Why should businesses invest in the arts? Why ‘sing for your supper’ when you can earn much more by coding? In an era when artificial intelligence (AI) is forecast to eliminate millions of jobs, many educators and policy-makers advocate scientific, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education as the solution to future unemployment. They envision a workforce of diligent coders who automate everything, including their own jobs. While useful for finding tech jobs today, this myopic approach ignores the coming ‘Cambrian explosion’ of content and services that are being catalysed by exponential technologies. In Silicon Valley, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality are already being applied to surgery, warehousing, retailing, architecture, construction, cars, therapy and concerts. Top VR managers and developers come from the social sciences and humanities, which provide the analytical and social skills for understanding customers and identifying new use cases and business models. STEM alone cannot answer the complex ethical and policy issues facing businesses: companies need employees with ‘soft skills’ who can integrate STEM with the arts (STEAM). In Silicon Valley today, the most challenging jobs are going to people who can offer practical answers to bottom-line questions about the value of social, cultural and artistic soft skills. What is the value of the arts for business growth? What can businesses learn from the creative industries? How can return on investment in the arts be measured? How will STEAM and exponential technologies enable new business models? How can STEAM education prepare people for the AI era?
Tatsuno, S. (2020), "The Arts as an Economic Driver in an Era of Exponential Technologies: A Silicon Valley Entrepreneur’s Perspective", Formica, P. and Edmondson, J. (Ed.) Innovation and the Arts: The Value of Humanities Studies for Business, Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 187-206. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-78973-885-820201010Download as .RIS
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