The Ambler

Amble's Community Newspaper: News & events from Amble in Northumberland – The Kindliest Port.

Age of insecurity: Robots taking our jobs

Harry McQuillen

Harry McQuillen

A conversation with a very able and experienced primary school teacher got me thinking about schools and values.

A meeting of primary heads in a county that will remain nameless, led to a discussion of resources. A new head of what had been a good school (now no longer in that category) pointed out experienced teachers cost a lot of money. This would lead to having more money to spend on other resources. She had ensured that a number of her experienced staff retired or resigned, leaving money to buy things that were otherwise unaffordable.

A recent Radio 4 discussion on prospects for artificial intelligence, and its effects on middle class jobs, concluded that there would be a ‘hollowing out’ of the middle classes. Lawyers, accountants, doctors, teachers, etc. would find that most of their work was being done by ever more sophisticated computers. But when most of us want advice we turn to a PERSON who knows what they’re talking about.

The same radio article pointed out that there would still be many more PRACTICAL jobs. At the same time there would be rich rewards for the IT boffins!

What sort of world will our grandchildren live in? Perhaps we just can’t see that far ahead. One thing is certain: change will come, and people will have to work together to manage it. Of course our lives won’t change that quickly and the direction of travel is unclear. Security comes from having a life in which we have somewhere to live, enough money for our REAL needs, things to do that we enjoy, and people that we relate to (especially the PEOPLE).

I come back to my constant theme, expressed so beautifully by John Donne, one of our greatest poets:
“No man is an island”.

My knowledge of IT is very limited. But some aspects of our computerised world give me cause for concern. I see so many parents using their electronic gadgets when they should be TALKING to their bairns. I heard of a “touch screen” youngster in a nursery rubbing a finger on the inside of a window, hoping to produce a new image.

Where will it all end?

Harry McQuillen

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