Coming Failure of our Educational System.

Rethinking the higher education in the time of Artificial Intelligence.

Northeastern University president Joseph Aoun was the Speaker at the Altru Salon April 16th. The topic was the second in a series that is focused on the future of work and the challenges of re-skilling our population that will be displaced by robots.

Art Bilger, founder of WorkingNation spoke at an Altru Salon in February and provided a global overview of a major challenge on the horizon that people are just beginning to comprehend.

Aoun, who has led Northeastern University, is among the most knowledgeable in the world on this subject and has a unique perspective. His book Robot Proof Higher Education in the Age of Artificial Intelligence, offers great insight into the role of higher education in a world where technology has changed the way we live, learn and work.

He argues persuasively that higher education needs to adapt to this rapidly changing world and that the current approach is grossly outdated. It focuses virtually all energy and resources on getting degrees for 18 to 22 year olds and some PhDs, but the exclusion of the rest of the population is underserved. This model can’t work in the new economy where machines are replacing workers and humans must be retrained for new roles to remain gainfully employed.

It is a serious challenge. Vast number of jobs remain unfilled whilst thousands can’t find work. There is mismatch that will lead to great hardship. Which can be avoided.

The answer is lifelong learning and experiential learning, which has been a major thrust at Northeastern. To succeed, one must become “Robot Proof.” The key is to shift towards how to marshal and interpret and creatively solve problems.

Humanic’s is the term and description that Aoun promotes as a new academic discipline that has three critical components:

  1. Technological literacy, which is the ability to understand and interact with machines.
  2. Data literacy to understand the sea of information generated by machines.
  3. Human literacy, which is integrating the human aspects that machines cannot replicate.

Aoun is a leader in this challenge globally. Click here for a transcript of his remarks.