By Todd Fisher, Chairman and Founder, Intraprise
October 2023 – In his Law of Accelerating Returns Kurzweil suggests that the rate of technological progress – notably AI – is increasing and accelerating exponentially. Think about it this way: by the time my three-year-old granddaughter turns 13, she will experience a year’s worth of progress in just three months. If the nature of such rapid change is still hard to imagine, just ask ChatGPT to explain, or send a group text to the five billion people connected to the Internet via smartphone. Don’t worry about language barriers; your text will be automatically translated.
Tech-fueled disruptive change is happening fast and speeding up. It’s hard to internalize and effectively adapt to such rapid-cycling innovative disruption. The most challenging professional issue in this context is finding people with the skill sets best suited to adapt and thrive in an environment marked by continuous tech-driven change. While every industry confronts this reality, the US healthcare industry in particular faces a steep climb in the coming decade, exacerbated by this swirl.
- Specialization Expires Fast
The shelf-life of specialization grows shorter with each cycle of disruption. AI advancement blurs the lines that separate jobs best served by machine or human, amplifying the need for a coherent approach to skill development and labor transformation.
What happens when access to knowledge is no longer a barrier to entry? The value of that knowledge is reduced because accessibility has become democratized. The value proposition shifts from the acquisition of knowledge to the crafting of thoughtful questions designed to coalesce disparate knowledge sources into new insights that result in innovation.
- Healthcare’s Conundrum
The largest future job gains are expected to be in healthcare… there could be demand for 3.5 million more jobs for health aides, health technicians, and wellness workers, plus an additional two million healthcare professionals.
According to the McKinsey Global Institute’s July 2023 report, Generative AI and the future of work in America.
Further, Dell Technologies and the Institute for the Future published their 2020 The Future Of Work report, estimating that by 2030, 85% of the jobs to be filled do not currently exist. Layer in that the US healthcare system leans heavily on the status quo – a form of confirmation bias that is both blind and deaf to the coming tsunami of disruption.
Good news: the problem is solvable with an understanding of the skill sets required to effectively adapt to the inherent volatility and growing uncertainty that accompanies continuous disruption.
Meta-skills: Resuscitating the Value of a Liberal Arts Education
The five soft skills that “distinguish us from machines and transcend any specific job training.” are:
- Critical thinking
- Ethical reasoning
- Emotional intelligence
These Meta-skills represent the authentic human capabilities that technology cannot replicate in a world increasingly dependent upon technology.
Acquired through a liberal arts education, or developed through a combination of nature and nurture, the Meta-skills offer a critical counterbalance to the culture of specialization that grew out of the twentieth century’s assembly line approach to lifeless, soul crushing mass production. In our world, where AI is so pervasive as to be ambient, these skills are critically important. They allow us to ask, contemplate, and answer the questions of our modern era: just because AI is capable of autonomously accomplishing advanced tasks, should it? And how do we reap the benefits of technological advancement while reducing the potential for negative, unintended consequences?
- Prospection is the Linchpin
In many ways, the skill of prospection is the convergence of technological savvy with the other four Meta-skills.
In their 2023 book Tomorrowmind, Kellerman and Seligman define prospection as,
the uniquely human ability to imagine and plan for disparate futures, so that we are in a greater state of empowerment and readiness for whatever is to come.
Consider this real-life application: when dealing with groundbreaking technologies like CRISPR, it’s not enough to consider just the immediate ethical concerns. We must project into the future to consider long-term societal, ethical, and biological consequences. Will gene editing lead to unintended ecological impacts? Could it create a socioeconomic divide, leading to a new form of inequality?
Prospection is the ingredient required to transform the five soft skills into a packaged set of Meta-skills, thus offering the greatest potential value.
The Profile of a Meta-skilled Team
- Disciplined, technology savvy, and insatiably curious critical thinkers, these folks are comfortable operating in shades of gray.
- They see opportunity in rapid cycling innovative disruption and consume emerging technology research as a critical part of their intellectual diet.
- They challenge and test the boundaries of what is thought to be known, understanding that what we know and what we believe we know are different. And since we don’t know what we don’t know, anything is possible.
With respect for the innovative disruption of our modern era, rather than an instinct to rage against it, Meta-skilled teams present an opportunity to transform the healthcare industry. We should stop thinking about technological innovation as the square peg, and the healthcare industry as the round hole. Instead, we can deploy teams of Meta-skilled professionals to reimagine the relationship between healthcare and technology. There, we find an opportunity to create a new dynamic that aligns tech-innovation with the healthcare industry’s needs, to better serve our communities.
 Kurzweil, an inventor, futurist, and winner of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation for his leadership role in advancing speech and text recognition technologies, coined The Law of Accelerating Returns, which states that while most things progress linearly, technological change is exponential.
 The full title of the report is, The Future Of Work: forecasting emerging technologies’ impact on work in the next era of human-machine partnerships
 Many articles in respected publications that cite this statistic, and an equal number who dispute the statistic as unscientific hyperbole. The truth is in the middle. It might be a stretch to suggest over 8 out 10 jobs to be filled in 2030 have not been invented yet; and, a substantial number of new types of jobs will be created, driven by rapid change
 From Tomorrowmind: Thriving at Work with Resilience and Connection Now and in an Uncertain Future
 Tomorrowmind: Thriving at Work with Resilience and Connection Now and in an Uncertain Future
Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats: a technology used by research scientists to selectively modify DNA in living organisms
About the Author
Todd Fisher, Intraprise’s Chairman and Founder, is a three-time CEO; in his 30 years of experience, he has created innovative information technology solutions, supporting the most demanding environments. With industry-first innovations for the healthcare sector, like the first fully web-enabled electronic health record (EHR) offered using the SaaS business model, the Intraprise team has long served as pioneers in the field. While two of his businesses operate in their original forms, one was sold to Siemens Health Services after two years of operation and 400% growth.
Before his career as an entrepreneur, Todd was commissioned as an officer in the US ARMY’s Signal Corp. While on active duty, he was assigned to the 1st Special Forces Group, where he proudly served for four years. It was during that time serving his country that Todd’s passion for technological innovation grew, fed by on-the-job training. With that experience as a springboard, Todd founded Intraprise Solutions, with the goal of solving the most onerous industry challenges.
Todd and the Intraprise team can meet any strategic issue and technology challenge head-on. With strong roots in healthcare and unrivaled passion for innovation, Intraprise’s team of seasoned entrepreneurs, CEOs, engineers, and technologists is prepared to contribute their expertise to create well-rounded and comprehensive plans to advise professionals in the healthcare setting. Follow Intraprise’s insights on LinkedIn & Twitter, or visit their platform, the Knowledge Exchange, for weekly trends, content, and commentary.