This article first appeared in PR Newswire, on February 21 2018.
"For each of us, survival in an economy driven by artificial intelligence will be predicated on our digital prowess. Critical will be our ability to adapt to the crisis of the 'half-life of learned skills'. The modern workforce must develop a greater appreciation for the new realities driving the global economy or face unplanned obsolescence," says Paul Dunne, CEO and Founder of Digital Skills Academy, a leading international provider of digital training programmes. In other words, we adapt or we die.
'Dated'. 'Not fit for purpose'. 'Obsolete'. Since when did humans start being described in terms more applicable to last year's must-have tech? When it became clear that the potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to transform economy and society portends more than major efficiencies. It poses a threat to the value placed on the skills that humans can offer versus the proliferation of skills offered by machine automation.
According to technologist and author, Mark Niemann Ross, four years from now we will all have to "relearn 30% of our jobs." Tesla's Elon Musk goes even further by suggesting that 20 years from now, robots will have forced humans to choose between merging with machines or facing total obsolescence.
Is an AI-driven apocalypse on the horizon? To avoid human obsolescence we must embed today's workforce with transformational digital skills - enabling us to become 100% digitally empowered and more hybrid in our abilities.
Digital Skills not to survive but to thrive
But how can we achieve this given Bloom's Law suggesting that for IT technology skills, "the half life of a learned skill is 2 years?" This is where Continuing Professional Development (CPD) becomes an integral part of our personal and professional growth.
"Do working professionals choose to improve their digital skills through CPD in order to either survive or to thrive in our AI-driven economy?" asks Dunne. "For many, the answer is likely the former, to survive. But therein lies the problem. Learning is still all too often considered a burden rather than an opportunity for growth and this must change."
Dunne's commentary sheds light on a deeper human weakness that is often at the heart of society's ills: resistance to change.
"We like to think we're more in control of our lives than we really are. And a lot of significant things that happen to us are, for lack of a better word, random," says author, consultant and technology strategist Monique Morrow. When asked about the future of the workforce, her response is just as cold and calculated as the robots threatening to dominate the workplace of the future. "It boils down to this: what can be automated will be automated," she says. "Many jobs will be lost - making education even more valuable."
A core part of Digital Skills Academy's CPD certified Professional Diploma in Digital Innovation is equipping participants with the digital mind-set required for a career where change and flexibility are considered the norm. The programme enables participants to harness the fundamentals of digital innovation through user experience design and agile project management while focusing on the latest digital tools. It also provides participants with the opportunity to develop focused expertise with specialisation modules. Critically, participants work on a cross-functional project, enabling them to learn how to break down the siloes that inhibit digital transformation by harnessing the innovative primacy of humans through creative collaboration.
"Digital skills training must be as vibrant and ever-evolving as its subject matter, or providers will likely find themselves obsolete ten years from now," says Dunne. "It's crucial we instil an understanding that work - like life - is ever-changing. And only those willing to remain agile and adaptable, and able to embrace new learning opportunities will succeed in achieving more than mere survival. They are the ones who will thrive."
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