The world status of any state is the higher, the more highly skilled specialists capable of scientific breakthroughs are born and manifest in it. In the modern world, knowledge itself becomes weapons often as significant as conventional weapons.
Change the machine to the figure
The whole world, including our country, is entering the epoch of the sixth technological order. It was he who, according to specialists, through 25-30, will become the dominant years in the economies of developed countries. Technological structure is a certain level of development of the productive forces, a set of interconnected industries that have a single technological level and that develop in many respects simultaneously. This is the most important term of the theory of scientific and technological progress.
Let me remind you that today the main part of the production capacity of Russia is at the stage of the fourth technological order, the battle for which the USSR successfully won in its time. And if in the USA already about 60% of productions are operating within the framework of the fifth order, then in our country this figure is limited so far to only 10%. That is why it is precisely a qualitative breakthrough in the sixth DUT right away, bypassing the fifth generation technology, is a strategically important challenge for us.
Even today it is obvious that the basic branches of the sixth TU will be bio- and nanotechnologies, methods of genetic engineering, membrane and quantum technologies, nanoelectronics, nanophotonics, molecular photonics, nanomaterials and nanostructured coatings and others. And the production of both the consumer goods themselves and the means of their production will be carried out by the so-called digital factories, which make it possible to individualize production as much as possible, adapting the goods to the needs of a particular person.
And here there are obvious questions: what kind of employee will be needed to service such digital factories and where to get it? It is already clear that it will be primarily about designers who are able to generate “production on demand”, programmers-translators of the designed product into a digital code, the introduction of which into the system will lead to the creation of the finished product. Others, especially technical specialists, who are able to efficiently serve the increasingly robotic, autonomous, and “smart” equipment, up to the interaction with artificial intelligence, will also be needed. And today I would like to talk in more detail about how our country could learn and find similar and other specialists that it urgently needed for sustained development in the framework of the sixth TU.
Cadres decide everything
These words, spoken almost 80 years ago by Stalin, became both a slogan and a guide to action. They kept their relevance today. In my opinion, the key to the prosperity of our country, our main strategic resource capable of leading Russia into world leaders is our fellow citizens, their abilities and talents, high intelligence, ability to think outside the box and not be afraid to solve the most complex tasks.
To create comfortable living and working conditions for our specialists, to stimulate those who left to return to the country is our top priority. Only by gathering all our strength into a single powerful fist, bringing our education system and science to the requirements of the time, we will be able to carry out our plans.
According to consulting agencies, today in the labor market in Russia there is an acute shortage of engineers and qualified technical specialists, especially characteristic of regions with developed industry. For example, industrialized Leningrad and Kaluga regions, where large Western auto giants opened their representative offices, are experiencing such hunger. Here (and not only here) there is a real “hunt for the heads” of qualified workers, future engineers are being dismantled from the second or third year of higher education. And this is despite the fact that technicians are usually offered a salary of 40-45% higher than the regional average, an expanded social package and wide opportunities for additional training and career growth. One of the main problems here is that only a third of the "techies" graduated from universities go to work in their specialty, the rest are looking to use their talents in other areas, including seeking to open their own business.
Serious concern about the growing shortage of technical specialists back in 2010 was expressed in an article published in the German Suddeutsche Zeitung, Vladimir Putin, noting that this is a problem not only in Russia, but also in the EU countries. In his opinion, less and less talented young people seek technical education because "they do not see prospects for themselves as engineers or skilled workers." As if echoing him, experts note a significant imbalance between popular professions and sought-after ones, and therefore - an imbalance in the preferences of applicants when choosing a future specialty. So, according to sociologists, the majority of Russians remain confident that having a law degree, economist or manager guarantees a high social status and a stable income in the future. In reality, the most promising today for a combination of factors is the profession of IT-specialist, in second place, oddly enough, - an engineer.
It would seem that the conclusion is simple: the Soviet experience of mass production of graduates of various engineering and technical specialties should be revived. However, here the obstacle arises the transition of domestic higher education to the system of bachelor-master.
According to reputable scientists (including Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences, laureate of the State Prizes of the USSR and Russia in the field of science and technology E.N. Kablova), from a bachelor’s degree, due to the lack of practice, it is unlikely that you can make a good “techie”. But the magistracy received not all. So why should we in this matter instead of copying Western models not always suitable for us not turn to our own quite successful past experience?
Soviet experience through the eyes of NATO
Before me is the report of Dr. TS.R.S. Menders "Scientific and Technical Education and Personnel Reserves in the USSR", sounded by him 22-23 April 1959, at a meeting of the Committee on Science of the Council of the Alliance. In it, he notes that when it was created, the Soviet Union faced “enormous difficulties”: there was a shortage of food, and illiteracy was widespread. “Forty years ago, there was hopelessly not enough trained personnel to lead the Soviet people out of a difficult situation,” said Dr. Menders, “and today the USSR disputes the US right to world domination.” "This is an achievement that knows no equal," he concludes.
