You have all read it in the news. Most jobs will progressively disappear over the next 20 years. Actually most reports are greatly underestimating the exponential power of artificial intelligence and robotics and how fast they will suddenly replace practically any job if people will let them. Well that's the thing. Will people ever accept that their job is taken over by a machine? Most would rejoice at not having to contact an unreliable and potentially dishonest builder, lawyer, plumber, doctor, or whatever when they need one. Wouldn't it be so much easier if I had a domestic robot that could fix my house, tend my garden, cook, clean the house, advise me on my health and on legal issues, play with the kids, teach me foreign languages, and keep us up to date with the news we are interested in? That's the dream for many people. If that were to happen, most human doctors, lawyers, builders, cleaners, gardeners, etc. would lose their jobs - simply because demand would collapse. I am sure there would always be some traditionalists would prefer to hire a human instead of a robot. Just look at the dramatic rise (mostly through exceptional birth rates among these communities) of the Amish and the Haredi Jews, who both reject modern lifestyle and a lot of modern technologies. This is already creating a gaping digital divide in society, but this will get much worse in the coming decades as the connected majority will increasingly rely on technology for everything in their lives.

The issue that I would like to address here is the usefulness of the traditional education system. Some experts have warned that it is a waste of time to teach all children mathematics, as virtually all calculations will be done by phones, computers, robots, you name it, in the future. We have already reached a point where new technologies cannot be developed without AI for the calculations. In 15 or 20 years, all progress will be led by machine thinking, and humans will just sit back and watch think unravel before their eyes. AI will be so powerful (billions of times the capacities of the most brilliant human brain) that it would be pointless to even try to follow. It would take a mathematician hours to understand a second of AI calculation at that point. So why bother? We aren't there yet, but babies born now will never have to become mathematicians or even scientists. Actually they will never have to become lawyers, doctors, engineers, accountants, translator, or practically any of the jobs that the current education system prepares for.

I have given much thought to this in the last two years. At first, I expected that the only jobs left would be creative ones, like artists, as well as social ones, like care takers, sport teachers, party organisers, or even hairdressers (as many people, especially women, like to chat with their hairdresser and want someone who understands what haircut they like). But after some reflection it turns out that all these jobs could be performed much better by humanoid robots. So much is obvious when watching the Swedish TV series Real Humans, in which very real-looking humanoid robots (some indistinguishable from real humans, hence the title) are seen by a part of the population as more desirable sports coach, teachers, or even friends (if not lover) than actual human beings. This will happen gradually, as a lot of humans aren't very good at adapting to change, especially past a certain age. But as younger generations grow up in a world where ruled by robots, they will naturally choose the almost perfect humanoid robot, that can be customised at will to their liking and needs, to the never-perfect real humans.

This may sound like a bleak prospect for the future of humanity, a world where people prefer to socialise with machines than with other people. When you think about it, it has already started. How many people play video games or fiddle with their smartphone instead of talking to people?

That leads me to the future of education. Or rather how urgent it is becoming to reform education. The current Western education system has its roots in 18th-century Prussia, where schoolboys where taught discipline and made to sit on test and reproduce what they had learned in order to make good little soldiers. The United Kingdom copied the system, which eventually spread to all the Western world and beyond. The purpose is now to make law-abiding and docile workers who listen to authority, be it from their company's top managers or to politicians (although the latter is undergoing a collapse as the business world is overtaking the political world).

But we don't need to create hard-working and efficient employees or civil servants. All these jobs will be performed better, more cheaply and with less complaint by robots and AI. Big companies can't wait to lay out their human workers for that reason. In fact, most of us also can't wait to ditch annoying, inefficient or expensive human lawyers, doctors or contractors if given the chance to get better results at lower costs and less worries. We already prefer to shop on Amazon because it saves us time, money and the trouble of dealing with inefficient shopkeepers. There is no reason that we won't do the same for any other activity. That's why most jobs will disappear. Even if some people want to continue working, they just won't have enough customers any more.

That's why the modern education system should focus more on human skills, self-development, and how to lead happy lives, rather than trying to make us compete with machines. We should re-humanise education. Stop the old-fashioned Prussian system and teach humans how to be happy and live together. The irony is that we may need robots more intelligent than us to teach us all that.