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Preparing for the future

Ten thousand years ago, by the light of a fire, an old bearded man would have told stories of his youth to the young people in his tribe. He would have told them the story of how his group managed to kill six deer in a day, how his best friend died after eating strange red berries, or how he escaped a tiger by the skin of his teeth. Paintings on the walls of caves would have illustrated such exploits for all to see.

This would have provided more than just entertainment - the stories and the cave paintings would have taught the young people of the tribe how to survive. Everything the elder would have said would have been useful to them for their future survival. After all, deer, tigers and poisonous berries never change.

Fast forward to today. The past that we tell our young people about is barely conceivable to them. Anyone born after the year 2000 does not know a world without smart phones or the internet. More and more, the stories of the past that we tell our young are getting less and less relevant.

Which is why I believe it is important to look to the future.

There are several organisations which are doing just that. For example the Institute for the Future has produced a report and infographic on important future skills. In summary, they are predicting that increased mechanisation, so most skills will revolve around being able to do things that machines cannot do. These skills include:

There are also plenty of places that predict jobs for the future. According to this website which has a list of the 10 best and worst jobs for the future, it appears that the best jobs involve healthcare and human interaction whereas the worst jobs involve basic tasks. This makes sense as machines become more sophisticated and the population starts to live longer.

It has always been important to teach young people the skills that will help them in the future, but now the lessons of the past are becoming less helpful. We need to predict what will happen and teach them skills that will help them cope with the rapid changes going on.

For more information on predictions on the future, Future Timeline is an extremely detailed website.

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