It’s hard to disagree with an American expert. And not so much in his appreciation of the achievements of the young Soviet state, but in the main conclusion he reached after his analysis - the development of science and technology education in the USSR played a key role in the breakthrough that had happened.
The Soviet leaders understood perfectly well how much the country needed competent engineers, designers, inventors and developers. Our education was to prepare them, moreover, free of charge. And it coped with it. During the years of "stagnation," the talk of the town was the now silent fact that the average Soviet tenth grader in the knowledge of technical disciplines put his left hand on the shoulder blades of a third-year American student from a leading specialized university. It is not for nothing that US President R. Reagan once mentioned that "the most powerful weapon of the Russians is their education."
The assessment is not surprising if we recall that the American system is focused on training mainly "artisans" who are capable of not particularly thinking to carry out the required set of actions. Our system prepared specialists capable of thinking in a deep, wide and diversified manner, in various fields, often at their junctions. It was this preparation that contributed to the emergence of unparalleled global developments. Such developments are urgently needed by the country today. For this, the main thing is missing - the developers.
The return of non-stray sons
The task of educating new scientific and technical personnel for the Russian defense industry (and not only) has been set by me for the Advanced Research Foundation. Let me remind you that it was created at the end of 2012 of the year. Its main task: to promote the implementation of research and development in the interests of national defense and state security, associated with a high degree of risk. As well as the achievement of qualitatively new results in the military-technical, technological and socio-economic spheres.
In other words, the Foundation organizes the search, selection and testing of breakthrough defense technologies and dual-use technologies. This organization works according to a completely new method for our country - it implements its projects, creating its own laboratories on the basis of the largest research and production centers that carry out high-risk research in the main areas of scientific and technological progress. And the approach here is this: no matter how large a research institute or enterprise, no matter how many thousand people work on it, a small laboratory of several dozen people is engaged in the project of the Foundation, which directly locks in to the scientific director of the institute or the general designer of the plant.
Naturally, the work is conducted on the latest equipment, in the laboratories of the Foundation mainly young people are employed. Financing of laboratory activities is carried out absolutely transparently and fully accountable. This makes it possible to formulate for the scientists quite ambitious project assignments with the possibility for them to work for the future - from three years or more.
Today it is obvious that it will be extremely difficult or simply impossible to achieve a breakthrough in various technological areas without a powerful concentration of scientific and industrial resources. Therefore, one of the tasks of the Foundation is to find competence centers in various fields, to rally young scientists, designers, developers of advanced scientific and technical ideas on their basis, and try to translate their projects into prototypes.
The main driving force behind this process, as I said, should be the youth. Moreover, there were such precedents (highly effective solutions to the most difficult tasks in an extremely short time). Recall that in the 40 of the last century, our military industrial complex raised young people at the age of 30-35 years, whose names subsequently made up the world fame of the national defense industry. So, we have a real hope to bring up both new Korolevs, and new Keldyshs, and new Kalashnikovs.
The non-standard and attractiveness of the conditions offered by the Foundation can be illustrated by the fact that young specialists return to work in his laboratories from abroad, who have often lost hope of being in demand in Russia. In addition, working together in the laboratories of FPI allows you to accumulate knowledge and skills, share experiences with professionals who often worked in different parts of the world. And this can produce stunning results.
Let me give you a specific example. Young promising Russian physicist Alexander Baryshev, who began his research work as a junior researcher at the Physicotechnical Institute. A.F. Ioffe in St. Petersburg, having defended his Ph.D. thesis, ended up in Japan, where from 2003 he conducted an active research work at the Toyohashi University of Technology. Today, he is returning to Russia to head an experimental group to study the properties of plasmon structures for quantum amplification of radiation at a nanoplasmonics laboratory established by the Advanced Research Foundation based on the VNIIA them. N.L. Spirit. And this example, which is gratifying, is far from the only one.
In fact, it can be said that the Foundation is faced with the task of creating a kind of social and technological elevator for young and audacious teams who really want to engage seriously in a serious, promising business. In these matters, the Foundation actively cooperates with the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation. For example, in February 2014, a cooperation agreement was concluded between them, paving the way for the widespread establishment of the Foundation’s laboratories at leading universities under the Ministry. I hope that this will be another step to attract our talented young people to the field of scientific research and technological developments.
We will study abroad
Of course, only by the activity of the FPI the problem of educating personnel for the sixth technological mode in Russia cannot be solved. Today it is obvious that the lion’s share of the work to break the country into new technological heights should and can be done by “practical techies” - graduates of the so-called vocational school system. The main task of the latter was and remains the training of skilled workers who could work successfully on modern technology, know the technology of production, and know how to manage complex technological processes. Constantly increasing technology leads to a constant increase in the requirements for professional workers. And here we are faced with another serious problem.
