Machine, learning

investment viewpoints

Machine, learning

Francois Meunier - Analyst

Francois Meunier

Analyst

We expect the digital revolution to have a snowball effect in many areas, including education. Online education is now growing exponentially: In 2018, approximately 11.4 thousand courses were offered by over 900 universities, up from 6 thousand in 2016. Universities such as Harvard and Yale offer reduced cost degrees, and free courses, to anyone with an internet connection. Coursera, the largest online education provider globally, had 33 million students signed up for courses in 2017, more than three times the level only three years prior.

 

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Robotics and AI will not only push the workforce to transition, but we believe it will create a completely new professional workforce. For example, predictions suggest that 65% of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in completely new job types that do not yet exist. This further highlights the need for an adaptive and resourceful change in education.
In 2016, OECD economies had an average number of 22 children per teacher in primary and lower secondary education. We believe the classroom of the future will increasingly embrace technology with courses becoming bespoke and intuitive, ultimately offering a personal online one-on-one tutoring experience. Software developed by the University of Notre Dame can provide a look into the future with a programme that monitors and responds to the human emotional state, predicting when a student is bored and then altering content. We predict STEM (science, technology, economics and maths) subjects to transverse quickly onto interactive online programs, shifting teachers’ efforts to educating teamwork, leadership, innovation and creativity.

Lifelong learning

Education will not just be for children. The future of jobs insights report published by the WEF detailed that by 2022, 54% of all employees will require significant retraining and upskilling, with analytical thinking and programming continuing to grow in prominence. Developing skills in the new field of technology is not the only option for the future workforce – some argue that future education must focus on skills that AI cannot replicate, for the foreseeable future anyway. So to calibrate students with ‘human’ skills focusing on creatively, negotiating, critical and emotional thinking, will be key.
 
The only certainty we have about the future is change. This disruption driven by technology will be challenging for big corporations and, in our view, only sustainable companies that are able to adapt to these trends will survive.

In the face of this transition, it is vital that we adapt the investment process so we are able to capture the exponential growth these factors can create. This is why we, at Lombard Odier Investment Managers, believe is it critical to understand what these sustainability challenges means for companies’ business models.

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