Digital economy and children of the future


The school has provided extreme training: either for people who can do scientific or technological research, or for the shovel.

The first thing of this kind is the collective mentality. It is strongly rooted in social DNA that school should be done exactly as it is 150 years on. That she must offer a diploma as the only gateway to the world. The only complaints that both students and parents have about how the school is handled or the degree of difficulty of some of the subjects.

If we look at opinion polls, the ideal school should be a kind of daycare for students, well-equipped with all living conditions and simple subjects and exams. Paradoxically, with an iron discipline, a sort of luxury barracks in the day. This mental reality tries to cling to both the institutionalized state and the private one, which is closer than the state one to the social mental ideal.

The second, a bit more practical , is that, for a very long time and with few exceptions, jobs in Romania were generally “shovel” jobs in Romania, and that did not disturb anyone. Of course, the shovel is a metaphor, but if we look around, we see in all industries an agglomeration of jobs in the lower segment.

And the school has provided training for the extremes: either for people who can do scientific or technological research and who have, as a rule, emigrated to areas on Earth where research is actually being done; either for the shovel. This obsession for the two extremes has its roots in the first models of organization of the Romanian school and, since then, persists in the social and political mind.


Ken Robinson said that the school, as it is structured today on planet Earth, has its roots in the Enlightenment and the First Industrial Revolution. From Enlightenment comes the idea of ​​an education accessible to all and financed by public money. From the First Industrial Revolution comes the idea of ​​forming a man who has a solid set of knowledge that he will use for the whole of his life.

Because it needed the First Industrial Revolution factory. Which manufactures, a successful institution of the revolution, has also given the pattern of organizing and structuring the school: in age ranges, curriculum and quality certification through a graduation diploma.

Only that In the Third Industrial Revolution, where we are already, the factory disappears . The signs of this disappearance are as clear as possible and it is enough to give the example of Adidas, which two years ago opened two factories, one in Germany and the other in the United States, and one year ago opened two (in the UK and France) , covering the main markets.

Only in these factories the workers are exclusively industrial robots. Nike follows this direction closely and will open the first fully robotic factories. Together, the sportswear industry announced for 2017 1,000,000 unemployed in China.

In turn, China has understood that it can not resist this trend and tries to maintain its supremacy in the production of goods by opening robotic factories in the hope that it will thus be able to have a strong economy to withstand the coming social shock.


Until recently, it was believed that the Third Industrial Revolution would only affect the production of goods, along with Unilever’s 2014 “ChefWendy” marketing campaign, and especially with the experiment in 2016 by IBM with Jill Watson, assistant Artist Intelligence Professor Ashok Goel of the Georgia Institute of Technology, it is obvious that all jobs are threatened.

By industrial robots and artificial intelligence systems. Personally, seeing how programs can generate code based on input from analysts and software architects, I see the programmer’s job disappearing in 10-15 years.

Yuval Noah Harari, professor of history at Tel Aviv University, said in his book, Sapiens: A Brief History of the Humankind, that if the First Industrial Revolution brought the working class into the social scene, The Third Industrial Revolution will bring the class of unnecessary people .

To be honest, I’m not very interested in what will happen in other countries that are not taking action now to diminish the shock. But I do not want to see that this class appears and becomes a major social vector in Romania. And I also know that the only way this effect can be countered is education.


I think we are in front of what I call the Great Economic Divide. There will be, on the one hand, heavily consolidated corporations that will act especially in the area of ​​material goods production. They will do it using robotic production systems and marketing and sales systems assisted by artificial intelligence.

On the other hand, many more or less traditional trades will appear alongside creative crafts that will address the need for customization in us. Some will develop under the umbrella of technology access platforms. That is, under a global umbrella. Others will generate intellectual property and new types of technologies, products and services, some of which will be taken over by large corporations.

I think that, in general terms, this new economic paradigm will crystallize in about 10 years. It is hard to believe that we will have the slightest word to say in the first line of the Great Economic Division, but we can have a hard word to say in the second. If we get ready now.


Two things are clear to me: the role of the state will diminish massively in the new economy, and the transition to the new paradigm is primarily a matter of education. If I go back to Romania, it is clear to me that the educational system is unreformable. I do not want to expose here the ideas of education in the Third Industrial Revolution, because they may seem too radical.

