It seems that as students attend school, many of them become skilled learners. And that’s not to say that they are really learning, rather they are learning how to learn the things that will get them good grades. But is this really what we want from our students?
Are Students Becoming Automated?
For over a century, we have created industrial workers that are nothing more than human automatons which are built solely for the task of monotonous labor that is not quite doable by robots yet. And we are operating within the mindset of teaching our students the exact way that we would program a machine. Sometime during the 20th century, schools started becoming places for information uploads where students were filled up with the proper data in order to function as gears within the industrial machinery of America, much like a walking hard drive if you will.
There is no doubt that today’s mass production has accomplished more than just increasing efficiency. It has sliced up tasks into simpler and smaller components to the point where one little job could be performed repeatedly every single day without any thought or even knowledge. It is hard to imagine a time many years ago, when our shoes were actually created by hand, and it took the skills of one knowledgeable person who then constructed the whole shoe. And then over time, literally hundreds of workers got involved in the making of a shoe. Each person was unskilled, but repeated one single task required in making the shoe and all of them collectively make hundreds, if not thousands of shoes every single day.
Retooling Our Education Systems
The promotion of automating humans really should end. No doubt that we are faced with an automated world, but our education systems must be retooled and restructured to teach our children how to think for themselves instead teaching them what to think. Generation after generation goes through the motion of memorizing facts that do not really add much value to the world.
The challenge should not be who can store the most information, but who can process that information properly or better yet, creatively. The information itself is not the issue; the issue is to learn what to do with the information. We need to become teachers of curiosity, creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, and analytical thinking. Cultivating a passion for learning itself is very vital to the transition from the industrial age over to the automation age. Our children must discover ways to collaborate and empathize along with other human beings. Being human should not be someone by themselves performing a single task, they should be a part of humanity and making contributions in an infinite number of ways.
So when people begin discussing the future of their work, they are usually referring to the future of their paid labor. But it is very important that in the future, all forms of work must be recognized. Such as when someone decides to edit Wikipedia, they are making a contribution for the great good of society. This work is just as important as paid work.
This is why society would improve if everyone could receive an unconditional base income such as cash stipends that would start each person over the poverty limit every month. This could be a major component of future work. This way, as paid work becomes automated, humans will be to focus more work that needs to be done.