EDITORIAL | Graduates in the postdigital age

This March, we take a look at our new batch of graduates who need to contend with unique exigencies as they both enjoy the perks of technology as well as cope with its challenges.

Today’s graduates are part of what cultural theorists call the postdigital age—a paradigm that does not pertain to a life after digital, but as a life that explores the disruptive consequences of the computer age.

On one hand, the graduates of today could be said to have benefited much from technology in ways their predecessors could have probably not imagined. Long hours of research at libraries looking for information were replaced by minutes of Googling. Traditional learning methods were augmented by the integration of new media such as video and audio content. The inconveniences of writing in longhand or typing documents with clunky typewriters were eliminated through encoding documents using word processors. With massive open online classes, instructional videos, and other how-to materials, anyone can enrich his/her knowledge at one’s own pace.

On the flipside, however, technological advancements such as machine learning and artificial intelligence mean that the skills acquired by the graduates may be rendered obsolete.

As more jobs are automated, skills that are still difficult to pass on to machines, such as critical and creative thinking, persuasion and negotiation are given more weight—probably much more than what they have been given in the past.

Today’s graduates need to come to terms with the reality that while the world has undeniably changed because of technology, many things have remained the same. There is still a need to be lifelong learners, to constantly ignite one’s curiosity to acquire new knowledge and skills.

In other words, in this increasingly-computerized world, there remains space for the basic cognitive, human faculties of imagination, perception, and judgment—all of which today’s graduates must possess, if one were to succeed in the postdigital age.