The existing, sectoral and in many respects tied to the needs of specific industrial enterprises (before most graduates of vocational schools and technical schools knew in advance that they would go to work for one or another plant), vocational education today is experiencing significant difficulties. In the current secondary specialized educational institutions often have to provide training for future skilled workers on obsolete equipment. It is clear that with such introductory our path to the sixth TU may take decades. And people who do not just know how to work on the newest equipment, create new models of it, but also understand the spirit and philosophy of new forms of production, are necessary for the country now.
It is obvious that such a large-scale problem cannot be undone in one fell swoop. Therefore, I propose to think about conducting a federal educational experiment. Its essence is the creation in the country of three or four (for example, one each in the Central, Ural, Siberian, and Far Eastern federal districts) "vocational schools of the sixth order." In other words, large educational and production centers of digital production, which would allow students not only to gain technological knowledge of the level of the sixth TU, but also practically to apply them here, in "digital factories."
We would not only begin to purposefully shape the social stratum of the “techies” of the new generation, but also get the opportunity to come closer to understanding that this will be in the future for the social group, what priorities and needs it will have, what place it can take in the social structure of society.
Within the framework of the tasks before us, we should not forget about such a form of practical training as immersion in the already created environments of the sixth TU. At one time, Peter the Great, by his personal example of teaching shipbuilding in Europe, gave a powerful impetus to the development of entire manufacturing industries in Russia, created an efficient fleet from scratch and brought the country to the level of a great maritime power. So why today we should not send our "techies" to study technologies of the sixth way abroad at the expense of the state, provided they continue to work in their homeland?
In my opinion, study abroad could be combined with the invitation of teachers from leading foreign universities in Russia. As well as an invitation to work for us the best foreign graduates with the issuance of Russian citizenship.
All of the above does not negate the simple question: where do you start from? Even Rousseau said that "the most difficult is the beginning." And to begin here, as I see it, will have to start from school.
In today's school curriculum (especially compared to the Soviet period), the teaching of the main technical disciplines - mathematics and physics - has been noticeably reduced. At the same time, scientists came to the conclusion that it is the study of mathematics that forms the child's ability for logical thinking or, as programmers say, in its own way, "formats the brain." And physics classes are most conducive to the formation of the future scientific worldview. Not to mention the fact that just the physical and mathematical sciences are the basis of scientific and technological progress, including in the framework of the sixth TU. The overwhelming majority of the basic branches I listed at the beginning of the article are somehow connected with physics. So, it is in our fundamental interests to raise the study of physics and mathematics at school to a qualitatively new level.
And one could start here by increasing the number of hours of teaching natural sciences in the senior classes of Russian schools and, accordingly, modify the system of training and retraining of teachers - physicists and mathematicians. (The importance of the latter can be judged by the fact that only for 2014 year the US government allocates an additional 5 billion dollars for the retraining of school teachers - naturalists). This may also include the revival at the new level of the system of so-called specialized physics and mathematics schools (lyceums, colleges) - these issues within their competence could be addressed by the heads of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation. We need to think about how to stimulate the development of the school Olympiad movement in physics, mathematics, chemistry, biology; to expand the number of bonuses received by their winners and prize-winners (from priority admission to specialized universities to remuneration, etc.). In other words, to do everything in order to study natural sciences deeply and objectively, has become, as is expressed by today's youth, "cool" since high school. Obviously, other measures will be required.
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Of course, this article is not exhaustive for such a complex and multifaceted topic as the formation of human resources to ensure the sixth technological order in our country, and the author does not feel any illusions about this. Rather, it should be considered as a kind of introduction to the topic, an invitation to discuss the vital issue for all of us.
Nanophotonics is one of the most promising areas of the new technological order. Replacing the transmission of information using electric or electromagnetic pulses to transmit them using light waves will become a truly revolutionary event. At the same time, nanophotonics will not replace electronics, it will significantly complement it and expand its capabilities.
The use of photons in the transmission and processing of information will allow you to create computers that are superior in speed to the most powerful of the current operating a hundred times. In this supercomputer will be a thousand times smaller in size.
The revolution will occur at the household level. An ordinary smartphone, for example, will have optical memory of tens of terabytes and a truly light speed of information processing.
Plasmonic - another direction of the new technological structure. Plasmon nanostructures will become basic when creating various sensors. They will also be able to create very compact and very powerful solar cells, in which the energy of our star is converted into electric current.
Genetic engineering of a new way of life will not try to improve a person - God's creation. Many consider it unnatural and even dangerous for people. The genetics of the future will allow to grow spare parts for the human body on the basis of the cellular material of the “primary source”. The fact that in the movie "The Fifth Element" was perceived as fiction, will become a reality.
Printer printing of virtually any engineering structures will become commonplace. There will be no need to build large plants that harm the environment. Several modern quickly assembled and equally quickly dismantled shells can be filled with equipment that will print any product, the need for which is here and now. Clothing to the size of a particular person, agricultural equipment, cars, equipment, including - combat.