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Artificial Intelligence causes shift toward software and computing knowledge in future of job skills

Multimedia reporting by Mariah Posey | May 11, 2017

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photo by @ImaginingInternet Twitter

Artificial intelligence is far from being a science-fiction concern. It’s real and according to a May 3, 2017 report put out Pew Research Center, is “eating humans’ jobs talent.” Global consultancy McKinsey reports that as much as 50 percent of the world economy could be affected by automation technologies currently available. That translates to 1.2 billion employees and $14.6 trillion in wages. But, by assessing the future of job skills and job training, more time can be spent prepping for the future of the job market rather than worrying.

“Every job will be affected by artificial intelligence,” said Janna Anderson, director of Imagining the Internet. She added that, “Everybody needs to be a jack of all trades. You need to be able to understand a wide variety of things. It’s not enough to be able to count on Siri or Alexa to answer your questions. You have to be able to synthesize information in a way that provides value for your organization.”

In conducting a survey of more than 1,400 technologies, Pew Research and Elon University’s Imaging the Internet Center found several skills which respondents predicted to be “of most future value.” Of those included adaptability, resilience, empathy and conflict resolution.

Freshman Steven Klausner, an international business and policy studies double major, says that he can see artificial intelligence potentially being a threat to him personally as he intends to work with geopolitical analysis and consultancy.

“AI or any sort of advanced technology, if it gets to the point where it’s advanced enough, will diminish the need for a middle man in between firms trying to decide if it’s safe or advisable to enter a market and the market itself,” Klausner said.

Klausner recognizes that certain skills such as coding and management information may have to be added into core curriculums, but doesn’t feel like anything will ever fully replace human interaction.

“I definitely feel like the ability to be a leader and have leadership qualities and be charismatic are skills that will never go away,” he said. “Even if you do have computers, there’s always going to need to be someone in charge. The ability to relate to a person whether it be personally, intellectually or professionally, that’s just something that’s essential in the work place and in human interaction.”

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Sean Walker

Sean Walker, Media Services Lead, also believes that neither computers or machines will ever fully replace human-to-human interaction. The ability to be creative, think in real time, and problem solve are area he believes human will continue to dominate, and says that those currently in school should do fine in the job market.

“I think your generation will be fine because in your lifetime, you’ll probably see artificial intelligence doing things for you. I don’t think you’ll see artificial intelligence really replacing humans in the work force. That might take 100 years.”

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Timothy Williams

Timothy Williams, a resident of Roxboro, North Carolina, works at LabCorp and is currently studying mechatronics engineering in school and considers himself a “robotic fanatic.” He thinks basics electrical knowledge will serve anyone will in the future job market.

“Of course you would have to know electronics, at least the basics of electrical circuits and components, period,” Williams said. “On a more advanced note: programming, wiring, manufacturing — all of that plays a part in robotics. But you have to remember that artificial intelligence and robotics in itself are nothing but programs. That program is only going to do what you program it to do. If you program it to do something stupid, it’s going to do something stupid.”

Although Williams hasn’t experienced artificial intelligence replacement personally, he said the possibility does concern him.

“Everything can be a complement, I mean look at computers — they’re complements to our lives because they make things easier,” Williams said. “Technology is here to make life easier, but it still depends on how you use that technology. If a job doesn’t necessarily qualify a human as being adequate for a job, then they should not be in business in my personal opinion. Because if you have nothing monitoring that robot, you’re asking for problems.”

He added that, “Nothing’s better than a human because we learn from our mistakes, robots don’t. They do what they’re programmed to do and that’s it. After that, you can’t expect no more out of it. If they start making mistakes, then where’s the human to fix that?”

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‘WORK HARD NOW AND PLAY LATER’: PHOTOJOURNALIST AL DRAGO VISITS ELON TO SPEAK ON NETWORKING UP THE LADDER

Multimedia journalism by Mariah Posey | March 31, 2017

Al Drago is a photojournalist and class of ’15 Elon alumni. He is based in Washington, D.C. covering all things politics and currently works for the NYT as a contract press photographer for President Donald Trump. He visited journalism professor Janna Anderson’s class this Friday to talk about his experience at Elon and networking.

