Sorry I didn't post on Tuesday. Here's the "Thursday Thoughts." This was written as a response to CGP Grey's video "Humans Need Not Apply."
Life today differs greatly from life a century or two ago. One of the biggest changes is the machines. We no longer use horses as the major source of transportation, nor do we need as many people to work in agriculture. We have made machines that drive us, that work the ground, that carry things from place to place. This all has made manual labor less in demand and mental labor more in demand. Now we might be coming to an age when even mental labor is not needed that much.
It might seem that machines with minds and at least some of the five sense are science fiction. Indeed, there have been many predictions about them that have not come true. An example of this is the film Back to the Future. However, some things are not just objectives and goals of programmers anymore. They are reality. From self-driving cars to virtual doctors to coffee made entirely by machines in a network that remembers your favorites, we are entering an entirely new arena. As we do we need to remember that, as creatures made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27), we will always be loved by Him (Romans 8:38-39). He has a plan for us (Jeremiah 29:11); we need not be afraid for He is always with us (Joshua 1:9).
I’ll look at two professions that have a prospect to change dramatically and soon. High school teaching can be very much affected by automation. More and more classes can be done online, making the need for teachers less. It is said that employment will increase 6% over the 2012-2022 decade, which is less than the average1. The reasons said to be behind it were a smaller student-to-faculty ratio and an increased number of students. However, the webpage didn’t seem to take under account the numerous possibilities and challenges online learning has brought upon us. Today one teacher can teach many students without having to ever engage with them personally. This has impacted education at the college level, and we should be ready for it to impact high school also. Teachers need to understand technology and how to implement it in the classroom. Some should be ready to enter online teaching. However, as Bill Gates said, “Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important.”
Writers and authors have an even smaller projected growth, only 3%2. It is thought that the publishing industry will decrease. However, there are online outlets available to almost anyone from self-publishing to websites to blogs. There are, supposedly, machines that can even make creative work. However, God has made us in His image (Genesis 1:27). I believe that no machine will ever completely annihilate our creative expression of ourselves.
New skills and abilities will be important as we enter the age of even more technology. If/when I become a teacher, I hope to learn technological skills to keep my classroom up-to-date. However, the person factor is just too important for all teachers to leave the classroom altogether, and I’m not planning on doing that. As a writer, my first priority is to produce good material. If I do not do that, there is no purpose to learning where to post it and how to promote myself. These are important things, but they are secondary.
As we are enveloped by technology we need to remember that technology is not God. It cannot do everything. Another Bill Gates quote says, “The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.” Many stuff will still depend on people, and we know that everything depends on God (Romans 9:16). Everything is in his hands (Job 12:10).
What about you? What do you think about the amount of technology around us? What is some other area that you feel afraid of but know that God is in control?