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To thrive in tomorrow’s economy, workers need to boost lifelong cognitive abilities


The Cog­ni­tive Lim­its of Life­long Learn­ing (Project Syn­di­cate):

As new tech­nolo­gies con­tin­ue to upend indus­tries and take over tasks once per­formed by humans, work­ers world­wide fear for their futures. But what will real­ly pre­vent humans from com­pet­ing effec­tive­ly in the labor mar­ket is not the robots them­selves, but rather our own minds, with all their psy­cho­log­i­cal bias­es and cog­ni­tive lim­i­ta­tions

Life­long learn­ing is sup­posed to pro­vide the intel­lec­tu­al flex­i­bil­i­ty and pro­fes­sion­al adapt­abil­i­ty need­ed to seize oppor­tu­ni­ties in new and dynam­ic sec­tors as they emerge, as well as the resilience to han­dle shocks in declin­ing indus­tries … trade unions and busi­ness asso­ci­a­tions should estab­lish for­mal men­tor­ing pro­grams to advise work­ers on how to progress in their careers or in a tran­si­tion to a new sec­tor. Employ­ers, for their part, should estab­lish for­mal feed­back process­es, not just to eval­u­ate the per­for­mance of their employ­ees, but also to assess what skills need to be updat­ed or can real­is­ti­cal­ly be acquired.

In addi­tion, com­pa­nies should be grant­ed gen­er­ous tax incen­tives to boost invest­ment in train­ing pro­grams. Reflect­ing the real­i­ty of adults’ cog­ni­tive abil­i­ties, such pro­grams should aim to trans­fer new knowl­edge grad­u­al­ly, while lever­ag­ing crys­tal­ized intel­lec­tu­al skills. More expe­ri­enced work­ers might be less prone to learn­ing alto­geth­er new skills than their younger col­leagues, but they may excel in oth­er valu­able areas, such as prob­lem-solv­ing, self-man­age­ment, and self-moti­va­tion.

As we devel­op robots with increas­ing­ly human-like capa­bil­i­ties, we should take a clos­er look at our own. Only by learn­ing to over­come – or at least evade – our cog­ni­tive lim­i­ta­tions can we have long and fruit­ful careers in the new glob­al econ­o­my.”

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Categories: Cognitive Neuroscience, Education & Lifelong Learning, Peak Performance, Professional Development

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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

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