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Al Drago in Philadelphia at a Hillary Clinton event in 2015 taken by one of his friends that he shared on Facebook.

Al Drago has been working since he was 16-years-old and by the age of 17, had daily bylines. It was a family trip to Boston more than 10 years ago that provided the 2015 Elon University journalism alumni with his first photography experience. Now, after delving into photography and journalism in high school as well at Elon, he works as a contract press photographer for The New York Times covering all things politics.

During the final months of Barack Obama’s presidency, he traveled with the then-president as a pool photographer covering the transition, the inauguration and first 100 days of President Donald Trump’s term. Currently, he and two other selected photographers are responsible for following the president everywhere he goes.

This Friday March 31, Drago revisited Elon to speak and share his wisdom on branding and networking to other journalism students.

Drago's Top 8When Drago was a student at Elon, he knew that internships were key. To remain focused on them, he made a piece of paper listing the different publications he could potentially work at ranking them on the level of achievability. He knew that he could work at The Burlington Times-News easily, but at the top level he listed the ones that were his dream jobs: The New York Times and the Washington Post.

“I knew I was going to work there someday,” Drago said. “And now I am.”

He didn’t know how it would happen, but something he had learned from journalism professor Janna Anderson stuck with him: if you want to be at the top, start out on top.

“You can advance your career in the first five years out of college more than you can in the 15 years after college,” he said. “Then, when you’re 30 you can have your cushion job and relax and go to Ibiza.”

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Al Drago speaking during his presentation.

Drago kept his career goals at the forefront of his college career spending most days outside of class and in the community shooting real stories with real people.

“My Elon experience was based around the journalism I did, the journalism I committed,” he said. “And it was great because I got a four-year archive.”

He hit the ground running joining on-campus news organizations such as The Pendulum and Elon Local News, but knew outside experience was everything.

Some advice an editor gave him was, “You’re not going to get hired off of shooting on campus because it’s a bunch of 18 to 20-year-olds and that’s not what the real world looks like.”

“I started networking day one and cold-emailed editors,” Drago said. “Of course I said I want to work for you but also, ‘I love your photos. What camera settings did you use? Hey, these are the photos I took this month.’”

Eventually, editors took notice of his work and noticed that he was improving.

“I ferociously worked,” he said. “I knew what I wanted so I worked non-stop.”

Ultimately, his drive to work and ability to put himself out there got him hired at The New Times doing what he loves for a living at the age of 24. His multiple internships at the Durham Herald-Sun, Burlington Times-News, Raleigh News & Observer and the Baltimore Sun set him apart and gave him the opportunity to continue developing new skills.

His biggest piece of advice for aspiring journalists is to put yourself out there and “know your worth.”

Find his Twitter and Instagram here.

 

‘The History of Stepping’ shows how using the body as an instrument is a powerful tool in uniting a culture

Multimedia journalism by Mariah Posey | March 27, 2017

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Panel members left to right: Janaé Williams, Anthony Chatman, William Henderson, Delaney Hinnant, Jessica Womak, Chris Blair.

Behind the powerful style of dance linked to African American culture and the nine National Pan-Hellenic Council Greek organizations is a powerful history that transcends centuries. What began as a means of survival for South African gold miners during the 19th century has become a unifying art form for an entire culture.

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Photo by therealafrican.com

In the 1880s during the Apartheid in South Africa, oppressive laws and harsh working conditions restricted the freedoms miners had. With dark work environments and forbiddance to speak with one other, the miners were left to find an alternative. Their solution involved the few things they could actually rely on: their bodies, gumboots and rhythm. Through slapping their boots, stomping their feet and rattling their shackles, they created beats and a strong form of communication called “Gumboot dancing.”

