Every day we read headlines about the pending new industrial revolution. Robots will replace most blue collar workers, and soon AI threatens many stable white collar jobs in fields such as accounting, law, or even teaching. While this revolution still has of yet to come to pass, and while AI still requires further development before it is ready to replace human knowledge workers, it is becoming evident that the workforce is at least changing, and thus we must also adapt, to thrive in the coming economic environment. In a world where information is available at the touch of a smartphone button, specific knowledge or skills are becoming less relevant, and instead we all need a range of traits, or behaviors that will allow us to work with new technologies and each other while the world changes around us. Soft skills are becoming more important than ever. But drilling down, specific soft skills will be much more valuable than others in an increasingly digitized and technologized economy. In this post, I’ll discuss 4 important soft skills that will help people to survive, and even thrive in the new (and future economy) no matter what other specific knowledge is required. They are: adaptability, networking, resilience, and lifelong learning. I’ll address each of these in turn, along with some advice on how one might build these skills. Continue reading “How to Survive in the New (Future) Economy”
Last week I mentioned that I would write a post discussing the gaps I see in current descriptions of digital literacy, particularly as it’s described in the popular press, and why a more holistic or even interdisciplinary understanding of digital literacy is needed. Well I’m back this week to continue that discussion. We must move beyond the idea that digital literacy is about teaching people how to create a website or learn to code. We need to recognize that a skills based approach to digital literacy will only serve to exacerbate certain social and democratic challenges inherent in digital communication, and we must instead consider digital literacy as something that stretches far beyond equipping students for jobs that may or may not exist in the ever-fickle digital economy. The best example, I think ,of why this is the case is the current problem of “fake news”.
“Writing Longhand” by R. Crap Mariner on Flikr
As with any new WordPress blog, the first post you see when you load it up for the first time is the ubiquitous “Hello World” post. I’m thinking of leaving that post on my blog as I write this. Not to indicate a lack of familiarity with how to edit a blog, or to demonstrate a lack of professionalism, or a sort of ambivalence to blogging, but rather, because that phrase sums up an insecurity that I think we all have regarding public writing and public scholarship in particular.