Are we preparing our children for future?

By: Curtis R. Sprouse

January 2018

We live in an extraordinary time. Technological advances continue to make our lives easier in many respects, but changes are coming faster than we can imagine. Our cell phones and computers give us unlimited immediate access to information, data, and people.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning have come of age. We were amazed in 1997 when IBM’s Deep Blue defeated world champion chess players. Today, the new age of computing has brought us computers that can reason and think faster than humans. The World Economic Form predicts that 5 million jobs will be lost by the year 2020. This is a challenging reality as many of our children complete their undergraduate and graduate educations and prepare to enter an ever-changing work force. However, there is something we can do to materially prepare them for the change.

The evolution of computing can take disparate data and develop new innovative solutions to unresolved problems. The ability to integrate machine and deep learning with robotics will change the landscape of industry in a way we are not prepared for from an academic, societal, moral, legal and economic perspective. In the future there will be less emphasis placed on people that perform repetitive tasks. The sophistication of the task will not matter as the machines will perfect very-complicated activities with greater precision and efficiency.

Individuals that have narrow and deep technical expertise in very finite areas will have less and less value to a society that can replace their role with a computer and a machine. The next generation of technical wizards will play an important role if they develop an understanding of how to apply that knowledge and contribute to the collaborative think model. Here are the top 10 most marketable skills by the year 2020, according to the Future of Jobs Report, World Economic Forum.

Top 10 Skills in 2020

    1.Complex Problem solving

    2.Critical Thinking


    4.People Management

    5.Coordinating with Others

    6.Emotional Intelligence

    7.Judgment and Decision Making

    8.Service Orientation


    10.Cognitive Flexibility

As the many sources have reported, the new emphasis will be placed on analysis, collaboration, interpretation dynamics and moral decision making that will dictate how the new smart computer networks and machines will be used, programed, and refocused when society finds the first approach was flawed.

Take for instance self-driving cars, buses, trains, and aerial vehicles. There will be a day when we find many forms of self-driving transportation. These machines will need to be programed to make life and death decisions. They will need to make split second decisions and act in a way that will result in the loss of life. Who will make the decision on the programing that will dictate predictable and certain losses of life? How will we, as a society, deal with the ramification of these decisions from a moral, health, legal, business, and insurance perspective?

The key skills of the future can be addressed. One part of the solution is focusing on an area of personal development that is not formally addressed in our schools and institutions of higher learning. Behavioral action and interactions can be taught. People can improve the way they leverage personal drive, intellect, and interactions. We can improve the effectiveness of people as they engage with others to perform the new jobs that will need to bring a human element to the way we direct computers and machines. These new positions of importance will place a greater emphasis on the interactions of people and how people determine and establish the role of technology in all industries.

Personal drive, or Motivation, can be directed in a more effective and efficient way when Listening, Selective Perception, Interpersonal Skills, Influence Skills, Conflict Resolution Skills, and Implementation skills are improved. There are behavioral instruments that provide us a baseline of where people are relative to optimizing key behavioral factors that will enhance personal value in the new industrial landscape. These same tools are being used to focus and measure personal, team, and organizational development.

The process needs to start with personal evaluation and understanding. We cannot not just teach people the theory behind effective listening, teamwork/collaboration, group problem solving, and leadership. We need to help them understand what behavioral factors they have and how to manage genetic dynamics of personality while developing learned behaviors that will optimize individual talent creating greater societal value.

I am suggesting that we apply the same principles to people as we have applied to computing, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. We need to get more sophisticated and diligent in how we help our children understand their behavioral profile. By doing so, we can enhance the learning process and create future generations that are equipped with the tools they will need to participate in a dynamic world.


5 million jobs to be lost by 2020

Jan 19, 2016 article

Note: Scores, profiles, or assessments referenced in this article refer to characteristics defined in the EurekaConnect Behavioral Dynamics program

About the author: Curtis R. Sprouse is the President and CEO of EurekaConnect, LLC. Curtis has spent more than 25 years building companies and consulting for hundreds of the fortune 500 companies.

EurekaConnect, LLC uses proven technologies and data driven solutions that objectively and measurably improve organizational performance. For more information please