Deep Learning? Investigating Student’s Perceptions of Educational and Occupational Skills for the Fourth Industrial Revolution
The introduction of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a key factor driving the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Like industrial revolutions of the past, it will have a profound effect on jobs, the kinds of skills needed to fill jobs, and the role of tertiary education in gaining them. Literature suggests that the kinds of skills gained from the Liberal Arts will be important to the future occupational opportunities. This thesis examines students’ perceptions of the jobs and skills of the current job and educational context. This is examined through a survey of students (n=1,136) from a research university in Nova Scotia, Canada. Despite the literature’s emphasis on the importance of Liberal Arts, my research finds that Arts students do not see the importance of soft skills they have in the future of work as compared to students in other faculties. They also do not see the impact of AI on the labour market and were least likely to feel they are gaining skills needed to be successful in the future labour market. Liberal arts students also expressed that they were not pursuing their degree for a specific line of work and they were least likely to feel they are getting value out of their degree. By contrast, Health students hit many of the aspects that suggests they are best prepared for the coming disruptions. This shows that universities and Deans of Faculties of Arts and Social Sciences can do more to help students prepare for the changing future of work.