Humans are the most sophisticated machines in the universe that we know, able to repair themselves, carry out complex calculations, and do work that adds value to other people in society. But something strange is happening. People are getting so good at creating value that they’re doing themselves out of a job. Every year, we collectively figure out how to automate more tasks, putting entire career paths in jeopardy. What the heck is going on?
The problem humans have got is pretty straightforward. We can be good at a lot of things, but for us to excel, we require a long time training and gathering experience. Proficiency is always within our grasp; it just takes time.
Machines, however, arrive ready-baked. Rarely do they have to spend years training if they even need to train at all. Instead, they come complete with all of the features that they need to perform a task.
Legal Professionals Will See More Tasks Automated
This development means that what we traditionally think of as a career is likely going to change fast over the coming decade. Lawyers already have legal documents templates that they can use to whip up articles in a matter of minutes, which would have once taken an entire afternoon. Soon they’ll also be using document search and summary en masse, replacing the work now primarily done by interns. Eventually, platforms will take over the legal process, with lawyers perhaps remaining mouthpieces in courtrooms, as required by law, instead of people busily working behind the scenes to construct a case.
Physicians Will Become Consultants
We’re likely to see similar developments for physicians too. Right now, the job of a doctor is highly varied. They’re involved in both diagnosis and the administration of treatment, taking patients from initial complaint through to eventual therapy.
The system, as it stands, however, is exceptionally labor-intensive. The doctor has to do a lot of work to figure out what’s wrong with the patient, which treatments to offer, and administration.
Technology coming over the next decade, however, will reduce the burden in all three of those areas. New diagnostic procedures, for instance, could automatically take measurements and tell patients what is wrong with them. Further tests could use genetic or biochemical information to determine the correct treatment regimen. And finally, doctors may be able to automate patient compliance, using digital technology to ensure that they stick to their prescriptions.
Teachers May Become Facilitators
Finally, the teaching profession is ripe for change. At the moment, teachers have to both learn the material themselves and then individually deliver it to a class of students. But is this the most efficient and productive way of doing things?
Not if you ask the technologists. They claim that they can deliver world-leading instruction remotely to classrooms, bypassing the need to train individual teachers for every class of students. Already we see the rise of massive online courses where people can learn pretty much anything via the internet. Tomorrow, the same technology could arrive in classrooms, fundamentally changing the role of teachers.