One of the major manufacturers in the Warren County area forecasts that, seven years from now, “half of its workers will be robots.”
“If your children and grandchildren are not prepared for that economy, they will not make it,” Dr. Tony Kinkel, president of Motlow State Community College, told The Rotary Club of McMinnville on Thursday.
“We are shifting to the fourth phase” in the world’s economic evolution — “the age of artificial intelligence.” Robots now under development will possess “an IQ of 10,000,” contrasted with average human IQ of 100, Kinkel stated.
Kinkel leads Tennessee’s fastest-growing system of post-secondary education with 5,144 students on four campuses in its 11-county service area. Figures released last week show Motlow enrollment grew nearly 13 percent over the last year and has exceeded the statewide growth trends in each of the last four academic semesters.
Not even lawyers are immune to the advance of competitors powered by artificial intelligence. The speaker cited the latest version of IBM’s Watson attorney that can analyze a dizzying 10,000 court cases in one second.
Motlow was recently awarded a $5.5 million state grant to create a first-in-the-nation Advanced Robotics Training center, considered a natural extension of the pioneering Mechatronics program, Kinkel noted.
“I think your community will change. I think this will put us on the map internationally,” Kinkel said.
As for future jobs in Warren County, “Industry goes where there is already trained labor,” Kinkel said.
In the “new economy,” Kinkel said, for every one job requiring a doctorate degree there will be two jobs demanding a bachelor’s degree and seven calling for a two-year degree.
TN Promise, which pays tuition and some other costs for students in their first two years of college, and TN Reconnect, which offers benefits for students returning to college or training after a period of absence, are designed to lift Tennessee into the top ranks of education, Kinkel said.
Kinkel will appear on WCPI’s “Focus” program this week. The 40-minute conversation will air on 91.3 FM Tuesday at 5 p.m.; Wednesday at 5:05 a.m.; Thursday at 1 p.m.; and Friday at 1:05 p.m.