Wed | Jan 27, 2021

Soft skills needed for the future

Published:Friday | April 24, 2020 | 9:44 AM
Executive Director of the Centre for Digital Innovation and Advanced Manufacturing at the Caribbean Maritime University, Erica Simmons - Contributed photo

Judana Murphy, Gleaner Writer

Executive Director of the Centre for Digital Innovation and Advanced Manufacturing at the Caribbean Maritime University, Erica Simmons, has asserted that soft skills are becoming the more desired abilities for the future.  

“We are looking for higher cognitive skills such as creativity, entrepreneurship and innovation. We also need social and emotional skills and at the moment, with all the talk about robots taking everything over, these are the skills that makes us uniquely human and they cannot be replicated by the machines,” she said.  

Simmons was speaking on Thursday during 'I am a Woman in Tech', a free two-day virtual conference hosted by Youth Can Do I.T. (YCDI), in partnership with the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology.

The conference is geared towards female professionals, university and high school students, in celebration of International Girls in ICT Day on April 23.

Among the social and emotional skills she noted are leadership, service orientation, social influence and emotional intelligence.

Simmons also explored 20 technologies that are changing the world and urged the participants to think about the opportunities for entrepreneurship.

Voice interfaces was one of the technologies highlighted and according to the global technology strategist, it is poised for growth.

“We have these interfaces in our homes, these Alexas, the Google Home and so we are going to see more and more of those interfaces coming on board,” Simmons said.

She posits that the Caribbean community can venture in this market and be successful, if the necessary groundwork is done.

“Those data sets need to be created and someone needs to go out and record our voices to make sure that these voice interfaces which are being trained on US voices, can understand our accents here in the Caribbean,” she explained.

Wearables are smart electronic devices worn close to or on the skin’s surface.

They are used for the collection of vital signs and to track fitness, among other things.

She said this industry has “exploded” and tasked young women to consider novel means of data collection using other items, rather than a watch, which is the most common gear.

Three dimensional (3D) printing has been around for some years and has proven to be efficient in the manufacturing of mechanical parts.

Simmons revealed that 3D printing, and by extension 4D printing, are expected to transform the fashion industry.

Testing has begun which involves the scanning of a model’s body structure and the garment design.

Today’s conference begins at 10:00 am under the theme “Making your mark”.

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