The future is already here

Douglas Coupland, critically acclaimed Canadian author and artist, reveals his thoughts on making today’s pupils future-proof

Lucinda Reid asks…

What do you think the future will be like? 

I think the future is already here! We are sitting in front of a screen all day so our experiences are artificial – AI is already in everyday life. 

How can schools prepare pupils for the workplace? 

I get these questions from parents all the time, asking me, “How do you make them future-proof?”, but we don’t know what technologies are going to be produced in the future. I always say to them, “Do you know what they like doing?”. Most people never learn what they enjoy doing, so I think there should be a class in school where it’s all about discovering what they should do. When I was at school I was very good at science and organic chemistry, so when I graduated high school I did a year in university but I soon realised that I didn’t want to do it. I then went to art school and I loved it. 

Do you think technology could help children to discover their passions quicker? 

Maybe a little bit, I met this guy in charge of an outreach education programme in Africa and he said that children learn what they like much faster these days. 

Douglas Coupland believes the future is already here

As an author, what books should pupils be reading at school to help with their future? 

I actually think science fiction is going to prepare young people the best. I think it is important to get science fiction reclassified
as fiction, maybe it’s time to stop ghettoising science fiction. If I could make one change
to the curriculum that would be it. 

Did you ever want to be a teacher? 

I am a terrible teacher! I’m not good at it and I have no patience, so I respect teachers even more. They should get double the pay they get now! 

W: coupland.com

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Thursday 4 November 2021, 11am (GMT)