But I mean, if I know that the current educational system is unreformable, I know in the same way that it can be translated over time into something compatible with the new economy if there are now clotting points that can lead to it.

As every 100-kilometer road begins with one step, I want to talk about this small step, as he can produce the first jump we need. As I’m sure he can not do with the central public administration as a partner, I propose it to the private environment and eventually to the local governments hoping to put their shoulder to a small project or at least try to do that.

It is, for me, a test. It will be able to complement the education system, which will make parents, students, teachers and authorities feel uncomfortable in the comfort zone.

Sure, when you propose a parallel education system for the new economy, the first question that arises is about the skills that will have demand in the future labor market. It is impossible to know what will be all the jobs considered important over 10-15 years. I’m not one of those who know exactly how a thing will look like in 2053 but does not venture to say anything about how he will look at the end of this year.

But I know for sure that there are four areas that will grow steadily both in volume and in importance in the coming years. They are:

  • additive manufacturing
  • bioinformatics
  • robotics
  • artificial intelligence.


With the first industrial applications (General Electric Aviation and those in the construction industry where Chinese companies dominate the market), additive manufacturing has emerged from the prototyping or hobby area and is beginning to impose itself as a solid technology with massive growth in the future.

If robotization leads production closer to the outlets, additional manufacturing moves manufacturing directly into retail. I do not insist on robotics and artificial intelligence because I have described some of their current applications.

About Bioinformatics I mean two things. The first is that over the past three years, since the phenomenon has been discovered and transformed into 23 technological patents, CRISPR / Cas9 technologies, “cellular DNA” technology in the living cell, bioinformatics has become the most dynamically dynamic field with the greatest interest in commercial applications.

The second thing I want to say is that since 2003, when Professor Tom Knight completed the theory of biobricks with which to program live structures, bioinformatics is an extremely accessible domain, being more like design digital than macromolecular chemistry.

In the artificial intelligence , IBM has opened its Watson platform for use with excellent documentation, dedicated language, SDKs and APIs, and Google has an open source library of blocks to help develop artificial intelligence programs.

Coming back to additive manufacturing , there are enormous many affordable, open-source hardware solutions for those who want to build manufacturing devices and open-source software for those who want to design objects. There are also countless manuals, kits and open hardware for robotics .

Today there are a large number of children and youth hubs in the United States and Canada, hubs in which they teach and develop their own projects in areas such as those mentioned. There are manuals for pupils written for those hubs, experimental kits, teaching and development methodologies for their own projects, and even private funding for start-ups based on projects developed there.

There is also explosion of open source and hardware communities in these areas. I do not reinvent the wheel, but make a call to discover America.


Manoj Bhargava, a great American American entrepreneur of Indian origin, says that whenever someone comes up with a new project, the first question he puts is ” Is this useful? And if so, how useful? Because if it is not useful, it should even be fun. If that’s not the case, the project is not good “.

The project I’m proposing to you as a small step towards changing the paradigm is both useful and fun. And it’s based on the experience of US hubs. There is no expensive project. A laboratory for any of the four domains costs no more than three laboratories to learn computer programming. And they all relate to learning a computer programming.

Just talking about a different kind of computer and some kind of programming.

Starting such a project is not difficult. We can achieve a number of hubs in cities where there are teachers interested and capable of teaching there. Sure, I’m talking about good and enthusiastic teachers, and I’m talking about wages. The project may address any child who does not live in a city with a hub of this kind, but has a computer and an Internet connection.

Because I think the hubs need to be joined by a platform to ensure distance learning, collaboration, experimentation in hubs of the projects proposed on the platform, monetization of their results for the benefit of those who have done the project and the proposal for financing under the scheme angel or crowdfunding of the most popular projects, because popularity is a first market test.

In each of the four proposed educational lines the correlation with the fields learned at school (mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology and economics) would be made, giving a practical, economic and social sense to these areas and making them more attractive to students. A discipline traveled in such a hub would also provide specific theoretical training, and a head-to-head project, and related marketing and sales.

So we prepare young people with knowledge in growing search areas and some entrepreneurial skills. That’s exactly the kind of man of the Third Industrial Revolution. Without struggling with the windmills of the system.

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Technology of The Future – Romanian point of view