President of Ringling College of Art and Design Shares Insights about Preparing for Future Careers

Dr. Larry Thompson, President of the Ringling College of Art & Design, visited the Upper School this week to speak to students about the importance of creativity and “right-brained thinking” in careers of the future.
Dr. Thompson, who has both a mathematics and legal background, has served on a multitude of boards, is heavily involved in the Arts community, and is an ardent supporter of STEAM programs. Dr. Thompson is also a member of the Out-of-Door Board of Trustees. 

After giving a short history of the birth of the Ringling College of Art & Design and its importance to the stability and growth of the Sarasota community in the 1920s, Dr. Thompson talked about the essential need for creative thinking. He explained that the left brain—the side that deals with sequences, logic, and analytical thinking—has been the focus of many careers that may be obsolete in 15 or 20 years as these are jobs that Artificial Intelligence (AI) may be programmed to do. To compensate for the loss of these jobs, the right side of the brain—used for holistic, creative, intuitive thinking—will need to become more active. “We cannot write an algorithm for creativity,” Dr. Thompson remarked. “As technology continues to evolve and become more embedded in everyday life, the one thing that AI will not be able to replicate is creativity.”

Dr. Thompson shared that recent polls among leaders of major corporations have shown that the skills needed for success include creativity and compassion. With technology changing so rapidly and having a high influence on the job market, students today are forecasted to have eight careers in their lifetime as they will have to continually adapt to the evolution of their jobs. When asked what his opinion was about the use of AI in the job market, Dr. Thompson says “I believe in change, but AI is changing the future of human conditions. I don’t know what this means for the long term, but I believe that it is something that we will have to adapt to.” Dr. Thompson indicated that schools like ODA and Ringling College of Art and Design are preparing students appropriately by giving them a well-rounded foundation of arts, athletics, and academics.

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