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"The robots not only take professions but allow easier entry into new technological professions"

This is what Aharon Aharon, CEO of the Innovation Authority said in his first public appearance at the Eli Horowitz Economy and Society Conference held last week in Jerusalem. In his words, Aharon noted that "we can see that the barriers to entry into various fields of employment, including the software field, are falling and there are more people even without formal training who can integrate. In Israel we are distinguished by a very great entrepreneurial spirit, if you see two people walking together, it is probably because they are establishing a start-up".

"Machines are becoming smarter, and more and more know how to do jobs that are now done by humans. Therefore, the question arises: what about us, the members of the human race?". Illustration: pixabay.
"The machines are getting smarter, and more and more know how to do jobs that are currently done by humans. Therefore, the question arises: what about us, the members of the human race?" Illustration: pixabay.

"The machines are getting smarter, and more and more know how to do jobs that are currently done by humans. Therefore, the question arises: What should we do, the members of the human race?", pointed out Aharon.

"65% of professions are at risk of change, but there is good news and bad news here," he replied. "The bad news is that, as mentioned, the machines are becoming smarter and will be able to do different jobs. The good news is that whoever adapts to the new trend will succeed. The barriers to entry have fallen and a person who wants to pursue those professions will not be fond of an academic education. If you once had to know a programming language to write a website, today it is not necessary - anyone can build apps and websites without knowledge of software."

He added that "high-tech employs 8.5% of the population, on average. Countries that are able to increase this rate will benefit. In order for this to happen for us as well, the education system and professional training must change."

"The universities are going in this direction," Aaron pointed out. "They need to raise the flag of multidisciplinarity in higher degrees and let students understand the entire system, and not just the specific field they are studying. Also, massive training of the population to engage in the technological fields is a good thing, and it does not necessarily have to be done through the academic institutions."

Later, Aharon spoke about what distinguishes the Israeli hi-techists from their colleagues elsewhere. "There are smart people all over the world, but there are things that distinguish us from other people, such as working in small, multidisciplinary groups, and a great entrepreneurial spirit."

Prof. Eugene Kendall discussed the needs of the high-tech industry and noted that "it is clear that the type of manpower needed for these two economies (high-tech and other sectors of the economy) is very different, and both need to be handled in different ways. To this day there is really no figure that says how many people are missing in each and every field, when we know that there are probably many thousands of workers missing. This is an initial step and a necessary condition for treating the problem."

Yoram Yaakovi, CEO of Microsoft Israel's development center said that "it is wrong to ask how many engineers are missing in the hi-tech industry today. The relevant question is how many engineers will be needed in a decade. The world is changing, and today there is no industry that does not have high tech." Yacovi added that "the children we educate today in school - their future will be characterized by completely different professions than what we know today. It is true that the Ministry of Education has engaged with all its might in the issue of mathematics, but in the last 15 years, higher education has not produced more engineers." Yacovi pointed out that the arguments of the universities about lack of resources are not relevant "today we don't need a lecturer to stand in front of 500 students to teach computer science. We need everyone to have a foundation of programming, so programming studies should be introduced from a young age in schools."

Molly Aden, former Vice President of Intel Global, said: "I'm paranoid and I'm anxious. If we don't prepare, I see tens of thousands of unemployed workers. It hurts the lower socio-economic stratum and then the rest of society. You can prepare for it, automation and robotics can increase productivity, but we are not prepared for it. The change we are facing is exponential and the answers of the government ministries are linear answers. I think the State of Israel will be irrelevant. The biggest enemy of innovation and creativity is success because it leads to complacency. I would like to see one government body that would be responsible for this issue that would set measurable goals like they did with the math subject. If we don't prepare correctly, the socio-economic gap will double."

Michal Tzuk, the Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Labor, Welfare and Social Services referred to the government's preparations for the future labor market and stated that "the labor market is already changing today, and we see many skills that are no longer required. The whole concept of work as we know it today is changing, whether more work as freelancers or others and this presents us with regulatory challenges and the need to establish safety nets."

Prof. Natan Zussman, Director of the Research Division at the Bank of Israel participated today as part of the Eli Horowitz Conference on Economy and Society of the Israel Democracy Institute in a session on the labor market where he stated that "the problem or challenge, depending on who you ask, is that labor productivity in Israel as well as the skills of teachers are among the lowest in -OECD". Prof. Sussman added that "the average teacher in Israel is only slightly above Turkey and Chile, and what is more disturbing is that we have not been able to close the gap with the leading countries in the world for at least four decades." According to him, the education system must work to reduce the inequality in skills! By directing teachers with high skills to reduce the gaps in the children's skills.

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