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The president of the Technion: We fell asleep in the ivory tower and did not perceive the rapid changes of the fourth industrial revolution

Prof. Peretz Lavi said these things during the sixth conference of the Council for Higher Education that took place this week in Ashkelon

The Technion's president, Prof. Peretz Lavi, from the Technion's video
The president of the Technion, Prof. Peretz Lavi, from a video of the Technion on YouTube

"This convention is about the ivory tower in the new world." This is what Prof. Peretz Lavi, president of the Technion and chairman of the committee of heads of universities, said during the sixth conference of the Council for Higher Education that took place this week in Ashkelon. Prof. Lavi described the developments of the so-called fourth industrial revolution and said: "We fell asleep in the ivory tower."

"We live not only in a new world but also in a world that renews itself every year and at a dizzying pace. We are currently living in a period that has been called the era of the fourth industrial revolution. So far we have known three industrial revolutions. The first occurred in England at the end of the 18th century when the textile industry was established, steam power was used and the factory was founded."

"The second revolution came 100 years later and reached its peak at the beginning of the 20th century when the production lines were installed in the Ford factories in the USA, after which many factories produced many products at high speed. The third revolution began in the seventies of the 20th century, when electronics and information technologies were mobilized to manage production processes. It is still too early to judge whether the industrial revolution is just an upgrade of the third revolution or whether it deserves its own title. But it is already clear today that it is characterized by technological innovations that bring the physical world closer to the biological and digital world, which are slowly merging into one entity."

"A number of technologies are at the heart of the fourth revolution. The exponential increase in computing power and its cheapening, big data and cloud technology, the availability and mobility of the internet connection which is in the palm of each of us, the internet of things which, like spider webs hidden from view, will create connectivity between an infinite number of accessories, items and systems. These will obey us and be at our disposal at the click of a finger. Artificial intelligence and XNUMXD printing, which will fundamentally transform the worlds of industry, the ability to read the genetic code and the ability to edit it will cause a big change and not only in medicine."

"In a survey conducted in Davos among managers of leading companies and economists in January 2016, there was an overwhelming agreement that in 2025 ten percent of people will wear clothes connected to the Internet, 50% of Internet traffic will be for the home and its devices, and the first robot as a pharmacist for everything in pharmacies, then the 5D printers will also come off the production line The first car as well as 2025% of consumer goods. In 90, 10% will have constant access to the Internet, and XNUMX% of cars in the US will be autonomous."

"The new technologies will revolutionize the way we live, how we work and also how we treat each other. This revolution will affect many industries and more importantly, many professions and will change beyond recognition the economic models according to which many countries operate."


"Autonomous systems based on artificial intelligence will replace humans in many professions. Anyone who has visited airports and banks has seen that machines are taking the place of those bank clerks and airline employees who used to, sometimes with a smile, cash the check for us and prepare the boarding passes for us. Studies conducted in recent years reveal alarming data. Millions of people will lose their jobs in the next twenty years and be replaced by robots and automated systems. Just think what 1.7 million truck drivers in the US will do if Uber succeeds in teaching trucks to drive alone on North American roads."

"Three weeks ago I was in Palo Alto and I met a man who is engaged in the same mission, and according to him, we are five years away from the first autonomous truck that will drive on US highways."

"The fourth industrial revolution differs from its predecessors in its speed and quality. The pace of change is unprecedented. Who would have imagined just ten years ago that everyone would carry a device in their pocket that would allow us to access the Encyclopedia Britannica, order a taxi or communicate with a friend on the other side of the world. I don't think there will be many who would disagree that the educational systems and especially the higher education institutions will have to adapt themselves both in terms of teaching and research to the fourth revolution. In my opinion, until today we have not given sufficient consideration to this, we fell asleep in the ivory tower. We all hope that the multi-year plan presented to us is the first step in the direction of dealing with what is expected in the future. We must check ourselves and quickly whether we are preparing our students for what will happen in 2025."

"We need to do everything so that university and college graduates integrate into the workforce in the second and third decades of the 21st century. Although the subject is broad and requires in-depth and orderly thinking. "

"I would like to suggest some possible courses of action. We must check the curricula to make sure that the skills we impart to our students will be adapted for 2025. There is no doubt that the professional requirements and the skills map are changing rapidly, some say that half of the first grade students who started their studies this year will be engaged in professions that do not exist today. We need to check what the new professions are and what skills are needed for them."
"We must change our teaching methods and adapt to the new world. The academic system is inherently conservative and does not easily adopt new teaching and learning methods. In my opinion, the technological changes that have changed our lives do not leave us with a choice, but we must find new methods to deal with the world of Wikipedia. This has its first buds such as the appearance of the MooCs or the method of learning based on problem solving. But these are still, in terms of first attempts, very tentative, usually by motivated individual teachers."

"The rapid pace of changes that makes the studied material irrelevant within a few years requires paying attention to further studies. The academic system must recognize that learning does not end with the awarding of the degree and must take upon itself the updating of the knowledge of its graduates."

"A doctor who studied in the 20th century one and only course in genetics, and it is also abbreviated in the style of genetics for doctors, must today keep up to date with the genetics innovations of the 21st century, in order to properly treat his patients."

"The rapid changes taking place in our lives will require a close and constant dialogue between the academic system and between industry and government systems. A constant dialogue is forced by reality. He will connect the academic system towards the national needs and those that will be the result of the expected changes in the world of employment and industry. Such dialogue will help the academic system to look at changes by providing a repeat of its success or failure."

