Future skills for the disruptive world – Perttu Pölönen visited Bangkok to share his vision of the future
How could children know what they want to be when they grow up, when the future professions don’t even exist yet? What is it that makes us humans different from computers? These and many other issues were discussed during the visit of the Finnish inventor and futurist Perttu Pölönen to Thailand.
On 5th March, the Embassy of Finland was honored to host a breakfast roundtable with Perttu Pölönen and Thai education experts at the Ambassador’s residence. The event was organized as an effort to bring like-minded people together to discuss about the issues related to education and future skills. Later during the same day, Pölönen also gave a keynote speech to a highly prestigious audience consisting of about one hundred CEOs and other executives of the largest companies in Thailand, at TMA TopTalk, an exclusive dinner event organized by Thailand Management Association (TMA).
Perttu Pölönen is a Finnish Inventor, Futurist and Speaker who, at the age of 24, has been called a super-highbrow and genius in Finnish media. A trained composer and entrepreneur, who also studied at the Singularity University, an exclusive institution affiliated with NASA in Silicon Valley, Pölönen is one of the young thinkers to listen to carefully today.
During the two events in Bangkok, Perttu Pölönen held inspiring speeches touching on the outcomes of technological revolution and the future skills that are needed in order to keep up with the demands of rapidly changing societies. Pölönen highlighted the importance of human capital as well as intergenerational communication as ways to encounter the possible takeover of artificial intelligence in the future.
The human kind has already gone through an agricultural revolution, an industrial revolution and, most recently, an information revolution, which have all drastically changed the way we live, work and interact. At the moment we are witnessing the emergence of artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics which is changing the fundamentals of working life at an unprecedented pace. Computers are eventually going to replace humans in whatever tasks they can perform better than us.
According to Pölönen’s vision for the future, the next phase ahead of us will be a human revolution. It will force us to rethink what it really means to be a human being. What are the human features that makes us different from computers? What are the things that are not going to change, but will remain, in an increasingly disruptive world? Empathy, imagination, story-telling and communication skills and passion are some of the things that will be increasingly important in the future. These are also some of the qualities that employers need to focus on carefully when recruiting new people.
The particular challenge of our time is the speed of change and development. The world is changing more rapidly than ever before in human history, and yet the change will never again be as slow as it is today. The future may seem scary. We have little clue what the world will look like when today’s school pupils retire sometime in the 2070s or 2080s. Yet, Pölönen believes, there is every reason to be optimistic. The world has never before provided so many people with so many opportunities for a happy and fulfilling life. When nothing is certain, everything is possible.