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What Would You Like to be Doing?

I ran across this Guardian article (Reboot: Adidas to make shoes in Germany again – but using robots) yesterday morning and posted it to my Facebook timeline immediately.  I wrote, “The manufacturing jobs that once brought prosperity to many of our towns and cities will not be coming back, if this article represents a trend – and there’s no reason to think it does not.”

There is a caption on the Guardian page that reads,

If robots are the future of work, where do humans fit in?”1

I think this is an interesting question – and it should not necessarily make us afraid.  Why not consider it an opportunity.  If we no longer need the economic contribution of every adult to make our national economies work, then a lot of us, a whole lot of us, will be freed.  I do not make this statement lightly.  Having mostly retired from kmy work life, I have experienced some of the inevitable depression that comes from reflecting on how much my work has dominated more than half of my 60+ years – and I’ve had the most interesting career that I can imagine.  It seems to me that working for a living, as a necessity,  is a bit unfair – not that I would give up any of my time in the field of education.

Perhaps the more interesting question should be, “What would you like to be doing?”

If the answer is, “Getting stoned and watching TV.”  Then we have a problem, and I have no doubt that this would be a common answer.  Assuming that I am right, I would suggest that one of most important goals of our public schools in the near future might be, assuring that for our students, the answer to that question is something a lot more productive and interesting.

I ran across this article, just minutes after posting this entry: iPhone manufacturer Foxconn is replacing 60,000 workers with robots

1France-Presse, A. (2016, May 24). Reboot: Adidas to make shoes in Germany again – but using robots. The Guardian [London]. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/may/25/adidas-to-sell-robot-made-shoes-from-2017

Comments

  • Olivia McCutcheon

    I am one of the many movie viewers who looks at the setting of the world in the movie and think “Why can’t the world be like that?”. I detest the feeling I get sometimes that I am just living to work, pay bills, and die. It is honestly not fair that half of a person’s life is spent working hard and by the time that person retires they are too old to do things they once wanted to do. By the time I am ready to retire, there will be no retirement left therefore I will probably be working till the day I die. I want to travel and take my family to places we could only imagine in our dreams, and most importantly actually have time for family time instead of working all day or night and squeezing a little family time in when you are not too exhausted. I realize that last wish is generic, but honestly in a family where both parents work 40+ hours a week and maybe even have college on the side, where is the family time? I hope this opportunity you speak of comes soon. I would love to do more than work, pay bills, and die.

  • Meaghan Britton

    I believe that even if I didn’t HAVE to work that I still would. I have been working around students since I graduated high school and I absolutely love it, so I know that I will love being a teacher. Being a teacher will bring me joy. I say this because I will get to see all my students go from point A to point B in my classroom. I will have the privilege of being able to make an impact in their lives throughout the year and be their voice of encouragement when I need to be. I think if I didn’t work that I would become bored. I have always worked and I enjoy working. So as long as I am working doing what I enjoy (teaching) then I will be happy.

  • Andrew Krul

    A pertinent article when I daily hear the Republican candidate for President daily lamenting the loss of jobs to China and Mexico. What is lost in the noise is that automation is responsible in large part for the shift in the work force. I attended an apprenticeship conference in Vancouver, British Columbia where one of the keynote speakers dealt with these changes, how they will impact apprenticeship training, and what this means for high school students and teachers. The message was clear: “We need students with computer programming skills in most of the 21st Century trades.” This may seem obvious but when I, as the apprenticeship coordinator speak to prospective apprenticeship students in my school district, they frequently view the trades as being separated from these skills. To dispel part of this myth, I took ten students on a tour of welding, machine and cabinet shops. At the cabinet shop, students stood in amazement watching the half million dollar CNC machine cut through a two inch granite counter top. At the machine shop a driveshaft was being turned by a laptop computer. At the welding shop, a tank for the oilfields was welded with a robotic welder-the welder, no welding mask in sight, was in a booth, monitoring the computer. To say that the students were astounded is an understatement. They left with a clear understanding of the exciting employment opportunities and the need to develop those tech. skills employers will be looking for. As one employer noted when I asked him what he was looking for in an employee, he said: “not someone who can weld, but someone who can program.”


Photo taken by Ewan McIntosh in a Taxi in Shanghai

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Cultivating Your Personal Learning Network
2nd Edition (2012)

Redefining Literacy 2.0 (2008)
Classroom Blogging
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Raw Materials for the Mind
(2005)

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