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Coursera CEO: People will “have to learn for the rest of their lives” just to keep up with the tech economy


At the rate that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is currently advancing, it’s becoming more and more apparent that it’s going to displace many people’s livelihoods. The latest industry expert to echo this sentiment is none other than the CEO of online education company Coursera, which offers courses on a wide range of subjects taught by top instructors from around the world. In his view, it may be possible to fight back against the onslaught of AI on human jobs — but it will come at a price.

Speaking as a special guest alongside other prominent figureheads in Silicon Valley at the first town hall event organized by Recode.net and MSNBC, Coursera CEO Jeff Maggioncalda began by saying that the future of jobs and the future of education are basically converging at a point in the middle. He said it’s because of technology and globalization, which have caused businesses, jobs, and even skills to change.

But it’s not really so much that the change is happening, but the fact that the changes are happening at such faster rates than most people might be expecting, that a lot of them will end up being caught off guard by it. “And so the bad news is, there will be a lot of jobs that go away,” he explained. “Traditional skills will be less valuable and people will be dislocated.” Such will be the earliest devastating effects of full-blown AI taking over.

He then adds that people are going to have to learn for the rest of their lives in order to keep up. But that there could be a silver lining — with the loss of jobs also comes tremendous opportunities.

“The good news is, there could be a lot of opportunities and technology is making it possible,” he said. Coupled with his earlier statement about the need for people to keep learning for the rest of their lives, it becomes clear exactly what he is referring to: there could be ways to find new employment and income opportunities simply through re-training and learning special skills that could be necessary to stay relevant in a post-AI world. Even if that’s not exactly the first thing that may come to many people’s minds at the thought of a robot takeover, the choices for learning new skills are surely out there.

Coursera — an online course repository — is just one example, but internet access really could act like a sort of “great equalizer” in this regard. As Maggioncalda states, “technology is making it possible for anyone in the world to get the best education in the world,” and he said he meant that with no hyperbole.

At the moment, Coursera is working closely with its partners for opportunities to allow its users to land jobs right after finishing the courses that it offers. In that way, successful course graduates will be able to find a job in I.T. even without a degree to speak of. And there are many subjects that are — and can be —  covered by online courses.

As a matter of fact, there are even courses that can help reduce stress, anxiety and depression. At least one study conducted by researchers from Oxford University can attest to that. So if you’re not learning, at the very least, you could use them to improve your mental and physical health conditions. And that can only be a good thing.

Read more about the latest on AI in Computing.news.

Sources include:

Recode.net

NBCNews.com

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