The robots are coming: here’s how we can train our future generation
Matt Danswan

Matt Danswan

I actually wrote an article earlier this year on how automation was on its way and how we should train the next generation when it comes to them entering an automated society.

Well, according to this report in the South China Morning Post, they have officially arrived. China’s state-run press agency, Xinhua, has welcomed two additions to its team of journalists – two news presenters powered by artificial intelligence (AI).

Dressed in suit and tie, the AI newsreaders can ‘learn from live broadcast videos and read texts as naturally as a professional news anchor.’

The digital doppelgangers were modelled after the agency’s journalists, English-language anchor Zhang Zhao and his Chinese-language counterpart Qiu Hao, and were jointly developed by Xinhua and search engine company Sogou.com.

This is both exciting times and scary stuff. I have been watching AI closely and where it will be added into our company in the years ahead. In fact, I am meant to be at a conference on it just today, but there is too much on so unfortunately I have had to skip it.

The video above though gives you an example of just how close it is, and how serious it could be. I am not a fear monger and don’t let these things worry me, but at the same time, I have four children, all of whom are going to grow up and have to find their way through life, so I not only look at technology for my use, but through the eyes of my children and where I need to steer them.

I’m tempted at times to think that they will come and work with me and so they will be okay, but I cannot think like that because chances are they will want to do something else, and even if they all do, this thinking stops me from preparing them for the harsh realities that us adults have to face. They need to be fully prepared.

My advice as a parent is that education and communication is going to be crucial in the future. Not that it is not now, nor has it not been in the past, but in a world where all the major companies are mostly publicly listed, their number one goal is return to shareholders. How do you do that? You grow the corporation as big as you can, all the while stripping out as much cost as you can. So if the system can be automated, or done by a robot, then so be it.

Where does that leave us mere humans? It means we are the ones with the brains, the communication skills and the ability to innovate and deploy ideas. The robots might be able to do the work, but a human has to not only create the idea, but then have the communicative skills to be able to sit in meetings and boardrooms to communicate that to others.

The thinkers, the communicators, the innovators and entrepreneurs. You want to be able to do more than process someone’s direction, because chances are a robot will be able to do that. If not a robot, cheap labor in Asian countries will take the work.

So don’t be scared. Knowledge is power. Get our kids ready by getting them to think outside the square, as well as hold a decent conversation. Their future might just be riding on it.

 

Matt Danswan is the CEO of Initiate Media, publishers of My Christian Daily. He also blogs at www.mattdanswan.com. His new book NOT Business As Usual documents the story of the building of Initiate Media debt-free.

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