December 16, 2015


No more apprentices. The robots are coming for your jobs... (Hester Abrams, December 14, 2015, Jewish Chronicle)

Professor Richard Susskind, IT adviser to the Lord Chief Justice of England, and his son Daniel, an Oxford economics lecturer, believe the professions as we know them will become redundant and their prestigious jobs largely replaced by machines. Their provocative new book, The Future of the Professions - How technology will transform the work of human experts, will light a touch paper under discussions that have circled for years about whether the professions are fit for the 21st century. Among many theories of the future of work in an increasingly outsourced, DIY, web-enabled world, this claims to be the first to challenge the professions' continued usefulness.

"Our professions are unaffordable, under-exploiting technology, disempowering, ethically challengeable, under-performing and inscrutable," the Susskinds say in the book. Nonetheless, they expect professionals' likely response to this broadside to be that computers "could never do their jobs as well as they can", and to carry on much as before.

The Susskinds are prepared for controversy, calling for a public debate about what society wants from increasingly intelligent machines. Countless examples in the book suggest the professions cannot afford to be complacent, if for no other reason than because technology is already here and outrunning them.

Last year in the US, 48 million people used software to prepare their tax returns rather than hire a traditional accountant; 60 million eBay disputes are resolved annually by online mediation rather than lawyers; and more people watched Khan Academy tutorials on YouTube than attend school in the entire UK, they say.

Posted by at December 16, 2015 5:41 PM