insight in how to interact with and use robots rather than be scared of them.
5. Learn about ethics and the social impact of robots:
As robots become more integrated into our lives, it’s important to understand the ethical and social implications of their use. This includes issues like privacy, job displacement, and the impact of automation on society as a whole. People of the future will have to be advocates for the responsible use of robots so that they can be of benefit rather than harm society.
6. Pursue hands-on experience:
The best way to learn about robots is by working with them. Participating in robotics clubs, competitions, or internships can provide students with practical experience and help them develop a deeper understanding of the field. Most children are genuinely interested and love to play with new technology to see what it can do.
Every time a life-changing technology enters the mainstream it leads to feelings of uncertainty and sometimes outright resistance. The best thing we can do is to prepare our children to understand and control the technology to their benefit rather than fear it.
At Glasshouse Christian College we try to use this proactive approach to prepare and inform our students of these changes and the potential effects they may have.
I hope that you will be both challenged and excited by the prospect of guiding your children into this uncharted, brave new world.
Bert Kasselman, Head of Senior School