A recent article from The Atlantic, "A World Without Work," speculates significant changes in the labor force - workers being replaced by computers and software and a growing population of nonworking, prime-age men (25-54) and underemployed youth - as indicators of that shift. A 2013 Oxford University study also estimates that about 47 percent of U.S. jobs are highly susceptible to computerization in the next two decades.
So what does this mean for Arizona State University?
First, it underscores the importance of ASU's teaching philosophy to create "master learners," individuals who are highly adaptive to and productive in changing economies and societies and are well-equipped to develop solutions to complex problems.
Second, it supports a new component of our role: taking responsibility to see that technology advances hand-in-hand with societal progress. Through our new School and Institute for the Future of Innovation in Society, ASU will examine how technology could and should evolve to help deliver a new generation of high-quality jobs that allow people to pursue productive, well-paying careers.
Third, this news highlights the value of a college degree. As the Oxford study points out, high-wage, high-skill jobs that typically require a college degree are the least susceptible to computerization. Degree holders, regardless of field of study, have the highest probability of adaptation.
Lastly, it affirms the importance of continuing to uphold our university charter.