To code or not to code – let’s debate!

This is a real #throwbackthursday! I met Karri two years ago, when we joined the Mehackit crew at SuomiAreena, an annual public debate forum in Pori. We had several short debates about the importance of coding and maker culture.

Karri Liikkanen is a real modern polymath – an entrepreneur, writer, game designer, manager and casual philosopher – to name a few. It was very inspiring to discuss with him back then in Pori, so I wanted to meet him again, and see if our viewpoints had changed in two years.

Which skills are needed in the future? Let’s have an ice cream debate!

#1 Automation is making us useless.

No, don’t worry! There will be new jobs.

For example, this article in the Guardian reported that AI and robotics will generate more jobs than will be lost due to automation. What’s more, those jobs might actually be more interesting! As AI and robots are capable of doing factory and physical work or handling big data sets, there will be more freedom for us humans. Future jobs will involve more creativity and innovation.

#2 What if there are no special human skills?

Self-driving cars are developing fast, and there are more and more AI applications in healthcare. But even if AI might be as capable as a human doctor in doing diagnosis, it doesn’t mean that it would outperform in complex analyses. Bertalan Mesko has called AI “the stetoscope of the 21st century” – a tool that will help doctors, not replace them! Check out this project as an example! Better drivers, better healthcare – don’t be afraid of the technological development. But it will also raise up new problems to solve, and that’s where we need human skills and reasoning.

All in all, the shift in the career world will also lead to a shift in needed skills. And I’m not the only one telling that! Let’s agree with Karri: there will be more demand for soft skills like empathy, leadership and creativity.

#3 Me – a living example

Karri made me to realize, that this change we were debating is actually already happening in the world. Think of bloggers and youtubers! Ten years ago, would you have imagined that someone could build a career of filming themselves or writing entertaining posts about their lifestyle? On the top of that, their working environment is based on code. And that will be the case for more and more professions. Did you know that half of new programming openings are in industries outside of technology?

So, learning to code will probably be a huge benefit whatever your dream job is.

Programming is already part of the curriculum in Finland, and less and less young people expect to have a straightforward career. Instead, tasks will change, and career paths will take new directions! I can stand as an argument for that. I’ve already studied in three countries, I have coding in my language repertuary, and I need it in my studies as well as in my work.

Here, at Mehackit, I have fun with music coding and Arduino projects!

What about Karri, then? He started out as a philosophy student but has since written books, made movies and music, worked as an entrepreneur, model, and community manager. Coding helps him to understand the world and to take up new challenges.

In fact, every one of us is already part of the change. And isn’t it coool?

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