Sunday, June 3, 2018

The Fourth Industrial Revolution and Religious Faith

St. Peter probably was puzzled when asked to change his occupation from fisherman to disciple. The writer of this column in the Catholic Peace Weekly also changed his job a dozen times. In high school, he dreamed of being a doctor. At that time Medical and Engineering Colleges would not accept the handicapped or even allow them to take the entrance examinations.

He finally did get a degree in Korean literature and felt that teaching was the most stable job open to him. He went on to graduate school and lecturing. School positions for the disabled were closed at that time. He was early on challenged and faced many disappointments. The discrimination against the disabled he found difficult to accept. Helen Keller's words that when the human door is closed, God opens a widow; he found valid in his case. He became economically independent, winning a literature prize that started him off with a bestseller.

Fortunately, the bestseller, made his name known. As a family man with children, he was drawn to children's books. He felt the books on the market left a lot to be desired. He was successful with his first children's book, selling the most that year and making that his career.

However, a  strange result of the popularity that came was the invitation to give lectures all over the country. Persons wanted to meet the author of the books. In the beginning, it was a few lectures but with the passage of time, now it is more than 300 times a year. If I say I am a lecturer there is little that would contradict this—a  far cry from the desire to be a doctor while in high school.

Everybody is preparing for the age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. No one knows how life will change. It will come for sure but we are full of insecurities on how to face the new age. Artificial intelligence, robots, and new technologies will replace the role of humans who will lose their jobs.

When people talk about their dreams it's usually their jobs. Now it is difficult for a career to become a dream. We don't know what jobs will be made and which ones will disappear. This is the question of many parents. What do we teach our children? If robots and artificial intelligence do it all—what do they teach in the schools? No safe jobs in the future. Doctors, lawyers, pharmacists, entrepreneurs are all in crisis, the simple laborers all the more so.

Jesus' apostles abandoned their profession and as if hit by lighting began a new life. Our writer never dreamed that he would move around the country as a lecturer. We need always be ready to cope with the new circumstances that come our way. That is the mindset that we need and to pray for an openness to accept the situation. We will need the flexibility to do our best whatever it is. Like Peter who left his net, we must prepare to go boldly toward a new life holding on to our faith.

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