Saturday, February 26, 2011

How Tech Changes the Importance of Education

By: Cameron Toth

Simple Jobs

The phase out of humans for simple jobs like cashier and beverage/snack vendor has already begun.  Jobs that were traditionally filled by low skilled labor are being simply erased by technology.  Banks of checkout lines at Home Depot and your supermarket now utilize one higher skilled employee and technology to replace what four cashiers would have done before.

Machines sell you DVDs, snacks, beverages, ice cream and iPods.
Stand Alone DVD Rental Unit in Texas
Get Your Ice Cream Here
Forget your iPod and/or headphones? Pick them up here.
If you are not a creative thinker with needed skills including basic technical knowledge that allows you to customize programs and hardware you will be cleaning toilets until a machine replaces that job as well.

A note on bathrooms:
With robots that clean carpets and hard wood floors already in existence it is only a matter of time that you will have bots that are fully able to clean on a 24 hour basis eliminating the need of cleaning staff and having the added bonus to bathroom clientele of an always clean fresh smelling bathroom.  Examples of robotic innovations in the bathroom already in existence are the sensor-flush, automatic air dryers, sensor faucets and automatic air fresheners.  Before you know it there will be a hologram that offers you a mint and directs you to not waste paper resources unnecessarily.

Arts Education Becomes Especially Important 

Children from a small age must become comfortable with technology as an assistant to living and learning.  Music, dance, and design, creative writing will be the valuable commodities of the future as common tasks like auto repair, landscaping, construction, become computer and robot driven.  Emotion and talents that evoke emotion will always have a market place in human society.

As math, science, physics and all natural sciences become accessible to everyone on the planet via an internet connection it will be necessary for anyone seeking to retain a financially independent life to have a college level understanding of those topics as well as be able to communicate.  Right now these skills automatically earn you a higher income but as we approach theoretical events like the "singularity" the welfare state may be the only refuge for a person without these basic skills.

Computers will be so advanced that they will replace so many basic tasks that only the most talented humans will be retained by companies to manage machines and create new tasks and products.

From farming to supermarkets, from textiles to synthetic metals, from material mining to material design - human hands will be involved less and less.  While this paints a picture of despairing times ahead of more and more people standing in unemployment lines or rising up against the tech elite it doesn't have to be that way.

When people can increase efficiencies and manage resources a million times more effectively than we do now there will be excellent opportunities to shift our labor focus to human caring and businesses that center around improving world wide living conditions.  Our society is all about servicing each other.  As advances in medicine, urban design and food production continue so will our ability to ease human suffering around the world leading to an age of arts, advancement and universal exploration of the natural world on our planet and beyond.

The Question Now

The question now becomes "If the poor do not receive arts education in the current age of budget cuts and Science and Math education focus what competitive advantage will they have in the future?" The answer is absolutely none.  Let us hope for a cultural awakening or at the very least communities that fill the gap in arts education until government leaders start understanding the reality of the future that awaits us.

As you can see I am trying to make a point with this article.  Please help me to communicate this idea better or show me where my logic could use a little help.  As always, thank you for reading!!