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

Multimedia reporting by Mariah Posey | May 11, 2017


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.”


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.”


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?”


Pursuit of fitness: 22-year-old Mark Harris’ journey to developing a passion for health and inspiring others

by Mariah Posey | April 2, 2017

Mark Harris is a 22-year-old self-taught fitness motivator from Chapel Hill, North Carolina with more than 4,500 Instagram followers. He shares videos of his workout transformations as well as words of encouragement with his followers.

Harris wide 2

Photo courtesy of Mark Harris

Harris weight

Photo courtesy of Mark Harris

There’s one golden key to life whether pursuing happiness or any other achievable fulfillment and Will Smith said it best in the movie “Pursuit of Happyness”: if you want something, go get it. Period. At just 22-years-old, fitness motivator Mark Harris has become the champion of his own career by making his goals a priority and checking things off the list as he goes.

With a current Instagram following of more than 4,500 people with whom he shares motivational posts tracking his fitness journey, Harris aims to show people that failure is essential to any success story and that anyone willing to work is capable of succeeding.

“I’m a huge believer in if you want it, you’ll make time for it,” Harris said. “If it’s truly your passion, without any busts or doubts, you will make time for it at the end of the day.”

From skinny to built: figuring out what works

Harris began making time for what he wanted two years ago when he decided to start living a healthier lifestyle. Being the only one in his family to take a strong interest in fitness at the time, he was left to figure out the specifics on his own which he described as a “nerve-wracking” process.

Harris Pull 2“It didn’t take me til’ recently to figure things out, like eight months ago, when I really started to conduct my own studies and research what workouts work best, what benefits what muscle groups and whatever,” he said. “That’s when I really started to crack it down. I guess from failure, from trying this workout and that workout, that’s what kept me going.”

Knowing that everyone’s body performed differently, it was important for Harris to learn what worked best for him. He said although genetics play a role, strong work ethic can also yield results.

“Some people have great genetics so therefore, they work a certain muscle group,” he said. “Of course, they’re going to be able to grow faster, develop faster, get better results. And then there’s the other people who really have to work twice, even 10 times as hard, as the other person who has great genetics.

“That’s why I kept doing the transformations. It’s to show people that I basically came from nothing — skinny guy running track — to I guess a bodybuilding motivator now.”

Finding a balance between work and play

Harris suit

Photo by Caroline Brehman | Mark Harris at Elon University.

Harris says true passions require sacrifice, and as a member of the U.S. Air Force deployed in the Middle East, he is no stranger to the practice.

“Even though you have to sacrifice other things that are less important to you, you’re still going to do what your passion is at the end of the day,” Harris said. “Of course I run into lack of sleep, oh I miss this meal, that meal, but I’m so prioritized on what I want to do. People call it selfish, but it’s my passion so I don’t think that’s selfish whatsoever.”

Harris believes in the value of working hard and said slacking is not one of his cups of tea.

“I’m not a believer in kind of wanting things,” he said. “You either want it or you don’t.”

He says the best way to stay positive about what you’re doing is to not sweat the small things.

“There’s somebody out there that’s in a way worse situation than you’re in and I always think about that all the time,” he said. “Especially me being on this deployment, I’ve seen some really interesting things that’s just made me value my place in life. Valuing my opportunities, valuing my blessings. It’s really a humbling feeling.”

Although Harris has run into days where he doesn’t feel the most motivated, he makes it a point to remind himself of his purpose.

“I just consistently remind myself of what I am doing this for, how far I’ve came,” he said. “If I stop now and make excuses, how far is it going to set me up in the future? If I stop now, then I’ve basically settled. Settling is always not good, no matter which way you look at it.”

Using social media as a tool

Once Harris began seeing progress he was comfortable with, he realized he could use his results to inspire others through his Instagram account. He says the response he got was shocking.

“I had no clue that I had this many people supporting me,” he said. “You can scroll through all the comments and people are always telling me, ‘Keep pushing, keep going.’ They have my back if I need any help. And these people don’t even work out at all, and they see me posting these transformations and they want to go out and get it themselves.”

Harris pullOne supporter left a comment saying:

You’ve come such a long way and you are one of my very few sources of positivity and motivation. I do hope you always keep progressing in your journey and don’t ever lose that animal ambition of yours.

“I think that was my best comment,” Harris said. “Really caught me by surprise.”

With the support of his followers, Harris knew he couldn’t quit.

“People that don’t even work out keep telling me to keep going, keep pushing and that’s what makes me feel like I’m actually doing it for more of a purpose,” he said. “Because people have my back, I don’t really want to let them down.”

The opportunities Harris’s Instagram has provided him with allowed him to recognize its power along with that of other social platforms.

“People do not realize how much social media helps out and benefits you in the long run,” he said. “So many people shun social media, but social media actually helps you out tremendously.”

Working towards building a brand

Besides reaching his weight goal of 180 pounds and competing in the near future for natural bodybuilding, Harris wants to begin developing a brand within the next couple of years. Along with creating a clothing line, he hopes to someday own a gym of his own.

Larger than fitness, Harris wants his brand to promote messages of positivity. He encourages others to never quit, to hurdle their obstacles and above all, to know that “failing is acceptable, but settling isn’t.”

While uncertain of where exactly his passion will lead him next, Harris assures one thing:

“I’m just getting started.”

For fitness tips and more from Mark, visit his YouTube here.