Many moons ago, I read a book about Admiral Pointdexter, and in this book, there was a reference to his Ph.D. in physics. What struck me was that the Ph. D. was a computation. He did the work of a computer.
And then this article popped up:
Dr. Devlin began his career being a computer. And when calculators and the computers and then the cloud emerged, his ability to be a computer was displaced with ever increasingly sophisticated and faster computers.
What to do then:
So what, then, remains in mathematics that people need to master? The answer is the set of skills required to make effective use of those powerful new (procedural) mathematical tools we can access from our smartphone. Whereas it used to be the case that humans had to master the computational skills required to carry out various mathematical procedures (adding and multiplying numbers, inverting matrices, solving polynomial equations, differentiating analytic functions, solving differential equations, etc.), what is required today is a sufficiently deep understanding of all those procedures, and the underlying concepts they are built on, in order to know when, and how, to use those digitally-implemented tools effectively, productively, and safely.
In short, jobs that rely on the ability to execute repetitive tasks without understanding are going away to be replaced with jobs that require adaptability and are non-repetitive.
The downside to these new jobs is that their outcome and payout is less predictable.
The other downside to those new jobs is that they are not the old ones.
And the final downside is that the skills necessary to do the new jobs are different from the old ones.
And the real foundational challenge is that we are preparing our children in our schools for the old world order.
We are like a company caught in a huge disruption. On the one hand, the old business pays but is going away, and the new one is too small.
And the next 20 to 30 years will be gut-wrenching. What the Trump voters experienced, will be experienced across every form of human endeavor. If your job is to fit into a machine, the machine will replace you. If your job is to figure out what tools to use or how to invent new machines, then there is a place for you.
Teaching kids to find the white space is the only important thing that we should be teaching them.