Working with Artificial Intelligence to Keep Americans Employed

We have all heard the dire warnings. Artificial intelligence is predicted to decimate job sectors already hit hard by outsourcing. Some studies suggest up to half of all work could be automated by 2030. That means factory workers, drivers, even some accountants may find themselves without a job.

Jennifer Granholm, the former governor of Michigan, knows the pain of job-loss all too well. She witnessed the closing of factories in towns like Greenville, where three thousand of the town’s eight thousand residents worked at the same plant. But, Granholm remains optimistic about the future of employment in the United States. She believes we can make artificial intelligence work for us, not against us.

Granholm uses the autonomous vehicle as one example. While the technology could put five million drivers out of work, it could also create millions of new jobs. We could see the rise of new industries such as mobile motels, or pop-up shops. Driverless cars could eliminate the need for massive parking lots, creating space for affordable housing. But, new industries require a workforce with new skills.

Granholm has five suggestions for creating that workforce. Three of those suggestions focus on investment in training, including apprenticeships and internships. She suggests diverting funds currently used to subsidize unemployment. She also says we need to come up with a way to create portable benefits for people with alternative jobs, such as Uber drivers and other app-based workers. The final suggestion: pay people for their data. Granholm says the tech sector is making billions off our personal information, and there may be a way to share that wealth.

Watch Shaping a 21st Century Workforce – Is AI Friend or Foe?

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Shaping Our Dynamic Microbiomes for Lifelong Health

Our life-spans are ever-increasing, but our health-spans are not, leading to long periods of unpleasant and expensive suffering with chronic conditions. Many of these conditions have recently been linked to the microbiome. We are constantly shaping our microbiomes through the foods we eat, the environments we experience, even the people we live and work with.

Through the American Gut Project, the largest crowdsourced and crowdfunded citizen-science project yet conducted, we now know about the microbiomes of many types of people, from the healthiest to the sickest. Potentially real-time analysis of our microbiomes could guide our daily decisions in a way that optimizes our microbiomes for extending our health-span. Although the potential benefits of such research are clear, what are the risks (e.g., privacy concerns) that need to be identified and addressed?

Rob Knight is Professor of Pediatrics, Bioengineering and Computer Science & Engineering and is Director of the Center for Microbiome Innovation at UC San Diego. He authored “Follow Your Gut: The Enormous Impact of Tiny Microbes” and co-authored “Dirt is Good: The Advantage of Germs for Your Child’s Developing Immune System.” His work combines microbiology, DNA sequencing, ecology and computer science to understand the vast numbers of microbes that inhabit our bodies and our planet. He was recently honored with the 2017 Massry Prize for his microbiome research.

Watch Shaping Our Dynamic Microbiomes For Lifelong Health – Exploring Ethics

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From Stone Bowls to Unsuspected Superheroes

If rocks could talk – what could they tell us about the earth, history and maybe ourselves? Find out as collections manager Alex Hangsterfer and curator Richard Norris reveal the treasure trove of samples housed at Scripps. Hear some of the fascinating stories behind how these samples were collected and learn about the incredible variety of investigations that they enable – from plate tectonics to earthquakes to archaeology.

Watch Archives of the Scripps Geologic Collections: From Stone Bowls to Unsuspected Superheroes

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Want to Build a Start Up? Advice to Students from Jarrod Russell

I like to think about the path to building successful startups as a journey–it’s really the entrepreneur’s journey. Each journey will be different, especially when it comes to the early stages of what sparks the idea for the startup. I simplify this journey by thinking of the entrepreneur is one of three stages: curious, committed, and crushing it.

Most students will be in the curious stage, where they are looking for inspiration, ideation, rapid prototyping and thinking about diving into incubation.

That said, assuming most students are curious about how to launch a startup, I have three general recommendations that might be helpful, and they are in three different areas of their life.

  1. Explore campus to make connections with talented peers / professors and find the programs and initiatives that will inspire and focus your ideation process.
    a.   Ideation — Be curious. Find problems to solve or new solutions to scale while doing your classwork and projects.
    b.   Programs / Relationships — see if your campus has an incubator, entrepreneurship program or certification, a business school, design or engineering programs; this is where you can build relationships with talented folks that can help you make an idea real, either as collaborators or mentors. If your school doesn’t have these resources, tell the campus leadership you want it.
  2. Have an idea? Build something, test it. Or work in a similar industry and help them test it. Embrace lab-to-market opportunities.
    a.   Don’t stay in the classroom. Push your professors to give you real-world, real-time problems and projects you can work on now. Can you do work study? Are there any competitions that will focus your efforts?
    b.   MVP, rapid prototyping, lean startup approach→ getting market feedback and data if and when possible.
    c.   If you can’t build an idea yourself, identify your needs and get a team together. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. If you don’t have an idea yet and want to boost your IQ, work at a startup part time or as an intern.
  3. Nurture community off campus. San Diego has a lot going on beyond your campus. Make an effort to attend a meaningful event off campus once a week.
    a.   There are lots of organizations in San Diego that are working to support aspiring and early-stage entrepreneurs. Learn who they are and check out their events. Subscribe to their newsletters to stay in the loop. Hop into meetups.
    b.   E.g. Startup San Diego has a lot of monthly and annual events coming up in 2019, including Convergence in late February, which is a must-attend event for college students. It’s essentially a Meetup for all Meetups crossed with an uncareer fair.

The last thing I would add is that the entrepreneurial journey can be a paradox. It requires both patience and impatience, a plan and the ability to pivot, investment to grow and fear of not having enough. However, three things that I have found hold constant are integrity, authenticity, and discipline. Basically, folks have to trust you, so be real with where you are at in your entrepreneurial journey and remember that you can’t build your idea alone, it requires collaboration.

On that note, something I heard from the Governor of Colorado, John Hickenlooper, comes to mind — it was his mantra when he was mayor of Denver.

Collaboration moves at the speed of trust.

Jarrod’s Bio
Jarrod is a local San Diegan, born and raised in Oceanside. He studied at Mira Costa Community College, then transferred to UCSD, where he was both an undergrad and grad student. For his undergraduate degree, Jarrod studied international political science and physics at Warren College. In graduate school, he went to the School of Global Policy and Strategy, where he focused on environmental policy and economic development. Jarrod has worked throughout Latin America, especially Bolivia, Brazil, and Mexico. He speaks both Spanish and Portuguese. He is also on the board of the Museum of Man in Balboa Park. He’s also taught in the hospitality and tourism program at San Diego State University.

Jarrod currently lives in Ocean Beach, where you’ll occasionally find him working from coffee shops, surfing, playing volleyball, and doing acro yoga.

Jarrod started working in the local innovation economy in 2013 when he became the Director of Public Affairs of a fast-growing internet marketing company. He has been a strong advocate of the startup community ever since, including his past community service as co-chair of the tech-startup committee for the Downtown San Diego Partnership for 2 years.

Watch Starting Up in San Diego: The Entrepreneur’s Journey with Jarrod Russell – Job Won

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Workforce Frontiers

We know that the future of work is upon us–AI, robotics, global markets and online innovations are driving massive changes. So, what about workforce development? This event explores the boundary-busting, outer reaches of workforce development where job quality, equity, outcomes and opportunity take center stage.

The program is presented by The San Diego Workforce Partnership which is committed to advancing new ideas and trailblazing daily to remain on the cutting edge of these critical shifts that shape how we work and thrive.

Watch Workforce Frontiers Symposium

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