A recent post (Osborn, 2016) on singularityhub.com has me considering the future of employment in an increasingly automated society. American author, inventor and futurist, Ray Kurzweil, shares this highly optimistic view of the effects our technological advances will bring in the future. His many prediction include the idea that in the early 21st century automation will lower working hours and free most people from menial work, allowing most around the world to make better use of their creativity and pursue their passions (Kurzweil, 1999).
In contrast a darker possibility of the future has been described by many. Current trends indicate that while productivity is increasing, employment opportunities are decreasing (Rotman, 2013). If these trends continue, wealth will become even more consolidated into the hands of a few elite and there will be less chance of the benefits of technological advancement, that have been achieved through the effort of virtually all throughout history, being shared among all of humanity.
This trend is evident in online forms of education as technology is allowing more students to by taught by lower numbers of teaching staff. This is not to say that the workload of those teaching online courses is becoming less, only that those employed in these jobs are capable of providing education to greater numbers of students and geographical location becoming less of a hindrance to learning every day.
As a teacher, this will mean I will have to continue to adapt to new educational technologies and an increasing pace. It will also mean that I will need to prepare students for a future economy that no one is able to predict accurately. Whatever the future holds, I believe that the abilities to critically analyse and independently learn will be of great value.
Kurzweil, R. (1999). The age of spiritual machines. New York: Viking.
Osborn, S. (2016). The End of Meaningless Jobs Will Unleash the World’s Creativity. Singularity HUB. Retrieved 24 August 2016, from http://singularityhub.com/2016/08/23/the-end-of-meaningless-jobs-will-unleash-the-worlds-creativity/
Rotman, D. (2013). How Technology Is Destroying Jobs. MIT Technology Review. Retrieved 24 August 2016, from https://www.technologyreview.com/s/515926/how-technology-is-destroying-jobs/