UK will struggle to fill jobs of the future if AI not adopted in schools

New research has included a list of innovative computer science and artificial intelligence (AI) jobs that could be available in the years ahead.

Online retailer Amazon worked with futurologist Dr Ian Pearson to develop the list, in tandem with commissioning research that has warned Britain will struggle to fill the jobs of the future if computer science and AI are not made part of the school curriculum.

Demand for jobs that require such skills is estimated to rise by 40% over the next five years, but with only 15% of UK businesses having adopted AI, the report quoted by Sky News says, the country risks falling behind.

Research by Capital Economics suggests teaching AI skills in secondary schools may help fill rising demand for computer science and other such roles, supporting an average of £71bn of economic output annually to 2030.

According to YouGov, 72% of secondary school teachers support making an active effort to increase education and resources around AI and computer science, the Sky News report said. Without it, 75% fear long-term skill gaps.

But among STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) teachers surveyed, 64% had limited access to computer science resources – rising to 79% when focused on AI, according to the Sky News report.

Secondary school children were also surveyed – and 33% had only heard of AI from sci-fi films and books.

Pearson said there was a “misconception” that AI would replace people wholesale in the workplace, insisting humans remained vital to even some of the most futuristic-sounding roles. 

Top 10 Jobs of the Future are:

  1. Paramedic drone programmer – an AI expert with medical knowledge to ‘teach’ drones to help emergency rescue teams
  2. Smart-assisted sports coach – data and AI skills will help coaches measure player performance and welfare, predict outcomes, and adjust tactics
  3. AI speech coach – help voice assistants and visual avatars become more realistic
  4. Metaverse architect – create environments and activities to entertain people in the virtual world
  5. Zero carbon transport planner – design and programme driverless public transport networks
  6. Augmented learning technician – use AI and augmented reality to create state-of-the-art tools for teachers and their lessons
  7. Agricultural AI engineer – help farm sustainable foods like synthetic meats and insects at faster and grander scales
  8. AI creative skills producer – help creators enhance their music and art by learning popular trends
  9. Community care technician – use AI to detect loneliness in the community, alerting care workers to who needs their help the most
  10. Tech fashion designer – create the next-generation of sustainable smart clothing and wearables, like garments that can react and respond to the weather.

“There is a real misconception around developing technologies, and by putting together this list of future jobs we wanted to illustrate not only where we see AI supporting tomorrow’s world of work, but how vital people are within this process,” said Pearson.

“Almost half (47%) of students surveyed said they don’t understand what jobs they can do in the future that involve AI, so we hope that showing them these innovative, exciting jobs, and the skills that are required, we can inspire them to consider roles within technology and computer science.”

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