Robots v experts: are any human professions safe from automation?

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Editor’s note: Given the intense discussion on the employment issues generated by the Robotics technology, I found this book presentation published by British www.theguardian.com very relevant and I am refering to it here.

By

Richard Susskind OBE is an author, speaker, and independent adviser to international professional firms and national governments. He is president of the Society for Computers and law IT adviser to the lord chief justice. Tomorrow’s Lawyers is his eighth book,

and

Daniel Susskind is an economist, lecturer at Balliol College, Oxford, and co-author with Richard Susskind of The Future of the Professions

The main themes of our book, The Future of the Professions, can be put simply: machines are becoming increasingly capable and so are taking on more and more tasks.

Many of these tasks were once the exclusive preserve of human professionals such as doctors, lawyers and accountants. While new tasks will certainly emerge in years to come, it is probable that machines will, over time, take on many of these as well. In the 2020s, we say, this will not mean unemployment, but rather a need for widespread retraining and redeployment. In the long run though, we find it hard to avoid the conclusion that there will be a steady decline in the need for traditional professional workers.

During the year after the book’s hardback publication in October 2015, we tested this line of argument on audiences of professionals in more than 20 countries, speaking to around 15,000 people at over 100 events. The response, frankly, was mixed. Our work seems to polarise people into those who agree zealously with our thesis, and those who reject it unreservedly. Both sides argue their views passionately.

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