Photo: Flickr Woodley Wonderworks
My daughter started kindergarten last week. She’s in the system now and — if all goes well — will graduate in thirteen years as a proud member of the class of 2025.My smartphone alerted me to an incoming Twitter mention as I watched her stride with excitement (and a little anxiety) to her classroom on her first day, and I couldn’t help but think how much mobile devices and social technology will completely change the world by the time she finishes high school.
To start, business intelligence and recommendation engines will make the process of selecting a college radically different. Think Amazon’s recommendations are impressive or the jobs LinkedIn suggests for you are a fit? Give the technology another decade and observe how colleges market to kids on social networks based on personality and affinity.
Certainly, my daughter and her classmates will still factor in reputation and brand identity of stellar schools like Harvard and Stanford, but more important will be the extent to which a school makes a personalised case for itself on Facebook, YouTube, and Pinterest (or the next generation versions of these sites) and demonstrates why its curriculum and culture are an ideal fit for the student’s personality, needs, and interests.
While getting ready for school, my daughter will probably want to find a summer job to have some spending money for school. After talking to her friends in a group video chat and inquiring where they’ll be working, she’ll consider a referral from one of her friends and then launch an app that asks her to let it use her address to find nearby jobs.
She’ll accept and the app will provide a personalised listing of all nearby part-time positions suitable for a 17 seventeen year old who plans to attend college at the end of the summer. An opening for a YMCA Summer Counselor will rise to the top, because the app will know from my daughter’s social profile that she’s enjoys swimming and gymnastics and used to take classes at that same YMCA when she was in grade school.
My daughter won’t need to provide a resume or attend an in-person interview, because the interviewer will have access to her LinkedIn HighSchool profile, but she will be asked to complete an online assessment test and answer a few questions through video chat. While she completes the assessment and answers questions that can’t be studied for in advance, an HR analyst at the employer will run a social reputation check. The screening diagnostic will take in and analyse the massive digital footprint my daughter has created over her entire life — all the public posts, comments, likes, activity on gameworlds, pictures, videos, lists, and more — and give the sum a rating, not unlike a credit score. The assessment algorithm will return a Pass/Fail, and since my daughter passes, she’ll be invited to move on to the final phase of pre-employment screening.
To gauge situational fit and competencies that can’t be forecast by analytics, my daughter will access a software game customised with workplace scenarios. She might have to manage a room of virtual children who are misbehaving and manage the situation, based on resources and priorities. Or she’ll supervise the pool and need to demonstrate what she would do if a swimmer has a medical emergency and goes under water. She might be testing with one or two other candidates, and if so she’ll have to decide if she’s better served by teaming up or going it alone. All of the simulations will measure her organizational skills, leadership, cooperation, and adversity quotient.
When my daughter completes the simulation, a smiling representative from Human Capital Management will thank her for her time and let her know that a decision will be forthcoming, even though a sophisticated algorithm has already made the hire decision. Walking home, my daughter will pass a preschool and observe a group of children, who will start kindergarten in the coming fall. She’ll glance at her mobile and begin to wonder what changes are in store for these kids — the class of 2038 — when a message flashes onscreen informing her that she got the job.
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