Driverless cars are hitting the road, powered by artificial intelligence; robots can climb stairs, open doors, win Jeopardy, analyse stocks, work in factories, find parking spaces and advise oncologists. In the past, automation was considered a threat to low-skilled labour. Now, many high-skilled functions, including interpreting medical images, doing legal research, and analysing data, are within the skill sets of machines. How can higher education prepare students for their professional lives when professions themselves are disappearing?
Join Northeastern University's President Joseph Aoun in conversation with Professor Martin Williams, Pro Vice-Chancellor Education as they discuss new ways to educate the next generation of university students to invent, to create, and to discover - to fill needs in society that even the most sophisticated artificial intelligence agent cannot.
There will be a drinks reception and book signing following the talk, all welcome
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About the speaker
Joseph E. Aoun, a leader in higher education policy and an internationally renowned scholar in linguistics, is the seventh President of Northeastern University. A respected voice on global and experiential education, President Aoun came to Northeastern from the University of Southern California’s College of Letters, Arts & Sciences where he was the inaugural holder of the Anna H. Bing Dean’s Chair.
He received his PhD in linguistics and philosophy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and advanced degrees from the University of Paris (France) VIII and Saint Joseph University (Beirut, Lebanon). He was named a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Academiques by the French Government. Aoun is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS); and a past Chair of the American Council on Education (ACE). He is the recipient of the Academic Leadership Award granted by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.
About the book
How can higher education prepare students for their professional lives when professions themselves are disappearing? In Robot-Proof: Higher Education in the Age of Artificial Intelligence, Northeastern University president Joseph Aoun proposes a way to educate the next generation of college students to invent, to create, and to discover - to fill needs in society that even the most sophisticated artificial intelligence agent cannot.
A "robot-proof" education, Aoun argues, is not concerned solely with topping up students' minds with high-octane facts. Rather, it calibrates them with a creative mindset and the mental elasticity to invent, discover, or create something valuable to society - a scientific proof, a hip-hop recording, a web comic, a cure for cancer. Aoun lays out the framework for a new discipline, humanics, which builds on our innate strengths and prepares students to compete in a labour market in which smart machines work alongside human professionals. The new literacies of Aoun's humanics are data literacy, technological literacy, and human literacy. Students will need data literacy to manage the flow of big data, and technological literacy to know how their machines work, but human literacy - the humanities, communication, and design - to function as a human being. Life-long learning opportunities will support their ability to adapt to change. The only certainty about the future is change. Higher education based on the new literacies of humanics can equip students for living and working through change.