Cultivating Human Resources
for the Era of Digitalization

The 21st century will be a period of enormous transformation in the technology
known as digitalization, and this will have a huge impact on human work. All
information around us is being transformed into data which can be read and
processed by machines, and already jobs exclusively involving the transmission of
data and jobs characterized by routine and standardized procedures are being
taken over by machines. In such an era, what types of skills should human workers
attempt to acquire?

The results of research conducted in the AI project “Can a Robot get into The
University of Tokyo?,” commenced in 2011, led to the conclusion that AI had difficulty
in understanding the meaning of words and judging situations. This is to say that the
role of humans will not disappear in jobs involving problem-solving, jobs which
demand understanding of contexts and judgment of situations. In jobs of this type,
humans capable of appropriate communication are able to display greater ability
than machines. However, reading skills tests conducted by the authors indicated
that many students have not mastered the ability to read with an understanding of
the meaning of words and contexts, and are able to read only in a superficial
manner similar to that of an AI. Based on these results, the authors suggest that
there is value in considering a shift in Japanese language education towards logical
activities which cultivate reading ability.

Noriko Arai
Professor, Information and Society Research Division, National Institute of Informatics
Koken Ozaki
Associate Professor, Graduate School of Business Sciences, University of Tsukuba