How to prepare students for jobs in the self-driving-car-industry

Changing our way

I just recently had a discussion with my students on the topic change and technology. The questions I had were the concerns of constantly being monitored by parents and soon perhaps teachers. Technology that allows your parents to know your every move. Chinese schools have begun enforcing “smart uniforms” embedded with computer chips to monitor student movements and prevent them from skipping classes. Some screens in class will let the school know when the students are feeling sad, angry or left out. The possibilities are endless and sometimes pretty scary in my opinion. In China, they are currently working on a system that ranks citizens with a social credit system. To me, it looks like a scary future prediction becomes true. Can you imagine growing up with something like this?

The Chinese state is setting up a vast ranking system system that will monitor the behaviour of its enormous population, and rank them all based on their “social credit.” Like private credit scores, a person’s social score can move up and down depending on their behaviour. The exact methodology is a secret — but examples of infractions include bad driving, smoking in non-smoking zones, buying too many video games and posting fake news online.

Self-driving cars allow the rest of your family to know if you are speeding, where you are headed and when. They also come with dilemmas on how to react to prevent an accident and we can read about controversies like: “Would you ride in a car that could kill you to save a thinner person’s life? No, it isn’t a new method for tackling obesity. The answer could be ‘yes’ according to the results of the largest moral decision survey ever conducted with 2.3 million participants from 233 countries” Forbes.

In addition, we have people worrying that all these new inventions will exclude young people from the job market. Like self-service checkout points in the grocery stores. Retail used to be a career,” Duran said. “You actually sat with your store manager and told them, ‘This is where I see myself in five years.’ No one thinks like that anymore. It’s just a warm body who can pick up the clothes that were thrown on the floor.” The Guardian.

The article I recently read in EdSurge News gives advice to young people on what they should concentrate on when choosing subjects in school. It is tailored around working in the self-driving car industry.  It is a great list and I am sharing the headlights here:

Take A Lot of Math

Students would be well served to take every math class they can get in high school, and then continue with advanced courses in college. Especially important: linear algebra and calculus. “Linear algebra is at the heart of how the car learns to drive itself,” says Jamthe.

Learn to Program More Than Just Python

C++. “It’s the go-to language for fast execution and building substantial architectures,” he says.

Join the Robotics Club

A self-driving car is essentially a robot, so getting experience working with these machines will be invaluable in the job market, they said. Robotics teams include builders and coders—and promoters—so they offer a kind of industry preview.

Study Machine Learning

Most colleges offer classes in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning, but high schoolers will likely have to look for classes outside school,

Study Probability and Statistics

Take Some Art Classes

Once we establish vehicles that truly drive themselves, their interiors are going to undergo a serious redesign. Having some familiarity with design will help you think outside the box. “It’s going to be a highly competitive field, and you’ll need creativity to differentiate yourself, both as an employee and potentially an entrepreneur.”

Pursue Multiple Majors

The self-driving car industry is multidisciplinary, and the students who want to work in it should be too, says Wyglinski. “We see a lot of dual majors here at WPI—combinations like mechanical and electrical engineering, or computer science and electrical engineering,” he says. “And our robotics engineering program is inherently multidisciplinary. So, we’re graduating students already with the ability to look at a problem from multiple perspectives, and that’s a key skill in the self-driving car industry.”

Work on Your Own Car

“If you want to work in an industry focused on cars, you should take a look at one. Change your oil. Change your brake pads. Go in with the mechanic when he or she has your car up on the hoist and look around. It’s about seeing where theory will meet practice. And it’ll make you less afraid to jump in and play around with physical systems.”

Never Stop Learning

“Keep in mind that this industry is evolving very quickly,” “The jobs that are out there today are going to be different tomorrow, and it’s very hard to predict what they will be. So, general knowledge, as opposed to specialized knowledge, is likely to be very important in the long run.”

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