Experts Say Life-long Learning is a Must to Keep Pace with Generative AI

Keeping up with the implications of generative artificial intelligence (AI) isn’t easy – even for the scientists and researchers behind it.

“This revolution has been fascinating to see. Even the people that created it have been impressed with what it can do that was never in the design,” says David Joyner.

Joyner is the executive director of online education & OMSCS in Georgia Tech’s College of Computing. He recently joined interim Dean of Computing Alex Orso for a frank discussion about generative AI’s current and potential impacts on society.

“Clearly, AI is having a very disruptive effect on society, and some people are concerned about it,” says Orso.

A key concern for many is the possibility of people losing their jobs to AI. But Joyner cautions organizations from moving too quickly. While some skills could be replaced with generative AI, doing so might weaken an organization’s future management pool.

Organizations are realizing these jobs are where junior employees prove themselves and demonstrate potential leadership skills. “If you cut out that rung with generative AI, then where do you find your people?

“We must figure out what generative AI can do well and properly leverage it so we’re not cutting out the foundation of a building and replacing it with sticks,” says Joyner.

Orso and Joyner say generative AI and other new technologies require people to become lifelong learners to stay relevant. But, relying on the classic model of attending classes full-time isn’t realistic for many.

More than ever, “we need to learn how to teach people where they are because more than ever people are going to have to keep learning, keep being lifetime learners that keep acquiring new skills,” says Joyner.

Building on lessons learned from Georgia Tech’s Online Master of Science in Computer Science (OMSCS) program, Joyner thinks teaching at scale may accelerate how quickly the world can adapt to evolving generative AI technologies to “develop the skills they’re going to need to be relevant tomorrow using what we know today.”

You can watch Orso and Joyner’s discussion on the College of Computing’s YouTube channel.