IMG_3430(1)I arrived in Londen yesterday for the Learning and Technologies conference. My first session is Rudy de Waele (mtrends on Twitter) exactly about the topic of interest to me: how does the learning landscape change because of technology?

Rudy starts with 3 observations:

  • The story of his son studying in Cambridge learning about Columbus discovering America, which is exactly the same what we learned in school.
  • In dialogue circles people reflect on their values and lives, but there is no relation to technology
  • How many people are happy at work? About half of the room. Does screentime make us happy?
  • We do not know the jobs of the future yet. How to prepare children for the jobs of the future?

(so these are actually 4 observations :).

Do we really know what is going on?

We live in a world where the big 4 (Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Google) are making more and more money. Which allows them to hire the best talents and engineers. A famous quote is: “Software is eating the world”  Everything is app-y-fied. Mobile was a revolution, but artificial intelligence and robotics is goiing to be the next revolution. Other developments are:

  • Augmented and virtual reality and real reality will become blurred.
  • Another development is 3-D printing. There are already 3D hubs and fablabs which can connect you to the nearest 3D printer, and a variety of 3D tools like 3D pens according to
  • The internet of things is also called the rise of the 4th platform. This will be an invisible technology. Some examples; the internet of things is used for sustainable cocoa for instance, managing air temperature. we are going to measure nature, like beehives. Pest control in olive growth.
  • Gentechnology is advancing. Leyla is a 4 years old girl who got treated by gene therapy for leucemia.
  • Nanotechnology and neuroscience. Think of Qubits, about quantumcomputing.

Exponential growth

IMG_3431Many of these developments are exponential. Once they are connected to a community these developments are booming. Technologies have transformed business, but also created new business. All technologies can be mapped amongst a hype curve, shown here in the picture.

The Wow generation is coming up, they are not interested in power, but do things for pleasure, fun and experience. They want a purpose and don’t like to work with the large corporations which will loose out in the long run. They care about sustainability. We will live longer – but income inequality is rising within countries. (there is a great video about this by Hans Rosling!).

Artificial intelligence

We are entering the era of real-life science fiction. It is about cognitive computing- better understanding data.  If machines can correct themselves – what will happen? We watched a video about Watson. There is a super intelligent attorney which is going to revolutionize the way legal officers work.  Another example is deep knowledge ventures, which can scan all investments in the world. Wall street is using it. Can you tell the difference between a robot and a stock analyst? There will be many apps coming up – we called artificial intelligence landscape. The next wave will be voice- operated, which decreases the need to click and type. In the movie her, the actor falls in love with a computer person, an example of artificial intelligence. What is going to happen in your profession?

The quantified enterprise

We will be tracking what is happening in the building. Where are people having fun? Who interacts with whom? And there will be more wearables around so that for instance your health can be analyzed.

Impossible becomes doable

Impossible increasingly becomes ‘doable’. Self-driving cars are coming. We want to improve things, so thee developments will definitely come. The Paris 2040 is about sustainability. We can track everything but do we want this? This has huge implications about data. We watch a movie about the Edge in Amsterdam, the most connected office space in the world. the building is also for 93% self sustainable, for instance the rain water is collected to flush the toilets. There is a project to link airbnb with nest, helping conserve energy.

But do we want this? We watch a funny video about a reluctant dad not using his smart fork and smart cane and outsmarting the technology to watch him. (the uninvited guests) which shows we do have choice.

The skills to thrive in the fourth industrial revolution

skillsCritical thinking will go up, complex problem solving will remain. Alan de botton has come up with a new term. The art of listening is important – sometimes you have to disconnect from technology to think about the art of live and the future. He is very optimistic about technology, but this has shifted for Rudy some 5 years ago, when he was overwhelmed by the developments.

My ideas from this session

The technologies are not new to me, but the speed of change is almost scary. I would like to think more through the consequences about the connection to learning – does this mean there are many things we don’t have to learn because artificial intelligence will take over? Do we all need engineering skills? Will our brains be wired differently? How will problem solving change? It does generate lots of questions!