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Universities must continue to enrich the students with soft skills – report

soft skills
Shedding light on new technologies and future job tasks, how will universities approach the key findings from this new report? Source: Chuttersnap/Unsplash

Shedding new light on the reorganisation of tasks within occupations, the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab is analysing how artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are transforming industries through a new report, titled The Future of Work: How New Technologies Are Transforming Tasks.

Working in favour of student development, reports that focus on technological impacts and shifts in occupational outcomes are particularly useful for universities that require upgraded curricula and research aims.

And by noting key trends and happenings in the business world, academic institutions can help students prepare for the jobs of tomorrow with the skills of today.

Soft skills

Technology may be taking over campuses, but how is it helping candidates amplify their soft skills and professional development? Source: Lala Azizli/Unsplash

The merging of people and machines

One key theme highlighted in the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab report was the partnership between people and machines.

While students and educators fear takeover from robots and the decrease of jobs, the report believes that only a few jobs will disappear as job roles begin to integrate technological tools workers can use to enhance their daily efficiency.

“Tasks that are more likely to be done by AI or machine learning are disappearing from employers’ job requirements more often than those more likely to be done by a worker.

“The decreased task requirements are likely due to employers’ seeking greater focus from workers and the early adoption of AI and machine learning, indicating a fundamental shift in the way work gets done. But the shift has been small, allowing time for workers and employers to adapt,” the findings confirm.

This is good news for students, as employers are still hunting for agile and technologically aware employees who fulfil requirements AI minds can’t yet fathom.

Soft skills

As technology gets smarter, how do students strategise their skills? Source: Tyler Lastovich/Unsplash

Soft skills are sought after

Surging in value, soft skills are still of high importance to employers.

Universities must also understand the importance of instilling these soft skills in students to equip them for future changes.

“As technology reduces the cost of some tasks, the value of the remaining tasks increases. Tasks that require grounding in intellectual skill and insight as well as to some degree, physical flexibility, common sense, judgment, intuition, creativity, and spoken language have tended to increase in value.

“In fact, design tasks are increasing in value across all wage groups. Design tasks, including graphic and visual design, industrial design, user interface, user experience, and presentation design have increased in value consistently across occupations and wage groups,” notes the report.

By being encouraged to enrich their skill sets with soft skills, such as creative thinking, teamwork and leadership, university students may also gain a higher future return on their academic investment.

Soft skills

Creativity may become a more valuable currency in the near future. Source: Rachael Gorjestani/Unsplash

While educators and researchers can’t confirm what the future of work will look like or how it will impact universities and students, the key findings from this report are still worth considering.

And if universities understand that the “Potential deployment of AI solutions and tools creates the expectation that ways of working will change”, and that as work is redesigned, “Some tasks will be reconsidered. Some will be eliminated, others will be automated, and still others will require different skill levels”, there’s hope for successful student development and successful preparation of students’ soft skills.

Click here to read the full MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab report.

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