17 Apr Disruptive Power Of GPT4 In The Job Market: What Can Parents And Educators Do?
With almost one-fifth of the world’s population residing in India and almost half of the world’s youth under the age of 25, we are facing a significant challenge with the emergence of GPT4 and Large Language Models (LLMs). To adapt to this rapidly changing landscape, our education institutions must make a dramatic shift. If educators and parents in India do not give this issue the desired attention and act fast, our children may lag behind the world.
Economists talked about K-shaped recovery in the post-pandemic world, and I see a K-shaped future awaits youngsters in the job market. In the 21st century, success will belong to those who are curious, self-motivated, independent and willing to experiment, even if it means taking risks. The job market will be unforgiving to those who need a predefined direction and a clearly marked path for professional growth. This article aims to invite parents and educators to rethink their approach to education and career development.
In the current times, the world seems to be divided in the middle. Scores of technology enthusiasts and believers in the super human power of AI are rooting for the dawn of a new age that will transform the world and society at a scale that we haven’t envisaged. On the other side is a worried lot. This section is not some atavistic individuals living in caves but in fact, are some of the brightest minds. In the last few weeks, there have been spates of news reports after the launch of GPT4. Yes, as expected, it is now integrated in Bing with the effect that the search engine now offers superior results in the chat mode. But there are a few other announcements that are worth thinking about- especially for parents/educators to envisage a new kind of future for their children/students. What are its implications when you are making decisions regarding future education and career choices?
An open letter, Pause Giant AI Experiment, published by the think tank, Future of Life, and signed by thousands of opinion leaders like Elon Musk, Steve Wozniak, Yuval Harari, has asked for a six month halt to develop guardrails for further development of Large Language Models (LLMs) beyond GPT4. The letter asked “AI labs and independent experts to use this pause to jointly develop and implement a set of shared safety protocols overseen by independent experts.” The letter received industry wide support and was signed by engineers from Microsoft, Amazon, Deepmind, Meta, Google. It also received support from Eliezer Yudkowsky, a doyen in the field of AGI, who has asked for a complete shutdown on AI work in an article.
On the other hand, techno-optimists have tried to decry all such efforts to stall the AI research. In a recent online conversation between Stanford professor, founder of DeepLearing.ai, Andrew Ng and Yann LeCun VP & Chief AI scientist at Meta have tried to make a distinction between AI research and product development: research needs to continue but some supervision is required for product development. In fact, Yann has labelled the other side as “AI Doomers”.
In all this tit for tat, has the horse already bolted? Is the genie out of the bottle now? Is AI closer than ever to showing signs of AGI (Artificial General Intelligence)? Two of the leading AI researchers from Microsoft, Sebastien Bubeck and Peter Lee, have given talks on the directions that LLMs are progressing. The usual cliche that ‘it is both exciting and scary’ summarises the response of most of us. That is for the next blog. As for now, let’s look at the specific implications of LLMs in the context of the job market. As parents, how do we steer the school and college education of our children in this new scenario?
The first glimpse of it came from a research paper by OpenAI and the University of Pennsylvania that postulates the impact of LLMs on more than 80% of the US workforce. This research found that there has been a significant enhancement in GPT 4 capabilities to score in exams like AP Calculus and GRE Quantitative.
So far, it was believed that humans have a moat in the form of language skills and strong technical skills. However, this report finds a positive correlation where fields like writing and programming may get impacted. The report says:
“Our analysis indicates that approximately 19% of jobs have at least 50% of their tasks exposed when considering both current model capabilities and anticipated tools built upon them. Accounting for other generative models and complementary technologies, our human estimates indicate that up to 49% of workers could have half or more of their tasks exposed to LLMs.”
As a society, we need to look at expanding the range of capabilities to prepare our children for an uncertain future.
In this scenario, what can we do to prepare our children for the jobs of tomorrow?
1) Achievement Versus Mastery: Focus On Meta Learning
Our culture places a high emphasis on academic grades instead of developing deep interest in the world around us. This results in getting ‘social achievements’ but mastering a subject requires deep, conscious practice. It is akin to the way we learn swimming, driving, and painting. It takes time and patience from both sides: teachers as well as students. We are moving in a world where it is important to know something at a deeper level rather than just a passing interest. In schools and colleges, the emphasis is on completing a prescribed syllabus.
