“Artificial intelligence is already well on its way to making “good jobs” obsolete: many paralegals, journalists, office workers, and even computer programmers are poised to be replaced by robots and smart software.”
Innovations have a long history of job disruption. “The mechanization of agriculture vaporized million of jobs and drove crowds of unemployed farmhands into cities in search of factory work,” said Martin Ford in Rise of the Robots.
“Later automation and globalization pushed workers out of the manufacturing sector and into new service jobs."
This long-established truth continues today, except that in addition to the evaporation of labor-type jobs, now it is service-type careers – that require a college degree – that are being replaced by technology. Surprisingly, these jobs include lawyers, journalists, scientists, pharmacists, and even doctors.
“Radiologists require a tremendous amount of training, typically a minimum of 13 years beyond high school,” said Ford. “Yet computers are rapidly getting better at analyzing images. It’s quite easy to imagine that someday, in the not too distant future, radiology will be a job performed almost exclusively by machines.”
The book delves into the underlying economic trends fueling this shift, and in particular, investigates upcoming disruption in industries like healthcare and higher education. It is an eye-opening read for those of us who have long felt safe behind our advanced degrees, years of experience, and track record of adding value.
Ford’s book is not all doom and gloom, however. While he insists that it is crucial to leverage advancing technology. But we must also recognize and adapt to its implications in order to secure an optimistic future.