A Field Guide to 'jobs that don't exist yet'

Benjamin Doxtdator, A Long View on Education, Dec 20, 2017
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I found this article via the most recent of Audrey Watters's posts summarizing 2017. It traces the origin of the claim that "We are currently preparing students for jobs that don’t exist yet, using technologies that haven’t been invented, in order to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet.” It also attempts to debunk it. The claim appears to have its origin in a Bill Clinton speech in 1996. It shows up again in a 2006 speech by former Education Secretary Richard W. Riley. It was repeated by Ian Jukes and cited by Karl Fisch an d put into a video by Scott McLeod. It was also cited for a time by Cathy Davidson and by the World Economic Fourm and attributed to Jim Carroll and to the Innovation Council of Australia (both the report and the Council have disappeared) and to this 1999 report from the U.S. department of labour, which contains the assertion (illustrated) if not the precise number. But is it true? Doxtdator writes that "Andrew Old and more recently Michael Berman and the BBC have provided a solid de-bunking." But do they? Sure, the 65% figure is arbitrary, and depends a lot on how you count jobs. The BBC uses the 600 job titles in government labour surveys, but these are very broad categories, eg. "software professionals" and "IT user support technicians" and don't reflect change within categories.  As Catrhy Davidson says in the BBC interview, "I think all jobs are new jobs." 

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