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Book Aims to Re-Design the Up-Skilling Game. Rotman School Author Says We Need a Re-Set in the Way We Think About Human Skill in the GenAI era.

April 22, 2024

Toronto – Although communicative and relational skills are currently in the greatest demand in organizations large and small, we are as educators, executives, and talent developers very far away from the kind of precision in identifying, measuring, selecting, and developing these skills that we have achieved with cognitive and technical skills. At the same time, the automation of human tasks has placed a sharp light on the ‘quintessentially human skills’ those that cannot and in some cases should not be subject to algorithmic automation. A new book, Soft Skills: How to See, Measure and Develop the Skills that Make us Uniquely Human, by a professor at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management aims to ‘change the soft skills game’ by introducing language, models, frameworks and tools for identifying and describing them, measuring the degree to which a person possesses them, selecting those who possess them in the utmost from those less skilled, and ways of helping students and executives alike develop them, through a methodology that has been designed and practiced for the past ten years. The book offers one of the first systematic analyses of the role of Large Language Models in both augmenting and automating human tasks in organizations and re-designing the workflow of teaching and learning in higher education and tackles head-on the distinction between quintessentially human and machine-replicable skills.

Mihnea Moldoveanu, the Marcel Desautels Professor of Integrative Thinking, argues we need a ‘re-set’ in the way we think about human skill and in particular the ways we think about those human skills which cannot be sub-contracted to an algorithm running on silicon. This book aims to provide that re-set.

Soft Skills: How to See, Measure and Build the Skills that Make Us Uniquely Human is published by De Gruyter.

Mihnea Moldoveanu is the Marcel Desautels Professor of Integrative Thinking, and a professor of economic analysis and policy at the Rotman School. He is the founder and academic director of Rotman Digital, which provides support to Rotman faculty and staff on the design and development of online courses and director of the Desautels Centre for Integrative Thinking, a research, design, and development hub re-engineering the future of learning. He is the Founder and Academic Director of the Rotman School’s Self Development Lab and Leadership Development Lab, which are globally recognized for pioneering feedback based and AI-assisted methods for helping students and executives learn skills that are not easily teachable. As a successful high technology entrepreneur, he was the founder and past CEO CTO of Redline Communications Inc. (4G base stations) and Hefaistos Inc (broadband modems). He is an advisor to the UN on the effects of GenAI on global youth employment.

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Ken McGuffin
Manager, Media Relations
Rotman School of Management
University of Toronto