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Sledgehead

Poss New Trend : Threat To The 'professions'

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Can't help but think this article will have some scrambling to fish out their micro-violins.

An interesting development and one that I would have invested in 15 years too early if given half the chance. Clearly lots of vested interests have protected these jobs previously, but once somebody gives it a go, the rest are pretty much forced to follow, especially with practices embracing the 'newer' business models (like no win no fee).

Armies of Expensive Lawyers, Replaced by Cheaper Software – New York Times (LEGAL NEWS)

“From a legal staffing viewpoint, it means that a lot of people who used to be allocated to conduct document review are no longer able to be billed out,” said Bill Herr, who as a lawyer at a major chemical company used to muster auditoriums of lawyers to read documents for weeks on end. “People get bored, people get headaches. Computers don’t.”

Computers are getting better at mimicking human reasoning — as viewers of “Jeopardy!” found out when they saw Watson beat its human opponents — and they are claiming work once done by people in high-paying professions. The number of computer chip designers, for example, has largely stagnated because powerful software programs replace the work once done by legions of logic designers and draftsmen.

Software is also making its way into tasks that were the exclusive province of human decision makers, like loan and mortgage officers and tax accountants.

I'm also minded of one of my better investments, a company called SDL that replaces interpreters with sotware. The article goes on to broaden out the issue:

David H. Autor, an economics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, says the United States economy is being “hollowed out.” New jobs, he says, are coming at the bottom of the economic pyramid, jobs in the middle are being lost to automation and outsourcing, and now job growth at the top is slowing because of automation.

“There is no reason to think that technology creates unemployment,” Professor Autor said. “Over the long run we find things for people to do. The harder question is, does changing technology always lead to better jobs? The answer is no.”

Automation of higher-level jobs is accelerating because of progress in computer science and linguistics.

“The economic impact will be huge,” said Tom Mitchell, chairman of the machine learning department at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. “We’re at the beginning of a 10-year period where we’re going to transition from computers that can’t understand language to a point where computers can understand quite a bit about language.”

More here: New York Times article, 3rd March 2011

Please tell me what you think. Cheers

Edited by Sledgehead

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Automation is not destroying jobs at anything like the rate of globalisation and outsourcing. Globally there is a massive over-supply of labour thanks to a developing world population explosion and our leaders in the west didn't miss a beat in their rush to exploit this labour pool.

Fine if you don’t give a fig about the quality.

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less real jobs, more non-jobs.

expect more social intrusion, up to the point that the whole system regresses.

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Lawyers have been badly hit anyway, because alot of the bread & butter low-risk work they used to rely on is done by people with lesser qualifications on lower pay in firms with battery-hen style working conditions. Actually, a large majority of these are women.

At one end of the scale you get cheaper conveyancing, in the middle is a general level of mild incompetence, at the other end you get robo-signing and ... fraud! Another result for loose regulation, I'm afraid.

Maybe automation is the way to go, but one day you will have to face an automated judge. Hehe.

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Automation of labour is better when computers control humans.

Put a computer in charge and it will track thousands of employees every second of the day, calling them

up if they spend too long on break, sending others to QC , monitoring groupings,

moving people to where they are needed most not where they like to spend all day.

No more smoking breaks :(

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+1

Don't expect the shareholdertron 3000 anytime soon.

Not sure about that. Shareholders are supposed to benefit from retaining ownership. For many shareholders in western tracker funds that benefit has been illusory. Instead of shareholders holding share certificates, these now reside virtually in a computer fed with all the electricity and coolant it could ever want; it pauses from time to time to report decade-on-decade losses for those who fed it.

The computer retains the ownership and is the only beneficiary: shareholdertron 2012! :D

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Theres already apps out there that monitor people's use of computers.

Computers don't like humans wasting other compters valuable time!

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No - the one that jingles in people's pockets.

So that wouldn't be LloydsTSB dividend, or the BP dividend, or the National Grid dividend etc then? :lol:

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Automation is not destroying jobs at anything like the rate of globalisation and outsourcing. Globally there is a massive over-supply of labour thanks to a developing world population explosion and our leaders in the west didn't miss a beat in their rush to exploit this labour pool.

Fine if you don't give a fig about the quality.

Agreed. IT was the natural first choice to be offshored but now occupations like accountancy, HR and law are. I suppose anything that relies on information can be. HR depts. can't complain, any company I have ever worked at they have always been early adopters of "working from home" when they can. If you can do it from home, you can do it from anywhere.

