I found time to watch Blade Runner 2049 at the IMAX cinema yesterday. Despite the occasional instance of head nodding due to tiredness, it was a stunning sequel to the 1982 Ridley Scott classic. The film portrays a vision of the future where Artificial Intelligence and robots (Replicants) are a dominant part of society. We don’t know if 2049 will look like Denis Villeneuve’s dystopian vision but some experts are predicting that by 2030 half of today’s jobs will be taken over by machines.
We had our busiest ever Open Morning on Saturday and the main theme for my talk was about how we prepare our children for the future. One of the ways we do this is by trying to keep up with the exponential rate of change in technology and investing in our facilities in Computing and Design and Technology.
Even more important are the skills that we equip the children with. The original Blade Runner film, based on Philip K Dick’s ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep’, asks the question what is it to be human? The Blade Runners carry out tests on subjects to ascertain whether they are human or not. The Voight-Kampff test asks a series of questions that are supposed to identify if the subjects have empathy, a distinctly human trait. Human qualities or soft skills (empathy, emotional intelligence, creativity, teamwork, leadership and adaptability) are what make us unique and therefore even more valuable as we enter into an uncertain and technologically advanced future. With the progressive changes that we have introduced into our curriculum, from Forest Schools, Wellbeing and Life Skills as part of the House Carousel to the Creative Learning Project in Lower School, we are confident that that we are equipping our children today with the skills they will need tomorrow.