It is not only the change, but ‘the rate of change’ also that is increasing as we are moving forward in the journey of human evolution. All will agree that the most prominent contribution has come due to the widespread use of Internet, digital and computational technologies. Due to the ever-increasing speed of processing of digital computation, solutions to the new problems are becoming feasible.
The things which were not feasible to be computed in a given amount of time have now moved into the feasible category. Most remarkable results have come in the field of space, astronomy, cognition, biotechnology and data science. Technology is changing at an astonishing speed. It is not as much about the amount and quality of data that we are able to collect but also about the extraction of hidden information in that data. New jobs for Data Scientist and Machine Learning Engineers (That were Non-existent five years ago) have become the highest paying jobs of today.
The new generation is surrounded by digital devices from the time they land out from their mother’s womb. The previous generation is not able to understand the cultural, social and behavioural changes that are happening and evolving continuously. With the onslaught of social media, digital currency, Internet of things and robotics; the paradigm of life in every sphere is changing. A big responsibility lies with the social scientists to understand this change and prepare the population for a smooth changeover.
One of the directions can be to give more space and decision power to these youngsters; so that they make mistakes early in life and are able to stand up quickly. Mistakes made after some maturity may be costlier to handle. The mantra is jump at the right time, fast-iterate, fail-cheap, listen to the feedback and succeed. There must be no time to be remorseful about failures, but these need to be taken as steps to success.
Next technology that has provided even more momentum to these changes is ‘deep learning’. It employs artificial intelligence, cognition skills, nanotechnology, computational skills and robotics to create new age products and applications for the society. Driverless cars, sophisticated medical robots who can act as surgeons, Computer reporters and robot warriors are few visible examples of this technology. Deep learning is upping the expectations in the filed if physics, chemistry, biology and social sciences. We now have the machine who can make new musical compositions for you which was thought to be a unique skill only available to god-gifted individuals.
Superintelligence is already knocking the doors of humankind. Nick Bostrom in his book “Superintelligence” says that we will get one chance for claiming the supremacy from the intelligent machines. If we fail then the intelligent machines will rule over us.
My intuition does not match with the author’s intuition. In my view, we don’t stand any chance. Already there are many popular movies in this domain. In some of them, we conceptualize that at many of the alien planets, superintelligence may have already taken over the native habitats of that planet. We are already being governed by Super intelligent power. But, now that is taking avatar in visible form, it will be powered by self-learning machines who can reproduce and repair themselves.
The possible dimensions of the scenario are exponential and may be exciting or frightening or amazing. It may not be long that we as a human race, need to sit and act to deal with this situation. It will be up to the intellectual leadership of the planet that we strategize to be friendly or adversary. The Earlier we act, the better we are.
So, if I ask you what is the most important skill to be learned today?
Well it is “Learn to self-learn and fast-learn."This will not be easy with many individuals who will not have the requisite kind of mindset and attitude to transform themselves into the realities of this new world. It will also not be easy to inculcate this skill by the educational institutions who are resistant to changing themselves for this new world order. “Fast and Quick Learn” is a complete philosophy and requires indulgence, consistent motivation and perseverance to be an actual demonstrator of this skill.
Parents, teachers, students, entrepreneurs, institutions need to benchmark and evaluate themselves for these three things. It may be too late if you miss this train. Be ready for the consequences.
Deepak is a Professor and Department Head of Computer Science and Engineering at Bennett University, Greater Noida. He is also a chief consultant for algorithmguru.com, a resource for algorithms. Deepak is considered as one of the best Algorithm Gurus in India. His active research interests are designing efficient deep learning algorithms. He is Senior Member of IEEE, Senior Member of ACM and Life Member of CSI, IETE. He served as chair of IEEE Computer Society, India Council from 2012-2016 and on the Board of governors of IEEE Education Society, USA (2013-15). He previously worked as a Software Engineer in IBM Corporation Southbury, CT, USA. Deepak has 100+ publications in various International Journals and conferences with 500+ citations and Google h-index of 13. In his 20 years of experience, he has delivered 200+ invited talks across India. He is an ABET PEV and serves on ABET criteria review committee of Computing Accreditation Commission. He is also an active blogger in the Times of India with the tag name of “Breaking Shackles” and is passionate about transforming the landscape of Higher Education. For more details about his accomplishments: http://www.gdeepak.com. Deepak holds a PhD in Computer Science and Engineering from Thapar University.