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I work in a role where one of my sole purposes is to automate as much as possible. I think I will stick in this role and not attempt any higher roles up the slippery pole - it seems to be a safe role :P

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The irony here is that the social hierarchy and social networks that protects many professions from too much competition have no defence against this type of threat;

The takeaway being that there is more social mobility amongst computers than amongst people- automation is classless and transparent to the old school tie style artificial scarcity that the professions have hitherto managed to propagate.

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Agreed. IT was the natural first choice to be offshored but now occupations like accountancy, HR and law are. I suppose anything that relies on information can be. HR depts. can't complain, any company I have ever worked at they have always been early adopters of "working from home" when they can. If you can do it from home, you can do it from anywhere.

What do you mean but now?

Accountancy and law are toast, unless you are right at the top or upper middle bit... then outsourcing has hammered down wages like no tomorrow. Have a look on Reed at jobs, the uber specialist jobs like transfer pricing types are paid a lot. Anybody stuck in accounts, VAT, tax roles the wages average about £14000 for fully qualified types. For those who didn't launch their careers off the big 4 (which means the majority of accountants) the future is pretty bleak.

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I work in a role where one of my sole purposes is to automate as much as possible. I think I will stick in this role and not attempt any higher roles up the slippery pole - it seems to be a safe role :P

- but watch out fo rthe automatic automator! :ph34r:

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Just look at e-commerce websites, they automate the sales order taking process negating the need for sales people in a traditional shop role.

Wait till vehicles start driving themselves

or the Golf GTI in 2006 which can driver faster round a race track than a professional driver.

Taxi drivers will be a thing of the past and passengers will feel safer, no potential for drivers raping female passengers for example or getting the scenic route for example.

Computers never go wrong or take cars over the edge of cliff faces/single path sheep tracks in mountains etc using gps systems? :rolleyes:

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Computers never go wrong or take cars over the edge of cliff faces/single path sheep tracks in mountains etc using gps systems? :rolleyes:

Apparently you can legally own, but not legally use,GPS jammers that cost $30 to make. According to this week's New Scientist editorial:

GPS jammers have us at their mercy

A GADGET that could turn off all the street lights in a city would be antisocial in the extreme. No such gadget exists, but there is one that can do worse. Easily available GPS jammers can stop satnavs in their tracks, switch off cellphone networks, crash ATMs and corrupt aircraft navigation aids. A single jammer can disrupt a whole city's infrastructure.

Vendors claim the jammers protect privacy: truckers use them, for instance, to prevent employers from tracking where they drive. That is scant justification for something so disruptive. Meanwhile, demand from the general public is sure to rise as GPS-based road pricing schemes are rolled out.

GPS has become an essential utility because it offers free, hyper-accurate timing signals. Cellphone masts, for instance, use GPS timing to synchronise with other masts - but they shut down when the signal is jammed.

We urgently need a backup to GPS and tighter laws on sales of jammers, or GPS blackouts could become the norm (see "GPS chaos: How a $30 box can jam your life"). Just this week cellphone failures across South Korea were traced to GPS jamming by North Korea. This is no idle threat.

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Garbarge In Garbage Out. A program is only as good as their maker.

Smart programmers add flaws into their programs which they are paid to fix or bring out a new version which corrects these errors. B)

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Yes you need to 'think outside the box' (dreadful phrase) to see just what sort of jobs could be automated. Eg, part of my job involves doing page layouts on a DTP programme for a technical publication. I think it will be a long time before that is completely automated, but I can see it would be pretty easy to come up with a completely automated system of producing trash publications like celebrity magazines etc - the copy and pictures will just be uploaded and the computer will do everything else.

You also need to look at how society could change to suit automation rather than vice versa. For example; Orwell predicted that computers could produce pulp fiction. This seems unlikely to us but if the populace continues its dumbing down trend, it won't matter what gobblydegook the computers produce because people will like what it produces in its own right, rather than seeing it as an inferior machine made substitute.

This has already happened in tailoring - a tailor told me that most of his customers prefer machine sewn button holes rather than hand sewn, because the former look 'more professional'!

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Annual software licence. I dont sell software as a one off fee anymore. Happy customers will pay a premium for quality, yet I dont have to charge a premium becuase my costs are alot less becuase I'm just so much more efficient in the first place which includes selecting or making the right tools.

Yeah but many people will still pay for crap..... heh I do recall a few years ago though when the company I worked for would change their entire system date to trick the licence on the software.... I've ever worked at a fairly big place that used a crack. :D They did this despite making over 9 mil in profits. The auditors were not very happy though.

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So we can automate lawyers. Hmmm, okay, pretty cool, but what about automating one of the heroic 180 battling at Fukushima.

Like, where the f@ck is this guy when you need him :

List_of_Japanese_Robots_Figure_Toys.jpg

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