Eventually, the style of communication morphed into a style of dance called “stepping” that landed on Howard University’s campus in the 1920s. Through the decades, it continued to evolve incorporating vocal expressions. It has since weaved its way into the proud histories of NPHC Greek organizations.

In order to educate the students of Elon University on how stepping became a signature of black Greek organizations, NPHC hosted “The History of Stepping” this Monday March 27 in Moseley 215 at 5:30 p.m.

According to junior Janaé Williams, one of the panelists and member of the Xi Omicron chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, both stepping and strolling are linked to NPHC organizations but differ in their purposes.

“In stepping you use your body as the instrument in which you communicate a message whereas in strolling, you’re not so much an instrument but you’re moving in ways that are the same as the other members of your organization,” Williams said. “That’s why strolling is usually done in a line to perform unity between the brotherhood of sisterhood of your organization. Stepping doesn’t necessarily have to be in a line as long as your synchronized and making the same beats also making one sound.”

But although the organizations are known for their precise steps, it is not the forefront of their brotherhoods and sisterhoods according to senior Chris Blair, a member of the Sigma Mu chapter of Omega Psi Phi. He said servicing the community is what they most take pride in.

“We service the community and the people around us,” Blair said. “Each and every organization prides themselves off of service. It’s not about just looking good within each other, it’s about trying to help build the community. That’s what all of the fraternities and sororities were built off of. That’s how they were founded and that’s what they strive to do.”

A ‘light-hearted’ card making event at the Maker Hub

by Mariah Posey | Feb. 13, 2017

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Photo by Mariah Posey | Valentine’s Day cards created by Maker Hub staff using a vinyl silhouette cutter.

What better way to tackle complex machinery than to make Valentine’s Day cards with it? To celebrate the heartfelt holiday and kick off the 2017 year, the Maker Hub hosted their Crafty Cards event 7-8 p.m. Monday, Feb. 13 in Harper Hall using a vinyl silhouette cutter to create fun Valentine Day cards.

“It’s the best piece of equipment in here for making cards and we figured Valentine Day cards were something that a lot of people would like to do based on what people have come to for past events,” said Maker Hub employee senior Sabrina van der Gracht. “The two seemed to go together and it was a good way to bring up that piece of equipment.”

To get attendees familiar with the equipment and software being used before jumping in, the event began with a step-by-step tutorial displayed on an overhead screen.

“It just shows a grid which is how the program works,” said sophomore Anthony Fraden. “There’s also a grid on a pad where you place the paper so it shows you how to size in one-square inch. Then it’d be basic cutting tools and basic ways to design shapes and different card styles so that we could make cards. We just go through the process doing some trial and error with different images and ultimately got some really cool cards out of it.”

Fraden described hub events as a “light-hearted space where everyone can be welcomed.” Although some of the equipment available in the hub can be challenging and require skill, he says that for the most part everything is open and accessible to everyone. While some things may require minor supervision, nothing is explicitly off-limits.

“Sometimes there [may be] little aspects about it that people don’t quite connect but after a bit of explaining and showing hands-on, people usually pick it up right away,” he said.

Senior Kat Westover was one of the attendees who was able to get the process down pretty quickly, even managing to manipulate a design into the computer software.

“I think it went pretty well,” Gracht said. “Kat’s been working on the silhouette cutter and at first it was a little bit rough, but after a couple of tries she’s basically doing it by herself.”

 

Another attendee, junior Sarah Hennenkamp, also ended the event feeling accomplished. She decided to make a card filled with cinnabons based on a running joke between her and her boyfriend. She says although she didn’t have many expectations regarding what she wanted to create, she likes how they turned out.

Gracht recognizes the Maker Hub as a place of humble beginnings for many event attendees and welcomes the learning process.

“For events in here, it’s usually people who have never used the equipment before,” Gracht said. “Because these are kind of starters to get people’s feet wet in how to use the equipment, it’s a good way to start with something simple that way they can come back in later.”