A slight change can make a significant difference. Rather than asking about grades, we can enquire, what did you learn? Instead of providing immediate answers, we can invite them to expand on why does it interest you? And, let’s explore it together. Theoretical Neuroscientist Vivienne Ming advises parents to cultivate bias for learning and passion for exploring. This is a path to become a craftsman with your own moat for an uncertain future.
2) Aptitude And Attitude
Aptitude is a kind of innate talent for an academic subject or sports or music or art. Attitude refers to a mindset and beliefs about learning. The traditional approach is to somehow discover the aptitude using psychometric tools and then provide support for a better performance. However, Carol Dweck in her seminal work, published in the Journal of Educational Psychology, showed students, who believed that their intelligence could be developed through efforts and hard work (growth mindset), were more likely to perform better than those who believed that intelligence was fixed and unchangeable. This is where parents can play an important role in fostering aptitude as well as attitude by demonstrating through their own actions and becoming a role model.
As a society we need to emphasise that both (aptitude and attitude) can be developed and improved with practice. Having a positive attitude towards learning can help youngsters to overcome challenges of an uncertain future.
3) Make Things, Build Stuff:
I remember my conversation with an American university admissions officer. She bemoaned over the bookish approach of Indian students and called them paper tigers. There is some truth to it. We spend too much time in classrooms. An engineering student may not have looked under the bonnet of his car and it’s rare to see a computer science enthusiast building her own computer. Using human dexterity, imagination, creativity to dismantle existing structures/objects and building something new can be transformative. Making things enhances creativity, develops problem solving approaches and improves fine motor skills.
Using our hands to make new objects can teach youngsters to collaborate and try different approaches. The process itself involves overcoming challenges and obstacles. A successful creation builds self esteem and boosts confidence. Attending design thinking workshops, building fun robots/drones can be deeply therapeutic and immensely rewarding.
4) Connecting Disparate Dots
One of the innate human abilities is to connect seemingly disconnected ideas. We have an amazing intelligence where we can apply knowledge from one field to totally unrelated areas. In classroom environments, this can infuse creativity and a sense of wonderment in our children. There are scores of examples all around us: Principles of Origami has been used in space exploration, connection between laws of thermodynamics and living organisms, use of classical Trolley Problem in exploring ethical and moral issues in driverless cars.
The idea here is that subjects are not confined to watertight compartments. In fact, knowledge is built on the free flowing of ideas from one stream to another. In my view, inviting youngsters to keep a wonder cap on while deepening their interest can significantly enhance their abilities to connect disparate dots.
5) Become More Human
In a world of powerful machines, how do we retain our human-ness? Maybe it makes sense to define what it is to be a human? A group of computer scientists and musicians came together and used AI to finish Beethoven’s tenth symphony. It was released in October 2021. Somehow, it hasn’t generated any ripple.
We still don’t know how intrusive machines will be in the future but humans have a few innate qualities – Vincent van Gogh’s ability to create magic even in the throes of depression, Bach’s violin piece Chaconne is considered as one of the finest creations of humanity, Shakespeare’s dramas continue to enthral audiences all over the world. My hypothesis is that in the twenty-first century, more than ever before, we need to make a conscious effort to be more human and that’s our defence. The abilities to convince, persuade, listen, provide comfort will be the most sought after skills. Probably, we don’t need to compete with machines to be efficient but machines need to try hard to be like humans – full of amazing capabilities and embarrassing frailties.
Also Read: Fostering Resilience In Teenagers
We have a capacity to wonder, invent zero and send machines beyond the boundaries of our galaxy. I have a bias for human ingenuity. It is possible that we are the best machines that ever got created – by design or by some strange coincidence. I have faith in the next generation that they will be able to find a way around the AI or AGI conundrum. My parents grew up in the shadow of the second world war. While growing up, I thought a nuclear catastrophe was round the corner. Humans do play risky games but somehow turn back the clock from the precipice. That’s what I am counting on.
At EduPeer, we can help you with all your college admission needs, from choosing the right country and subjects for you to college lists, resume building, interview preparation and much more. Book a free consultation by clicking on the button and filling in the details below.