It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans. Psalm 188:8.

Everyone has heard of statistics or economics.  Statistics is the mathematical study of data. Economics involves the study of factors that affect an economy. But humanics?   Well, it’s the study of how to be human in a future world of robots and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Who knew?  When I first heard the term “humanics”, I immediately thought it made sense. It’s estimated  that close to half of the jobs in the U.S. are at risk to being replaced by AI.

Even in agriculture, which has been reliant on manual labor for centuries, robots have made significant intrusions. They now have robots to handle basic agricultural tasks such as harvesting crops at a faster pace than manual laborers.

A strawberry farmer in Florida, faced with a shrinking immigration labor force, is working with CROO to develop a robotic harvester that can tell which fruits are ripe for harvest. They are in the 5thiteration of the robot, and feel that by the 7thiteration, the robot will be marketable.

A study by Deloitte consultants shows that the use of AI and robots are accelerating.  Forty-one percent of the businesses in the study rated this topic as important, and almost half said their companies are heavily involved in automation.

Twenty four percent of respondents in the survey had projects using AI and robotics to perform routine tasks, with sixteen percent to augment human skills. Another seven percent had projects intended to restructure how work is done entirely.

Andrew Ng, a pioneer in the AI field, says that AI is already transforming nearly every industry. Looking into the future, Ng has focused on trying to set up an educational system (K-12) which will give people the skills they need to succeed in an economy that is being changed by AI.

Which brings me back to humanics. Joseph E. Aoun, the president of Northeastern University has developed a humanics curriculum  which reinvents the college education into something that is robot-proof.  It is aimed at developing new skills in an age where other jobs may become obsolete or replaced by AI or robots.

The Northeastern curriculum emphasizes unique literacy skills that are not likely to be replaced by AI or robots. They include creativity, cultural agility, entrepreneurship, empathy and teamwork. The idea is to teach for jobs that only humans can perform.

Northeastern also excels in its famous co-op program where students pair classroom studies with full-time work in career related jobs for at least 6 months. It’s a hands-on experience, not just content transfer in a classroom.

Aoun goes on the say that “experiential education”  is the most powerful way to learn and the “ideal delivery system” for the humanics curriculum.

The next generation is faced with the challenges that AI and robotics will bring to job security in the future. Driverless cars or trucks may replace those jobs.  3D Printers are another disruptive technology that is already making its mark.

It’s not just low skilled manual jobs that are at stake. AI can analyze stocks or data, advise oncologists, do legal research and other high-skilled functions.

Guiding the next generation into a world of potential job obsolescence takes a steady hand with an eye on future trends which are likely to impact their careers and lives. I find it ironic that the key to success in a future world dominated by AI and robots is to become more human.

 MENTOR TAKEAWAY:  Mentors should learn about AI and how it will impact the next generation. That knowledge will put you in a better position to help your mentee.

FURTHER STUDY: Andrew Ng Interview in Forbes Magazine.

Interview of James Aoun in Forbes on a robot-proof career.

Deloitte Article: “Is Artificial Intelligence Poised to Disrupt Your Industry?”

Deloitte study of impact of AI on Swiss Economy

WORSHIP: Listen to Shine Like Stars which tells us that “hope is not that far away”

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RESOURCES: Aoun’s book: Robot-Proof: Higher Education in the Age of Artificial Intelligence.

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