Everywhere there are new advances in robotics, artificial intelligence, and data skills that promise to reshape the economy. But what does this mean for students and workers? How can human beings keep up in an increasingly automated economy?

That’s a question we hope to put on the agenda at the prestigious SXSW and SXSWedu conferences in 2018—and we need your help to do it.

SXSW is unique because it allows the public to vote on the panels they think should be included on the agenda. Anyone can vote through the Panelpicker process, whether they have attended (or plan on attending) SXSW or not. You’ll need to sign up for a free PanelPicker account first.

This year, Burning Glass Technologies is proposing two panels, one at SXSW and another at its sister conference for educators, SXSWedu. The annual conferences in Austin are a major venue for discussing the impact of technology, and we think it’s an excellent place to discuss the distinctive role people will play in this automated future.

Our panels are:

SXSWedu: Baseline Skills for the 21st Century

Nearly everyone in education has a list of skills that “every student should learn.” But what are the real baseline demands we should make of students, particularly when more jobs are “hybrids” blending different skill sets? What set of abilities will enable graduates to navigate the workforce? Our panel will look at the latest data on what employers demand in the job market, examining emerging skills such as coding, design, and data analysis, as well as traditional “soft skill” requirements. Panelists will include Jamai Bliven, founder and CEP of Innovate+Educate, Debbie Hughes, Vice President of the Business-Higher Education Forum, Frank Woodbeck, vice chancellor of the Nevada System of Higher Education, and Burning Glass CEO Matt Sigelman. Vote now!

SXSW: Understanding the Human Side of Automation

Automation will be the most important trend in the job market over the next decade. What does this mean for individual workers? Research from Burning Glass, a labor market analytics firm, has found adding digital skills actually decreases workers’ risk of being made obsolete by automation. This panel will examine trends in automation with a particular focus on its labor market impact on distinctly human skills such as creativity, judgement, entrepreneurship and communication. Panelists will include Professor David Deming of Harvard University, Tess Posner, Executive Director of AI4ALL, Saadia Zahidi, Head of Education, Gender, and Work System Initiatives at the World Economic Forum, and Dan Restuccia, Chief Analytics Officer at Burning Glass.Vote now!

In addition, Burning Glass Director of Product Management Liz Tan Levy is part of another panel sponsored by PAIRIN, “How will big data evolve career and job search?” that is also up for voting in SXSW Panelpicker. We hope you’ll vote for that panel as well.

Thanks for your support, and we’ll see you in Austin.

Scott Bittle is communications director at Burning Glass Technologies.
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