Humans Need Not Apply… | On Effective Instruction

Humans Need Not Apply…

“We are on the cusp of a revolution in the workplace.”

We’ve heard this line before…

  • when steam engines were introduced to replace animal labor
  • when assembly lines increased output from factories
  • when computers helped gain control of data and processes
  • when robots took over certain aspects of production and maintenance, helping increase speed and quality in outputs

With each change there were some displacements of workers and of business processes, but new, different opportunities opened up and production (and our economy) have marched forward.

But this time, there is something different, at least according to the YouTube channel CGPGrey. With this change in robotics and animation, the workplace revolution caused by them will have greater effects on our workforce than ever before…and it’s something that our society needs to think about and plan for before it arrives.

I invite you to watch the video Humans Need Not Apply then post your thoughts about how we as a college can help prepare our students for this upcoming shift in the workplace brought on by advanced robotics. Is CGPGrey correct with his assertions about this change? Are there alternative outcomes to those that are proposed in the video? What should we do as a college with our students to address the issues that are raised? We invite you to discuss this both with us and with your fellow instructors in the comment section .

Here’s the video. Please post your comments below.


  • I feel a bit overwhelmed after viewing this video and hearing an echo from the past, “Machines will take over the world someday.” To what end? What is the use of producing a product or providing a service that only a few can buy? That is assuming that only a few are getting any money through work and money is still our exchange system. If that is the future, I see a subculture developing just for survival. It has already begun to develop with groups that have gone back-to-nature for food with no hormones, clothes made from natural materials, etc. to live healthier lives. Maybe that would be education’s future, keeping alive the skills and knowledge to provide for yourself.

    We are notorious for doing things without thinking about the consequences, nuclear industry–waste disposal and accidents, Duke Energy–coal ash, fracking–???? Some benefited, but many paid the price. Maybe education should be taking the stand now with looking at the ethics and consequences of doing the things the video is talking about. Just because we can do these things, does not mean we should. Is money worth what it costs? When is enough enough?

    • It is unsettling that education is becoming more “automated.” But, even with online instruction, the relationship between students and instructor separates an active classroom from a “paint by numbers” classroom. Just as in seated classes, superior online instructors will nurture relationships that develop a culture of respect, curiosity, and teamwork. I hope that technologies will always be tools of the trade and never become the trade itself 😉

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