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The Education Futures Blog

In an increasingly AI-driven world, understanding the transformation of skills and competencies is crucial for steering our educational and professional landscapes towards future relevance and success. The chart below categorizes skills and competencies into three distinct spheres: those being replaced by generative artificial intelligence, those that may be replaced by artificial general intelligence, and those inherently human traits that remain irreplaceable by AI.

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Generative artificial intelligence is transforming the landscape of skills that are procedural or rule-based. From information retrieval, once a meticulous task for researchers, to the everyday assistance provided by customer support teams, AI is stepping in. This allows for increased efficiency and the freeing up of human intellect for more complex pursuits. Education, programming, and even technical diagnostics are areas where generative AI can provide task assistance, supplementing human roles rather than completely replacing them. However, this shift prompts a crucial question: how do we redefine these roles to leverage AI's capabilities while fostering human skills that go beyond the procedural?

The promise (or threat, depending on one's perspective) of artificial general intelligence (AGI) lies in its potential to perform complex problem-solving and exhibit advanced cognitive skills akin to human-like understanding. With AGI, even the realms of strategic planning, complex project management, and full medical diagnostics could be revolutionized. Human-like interaction and caregiving, areas deeply rooted in empathy and social understanding, may see a form of replacement by AGI, pushing us to reflect on what it means to be human in a world where machines can mimic our cognitive processes.

In parallel, we need to engage in a conversation about our focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and STEM (STEM + Arts). While STEM skills are undeniably vital in driving innovation and understanding the mechanics behind AI and AGI, we must ask ourselves if we're looking at education through a narrow lens. The reality is, as AI becomes more capable of performing tasks traditionally reserved for STEM professionals, the unique value of purely technical skills may have limited value.

Humans that focus on becoming more human will thrive

Most importantly, we need to focus on what makes distinctly human: our natural curiosity, the ability to create art with emotion, and cultural nuance – AI can't replicate these. Emotional intelligence, ethical musings, those ‘gut feelings’ – these are all part of our human wiring that cannot be coded in silicon. Humanistic, artistic creativity, which resonates with our shared experiences, stands apart from the creativity exhibited by AI, which lacks the profundity of human emotion and cultural context. Emotional intelligence, moral and philosophical reasoning, and intuitive decision-making are facets of our humanity that are intricately connected to our consciousness and lived experiences. Compassion and the dexterity of the human body highlight the uniqueness of human interaction and physicality, aspects that are deeply intertwined with our nature.

With all this in mind, must pivot our learning and training. The mission is not to beat AI; it's about working with it. Think of AI as the ultimate assistant, and humans need to be the directors, the strategists, and the creators. Our education should reflect that, pushing the development skills that AI cannot replicate.

The bottom line is we shoud not just be STEM or STEAM enthusiasts; we should be advocates for a human-centered education that prepares individuals to harness AI and AGI as tools. These technologies should amplify our human capacities, not replace them. As we look toward the future, we must cultivate knowmads—those who are creative, imaginative, and innovative, and who can navigate the knowledge and information spaces with agility.