"The responsiveness of higher education institutions to society's demands will emphasize and strengthen the social responsibility of universities and colleges."

"Academic research must also change. The distinction between basic research and applied research is blurring. In the rapidly changing world the distance between the two types of research is shortened to a minimum. The future research will also be multidisciplinary and will require close collaborations between different fields of knowledge and different skills. The universities must take this into account in everything related to research budgets and investments in research infrastructures."

"The new world also poses challenges to the social sciences and humanities and the arts. Although it is clear that the technological changes affect the way in which we, and especially our children and grandchildren, communicate with each other, it is difficult to imagine how much these changes will affect society as a whole, the relationships within it and its values. I don't think we are clear about the social and human meaning of being able to change the genetic code at will. I don't think anyone has given their mind to the question of how countries will deal with the replacement of millions of people by autonomous machines. And do the WhatsApps and Twitters that allow access to endless sources shape the way of thinking of our children in a different way than we knew until now."

"These are important questions. It will be difficult to maintain an egalitarian, creative and happy society without the development of new ways of thinking and expression by researchers in the field of social sciences, humanities and art. "

"In conclusion, the fourth industrial revolution poses challenges to the academic system that are not simple at all. On the one hand, the future holds great promises for a healthier and better quality of life, but on the other hand, there are considerable dangers on the horizon. The academic system should recognize this and quickly adopt the necessary changes to advance the future."

In the same topic on the science website:

16 תגובות

  1. You didn't fall asleep, you ignored it. Because reports on Israel's scientific and educational deterioration have been written for 20 years...

  2. personal opinion:
    The rapid change will be in a renewed understanding of the concept of science.
    The change will be very clear and sharp.
    And what?
    the same change that a reversal would make. Today we invest the most time, resources and efforts in investigating an external object. We observe, manipulate, record, measure, etc.
    The change will be that we will not have to perform the manipulations on something external, not on an observation of something that is outside of me but rather in me, within me, in the viewer himself.
    Man - he will be the scientific experiment, he will be the one to be manipulated, measured and investigated.
    Man - he is the one who will have to upgrade and change and not anything that is outside of him.
    As soon as we find what affects our perception, the same place that if we invest in it, we will improve it, then our perception will change accordingly.
    Then and only then can we say we have woken up.

  3. Yossi Galbert
    If we reach a utopia where everyone's needs are met - then we can concentrate on helping the robots to help us, the humans, build the tools that will help us get to places that will be better places than the utopia that we, as humans, strive to reach today.

  4. If there are so many robots
    So we have to think about what the purpose of the work is
    After all, we no longer need to produce human beings
    Will the robots be able to produce as much as needed and even surplus
    Will the products be accessible to everyone in society, will money have meaning
    It seems to me that the one who falls asleep is humanity and especially the people of the universities who are supposed to educate their students that if there is not a revolution in thinking about who will receive the products of the robots and who will not... the students and humanity are being put to sleep and thus I call them the servants of the tycoons

  5. I hope for the other graduates of the Technion that they receive a little more sympathetic treatment from the institution where they studied, after graduation, than me and the holy work I do.

  6. I am against the proliferation of automation for the following reasons:
    1. Multi-automation makes machines do the work of humans - the latter become unemployed and frustrated
    2. The proliferation of artificial intelligence in all autonomous cars of all kinds may create self-awareness
    3. There is no immunity from the actions of hackers - think what will happen if hackers manage to control the cars... it is no longer the computer at home or the email..

  7. Joseph,
    The fact that Arabic names do not automatically make them Muslim, just as not everyone who has a name that sounds Jewish is necessarily religious. On the contrary, it is likely that most of those who are involved in science are not religious people, so what does it matter if their name is Muhammad or if their name is David?
    By the way, I don't know what field you work in, but I actually come across articles with Chinese names much more than Arabic names.
    As for the situation in Israel today, I tend to agree with your position. Our government in recent years prefers to promote ignorance, divide the people and stir up hatred.

  8. An interesting article and indeed it is time for the outdated, cumbersome and self-important academy to realize that the value of the degrees and knowledge acquired within its walls has been irrelevant for more than a decade.
    Anyone who completes a degree, with the exception of law, begins to learn the knowledge relevant to his job in the first year of work and discovers that there is no connection between what he learned in the academy and what happens in general.
    The academic concept of analyzing problems and situations is often too narrow and dichotomous to represent any reality, therefore the solutions that students can offer are not relevant to reality on the one hand and do not teach them to think about more complex situations, on the other hand.
    This is why the leading universities and colleges in the world employ more and more lecturers who come from the field and not just academics, and this is one of the reasons they are leading...

  9. did fall asleep Compared to the key universities in the US, they have been sleeping standing up for 4 years, and will continue to sleep.
    Compared to our Muslim colleagues, I am sorry to say (I am a doctoral student) that every two days I download articles from the net, they bear Arab names in all the fields mentioned here and not many Jews. We are busy calling them primitives, barbarians.
    Install a muezzin law, and drop 9 places in the level of education. There is no contradiction between barbarism and science completely, only on a certain level. It is true that the level of intelligence there is thin, but even 1% of 1.35 billion Muslims is 13,500,000 academics and let's say 135,500 scientists. More and more Muslim post-docs and professors are at the forefront of research.

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