The Future is Here. Are We Ready?

The Future is Here. Are We Ready?

Let’s play a game! Would you rather…

Your furbaby is acting strangely. And it’s not like her. She threw up earlier in the day, but you figured that dogs/cats do that sometimes. But now it’s midnight and she’s acting…weird. Not like herself. And she hasn’t touched her dinner. You don’t have a ton of extra money, but your little furbaby girl means the world to you…and your human daughter is on the verge of tears.

Would you rather:

a) make a midnight visit to your local vet or

b) make a quick online consult with a vet to see if you even need to call your local doctor?

I know which one I’d feel less silly using. I mean, you’re not made of money. And what if it’s really no big deal? I’m gonna bother my doctor? At midnight? And pay midnight emergency bills? Nope. I’ve Googled the symptoms and they all tell me 2 things: She’s either totally ok or she’s about to die a horrible death. There seems to be no in between.

But wait. I heard that there’s this online veterinarian consultant that’s more than just Googling. And costs WAAAYY less than a midnight vet visit. 

So I go there.

Let’s say their advice was good and my champion furbaby is all better. Happy times have returned. YAY! Except this flea & tick medicine isn’t working as well as I wish it would. I wonder what an expert would recommend?

I called the consult at midnight and it worked. I’ll bet it’s probably good for lesser emergencies too, right? That I used to visit the vet for? And it’s way more trustworthy than just Googling ads.

And that becomes one less office call to my local vet. 

Friends, we’re looking not at the future of service. We’re looking at the now. And I’m not advocating for this. I’m also not saying it’s a bad thing.

I AM saying it’s a reality. It’s not even coming…it’s HERE.

And eventually, if/when this really catches on, some vets offices will either have to shift or go out of business. 

So what might this mean for local vets?

What might this mean for vet training programs?

What might this mean for kids wanting to become vets?

Looking at future trends in service and automation has become a bit of a … well more than a hobby for me. Over the past 2-3 years, it’s become one of the things I think about and research on a weekly, if not daily, basis. As an educator, we say we’re preparing our kids for their future. But I’m finding, the more I dig into these topics, that many people don’t even know what is currently going on in the world of industry automation and shifts in the job market due to current and emerging technology.

As William Gibson, author and father of the cyberpunk genre of science fiction, and who has studied future trends for decades says, “The future is here. It’s just not widely distributed.”

I think about this quote as I see flying cars rolling into production and being employed as taxis in Dubai and Shanghai. I think about this as I see Hyperloop becoming reality, and disrupting the trucking and railroad industries. When I see virtual assistants like Amelia disrupting the massive call center industry. As digital screening for cancer becomes more successful at detection than traditional methods. You see, not all automation is bad. In fact, it’s got good and bad parts to it. And we can maximize the good, while minimizing negative impacts by being ready.

One such way to be ready is to consider the following: as educators who say we’re preparing kids for life and careers, are we aware of what cutting edge modern industry is doing to the job search traditions?

And before we say, “But not all kids are going to be doing that cutting edge work. Our world will still need…” You’re absolutely right.

And you’re absolutely wrong.

Let’s see what Bloomberg has to say about jobs we say we’re currently preparing our kids for: Find out if your job is at risk for automation

Are you still offering accounting classes at your school? Why? (see above link). What we thought were solid job choices even 5 years ago might be at risk now.

Are we truly preparing our kids? Because I don’t have a crystal ball that works and I’ll bet you don’t either. Should we just throw our hands in the air? or keep playing the game til someone shows us where the wheel has landed? (hint…it won’t land) What should we do?

I think I know. I think we want to stop creating students and begin earnestly creating learners. Because those two things aren’t the same thing, are they? And I know how to do that. To create kids who are flexible learners. Who are self-starters. Who are actual and true problem-solvers. Because I’ve done it. And am still doing it, now helping teachers figure out the daily realities of what it takes in the classroom.

If you want this for your students, and for your colleagues, please reach out. I want to help. Because this is what keeps me up at night … and going all day long.

Also, here are some of the slides that I showed as part of a poster presentation I just did in Chicago at ISTE 2018. ISTE 2018 Future is here Flying Cars

Conversations with educators, parents, community members, and students are important. It can make a difference. Because maybe the future is here and maybe it’s not yet distributed to your part of the country, doesn’t mean it isn’t coming. Or that your students won’t go to it. Let’s be ready. 

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Written by GingerLewman

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