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For the
remainder of 2019 stay tuned to Research World for monthly articles that share
the insights from a global survey with over 2,000 youths aged 11-18 years old.
This series will explore:

  • How
    youths currently use technology, such as voice and social media. For example,
    did you know that 47% of youths have more than one social media account on at
    least one social media platform?
  • How
    youths think emerging technologies will impact their education, working life
    and healthcare.

Welcome back to Youth on Tech. Until now, we’ve been exploring youth’s
usage and feelings towards current technologies (e.g. voice and social media).
This article, the fifth in the series, now looks to the future, exploring how
youths think emerging technologies will impact them and the generation that
succeeds them, focussing on education and employment.

Technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Blockchain are
revolutionising entire industries such as advertising and banking respectively.
Given that technology’s development is unlikely to slow down anytime soon, we
wanted to understand how youths feel about emerging technologies.

Most Youths Think Future Technology
Will Be Positive for Them

Generally, youths are optimistic and upbeat about the impact technology
will have on their lives. Emotions such as happiness and excitement are felt by
most youths when asked to think about the role technology will play in their
lives in the next 10 years.

However, some youths aged 16-18 years old temper this optimism with
apprehension. Approximately ¼ state they are concerned (27%) when thinking
about future technology and that it makes them nervous (19%) and scared (17%).

The Future Curriculum May Include
AI and Robotics

What will children 20 years from now be taught in school to prepare them
for a vastly different workplace? When posed this question, youths prioritise
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects and emerging
fields such as Computer Science and Robotics. Of the non-STEM subjects, youths
think that languages are the most likely to still be taught in schools in 20
years’ time. This is despite services such as Google Translate and instant
translation devices such as Ili.

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STEM subjects also dominate when youths choose the single subject they
think will be the most important to study in 20 years’ time. However, this focus
on the most important subject brings Computer Science and AI to the
top of the list. This shows a slight shift in what youths think will be taught
(existing STEM subjects) and what they think will be the most important to
teach (emerging technologies).

Who Better to Teach Robotics in School Than Robots?

Future changes to schools aren’t
limited to the curriculum. Robotics may in fact be taught by robots. 73% of
youths think robots will eventually teach in schools. Furthermore, 46% believe
this will occur in the next 20 years. Robotic teaching may allow for more
personalised learning and provide a solution to the growing classroom sizes in secondary schools
in the UK
. Students learn at
different paces and the ability to tailor a lesson to each pupil’s learning
speed could be powerful.

Despite this, 80% of youths also
think that the teaching profession isn’t under threat from technology. This
suggests youths see robotic teachers as supplementary as opposed to
replacements for human teachers. Stand down John Connor.

So, if education needs to change to
accommodate a new job market, what does this job market look like?

Cleaners and Taxi Drivers Will Be
the Most Effected by Technology

AI and automation can potentially disrupt the job market more than
previous technology. 57% of today’s jobs are vulnerable to automation.
Even creative jobs aren’t safe from AI – algorithms have already written
musical pieces and contributed to creative filmmaking decisions.

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Youths planning their future careers may need to take into account the
effect automation is going to have on the job market. For governments, it is important
to consider which jobs are at most risk of automation so that support can be
provided for those most in need. Youths believe those jobs to be cleaners and
taxi drivers followed by those in customer service. Vocations least effected by
automation according to youths will be athletes, entrepreneurs/inventors and
courtroom judges and lawyers. The latter two involving human judgement to
impact another human’s life.

Youths are Divided on Whether Humans
Working Less Is Good or Bad

Much like the apprehension shown by youths aged 16-18 with regards to
future technology in general, 62% of that age group also consider humans
working less a bad thing compared to only 41% of 11-12 year olds. Being older,
they’re likely more aware of the social, financial and political ramifications
of such a colossal change in the job market.

Next month is a bumper edition of Youth on Tech with two articles:

1) Future technology’s impact on health

2) How insights from this research were shared with the technology

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