Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Fourth Industrial Revolution

In the Catholic Peace Weekly, a professor writes about artificial intelligence, Internet thing, (Internet of things) big data, all connected with the fourth industrial revolution-- cyber-physical systems and what they will mean for colleges and universities. We have already been affected with repercussions from the new wave influencing every area of our lives.

Colleges which have been the leaders in learning are now in the middle of the changes and reform. Ironically the knife of change is aiming at these schools of higher learning. The synonym for knowledge online is Wikipedia. Online we have the spread of popular free lectures on MOOC  (Massive Open Online Course). Deep Learning (machine learning) evolving new learning is putting pressure on the colleges to come up with new paradigms.

Artificial intelligence and 'Internet thing' join together with marketing and education are in a position to take away jobs from college graduates. The old pyramid like systems of the past, ignoring the middle classes and slimming down is what we are seeing. Colleges still are working with the old fashion textbook model of learning when society is looking for a creative workforce. We don't have harmony between what our colleges are producing and what society needs.

Moreover, with the widespread MOOC, we have the ability to hear first class scholars with translations,  all free on the internet: a vast treasure of knowledge open to all. At one time what was the prerogative of our universities is no longer the case. Consequently, we have the schools of learning wanting to be more in harmony with the demands of society in their course of studies: mergers, educating for cooperation and creativity, problem-solving.

However, if this reform is only of structures, they will not withstand the encounter from the 4th industrial revolution. With the continuance of the four-year bachelor's system, colleges will not produce graduates society requires: no harmony between demand and supply. The need is to educate for the practical world that they will be entering.

An English inventor James Dyson is investing his money in an engineering school. Dyson Institue of Technology will open this year in the fall. Unlike other schools, there is no tuition, and working together with their teachers, students will be given a salary. What they produce will be sold and with the profits, the running of the school. The professor sees this as a sign of the future and the direction the colleges need to go.

Colleges are no longer the ivory towers of learning. Colleges will no longer be the only ones educating those entering society. Without this change in the curriculum, the present colleges will disappear.

The dilemma, however, will be the education for the workforce in answer to the demands of society or the search for maturity and wisdom. Fortunately, the internet world and cyberspace are able to supply the demands of individuals who want an education in wisdom.