On Upskilling Trends
📈 This week, I enjoyed the ASU+GSV conference, exploring the intersection of education and technology.
Not surprisingly, AI was the big trend. AI sessions were full, Bill Gates and Sam Altman talked about AI on the main stage, and over 50 people came to the AI+Web3 meet-up I planned at the last minute with James and Chad.
This trend was not surprising. What was surprising was the focus on upskilling.
👷♂️ Over half the start-ups in the GSV Cup were focused on upskilling. Most of the talk about the future of education turned into a conversation on the need for lifelong learning.
Rachel Romer, founder of Guild, put it most powerfully: the 4 and 40 is dead. Now it's every 4:
🏃♂️Education is an Olympic sport. Workers need to retrain every four years.
The education system needs to prepare learners for this continual learning. We also need new ways to train for future jobs.
Part of the solution is fractional education.
On Fractional Education
🧩 A "fractional education" is similar to micro-credentialing or short courses with one big difference: it's based on real work.
According to McKinsey, nearly 40% of Americans identify as independent workers, up from just 27% seven years ago. In the future, more of the labor market will focus on fractionalized small bounties that freelancers can pick up and complete. Education is likely to follow suit.
A fractional education would prepare students for a world of fractional work:
- Instead of exams, students would complete bounties - proving skills and earning money at the same time on sites like Replit, Metacrafters, and Dework
- Instead of a professor identifying what should be taught, syllabi could be based on the tasks and skills listed in the marketplace with content created in real-time with AI
- Instead of textbooks and historical case studies, students could learn from the challenges facing business today
🚨 This week's Ed3: Unplugged explored this "bounty-based education" and the impact of fractional work:
On Hacking the Fractal Future
🛠 The most exciting potential of AI is its ability to make us all builders. Suddenly, more people have access to the tools needed to create solutions to the problems they face.
Accessible tools = more builders = better solutions
This week, I put that hope into action.
Serj, myself, Hunter, and Nikita joined Ben's Bites Hackathon. A hackathon is a short competition where participants build something new in a set time frame.
In our case, we had two days to build something with AI. We took the opportunity to make it easier for companies to take advantage of fractal work. Most exciting was that we could put this together in hours without deep technical knowledge.
Here's our quick explainer video of what we built:
A quick statement of what you want to build outputs a project that can be shared with fractional workers...or with robots.
Fractional work is a big part of the future of work and education, but it is also the future of working with a robot, like the cute and powerful BabyAGI.
👶 Last week, we discussed the rise of AI agents. One of the most popular is BabyAGI.
BabyAGI identifies and does tasks needed to get to a specific outcome. In other words, it makes a to-do list and then does it for you. It's basically me in my family. 💪
KDNuggets summarizes it a bit more technically:
Baby AGI is a python script which uses OpenAI and Pinecone APIs, and the LangChain framework to create, organize, prioritize as well as the executing of tasks. The process behind Baby AGI is that it will create a task using predefined objectives that are based on the outcome out a previous task.
🍕 The progress since the release of BabyAGI and other agents (just the past couple weeks!) is breathtaking. From sales prospecting to ordering pizzas, it redefines what fractional tasks humans need.
📸 This future of fractional AI work is coming faster than we can imagine. It's already advanced enough that an AI-generated image won the Sony World Photography Awards.
💨 Tim Sweeney argues that the rise of BabyAGI means AI can teach itself, moving technology forward. In other words, it can move faster than we can push it.
😂 It's moving so fast that soon, it will be in your Office 365 suite!
🆓 Even more exciting than a better Microsoft Word, is the potential of each of us having our own AI models that we can use and modify: open-sourced large language models.
Now we can all be builders, unencumbered by large tech giants.
Paul DelSignore lays out the potential in this article:
Open source provides innovation from anyone and anywhere, it is an equalizer. A grassroots bottom-up movement as opposed to a corporate strategy imposed on society.
AI by the people for the people.
On the Optomistic Outcome
The fractal future may feel scary, but I'm an optimist.
This future allows us to do the work we enjoy and are good at. Instead of taking a full-time job full of tasks we don't want to do, we focus on the work we care about. The work no one wants to do - like ordering pizza for the office - can be given to the robots.
It's unclear where a technology accelerating exponentially will end up. However, one thing is clear: we must prepare for the "every four" future.
Let's find ways for everyone to reskill and build - at least every four years. The more people who master new skills, the more problems we can solve, hand-in-hand with our personal robot friends. 🤖