The professional-class bubble is bursting

The professional-class bubble is bursting → theglobeandmail.com/news/opi … le2416390/

The thing about the professional classes is that their positions are
1 - dependent on legislation
2 - very open to software replacement

Pharmacists and doctors are a great example of this.
Its only a matter of time, I’d say 10 years max, until diagnosis and treatment of minor ailments begins to be automated.
A small device that captures and does basic analysis on blood, urine and breath samples and uploads to the mainframe is pretty much already here.
With that, and the arrival of personalised or tailored drugs (allowing for other conditions or body weight for example) what need do we have for either?

Engineers and the like will become outdated. They pretty much are already, truth be told.
In many cases the activities of solicitors could be automated, on a par with bank tellers.
Remember when ‘a job in the bank’ was a great thing?
(Bailout notwithstanding :slight_smile: )Who’d want a bank clerk job now?

So robots will do all the work and we get the sit back and enjoy life?

Yeah, we’ve been told that since when exactly the 50s…

Instead the 21st century is a world were pretty much every job can be made redundant and people are programmed to live in fear while simultaneously loading themselves up to the hilt with debt that can’t be repaid to buy ‘stuff’ they don’t need. Progress eh?

What is this hell you speak of? Mark my words, when your futuristic devices appear we will long for the days when you had to ring up 10 days in advance for a gp appointment for which you have to wait 50 minutes for to spend 5 mins with the doctor for the negligable sum of €50

No doubt some consider it progress. There are so many reasons to be optimistic about the future but the consensus these days is all fear based. I read Prometheus Rising recently and although it is mostly pseudo-science it was nevertheless an interesting framework to understand human conditioning. The chapter on brainwashing was interesting especially the fundamental principle underlying it. Make the people afraid and they will cling their hopes on whatever and whoever they are told will make them safe.

I firmly believe the technology exists to see us through the next 100 years or so very peacefully and comfortably especially in Ireland as we have many natural advantages. However the paradigm of infinite growth will have to be replaced but something more enlightened.

Next year’s the centenary of the Ford Model T assembly line.

Think about how the century of progress since has allowed us all to sit back and enjoy life, and not just made rich industrialists richer.

No, wait …

You’re right on the nose with the legislation issue - we have the technology for driverless cars, it’s been extensively tested and it works, but it hasn’t been deployed because of legislation (cost is an issue for widespread adoption today, but that will change) – the current legislation is ambiguous e.g. if there’s an accident, whose to blame?

Healthcare is a little different, the state of the art in diagnosis is still terrible. One of the big problems here is that medical diagnosis is more an art than we care to admit. While legislation here is more advanced since we already use devices as treatment in healthcare, the law will have to change to deal with liability in automated diagnosis, my best guess is that we’re at least a generation away from automated diagnosis and treatment, a human will be in the loop there for a long time to come.

Source: I researched driverless cars. I work with people who research automated healthcare diagnosis.

Decision making process are highly complex are require both soft and hard information.

IMO several decades of development will be required before I would put my life in an automated doctor.

I should clarify I was aiming more towards the scenario Homemakers outlined - diagnosis of small scale ilnesses like bumps, scratches, sore throats, infections; the bread and butter stuff that takes up about 80% of a doctors time; not the proverbial brain surgery.
Dentistry would be (yet) another area where diagnosis and even remedial care could be done better by machines than humans.
Physiotherapists, anyone?

Check this out for a surgery replacement bot.
How long before a scaled down version does minor knee surgery in 15 minutes?

In my opinion, the increasing use of automation in industry is detrimental to society as a whole. I realise that I am going to be accused of being a Luddite and anti-technology but here goes.

With respect to the ‘ham-boning robot’, the introduction of this technology will reduce the need for skilled workers by 80%. These people are going to be unemployed or are going to have to retrain as ?? , lawyers ? most will be redundent because of automation, doctors? most will be redundent because of automation, engineers ? they are not necessary at present according to Needle. This will result in a very dystopic society.

It is interesting that the types of work that they are not inventing robots for is the type of low paid work, seen as drudge work for which there are plenty of immigrants available. It is cheaper to employ low paid workers than it is to develop a robot to do the work.

The argument that people will have more ‘leisure time’ has been promulgated since the 1950’s. However, to enjoy leisure time, people need an income. If automation has replaced money earning possibilities for the majority, where is this money going to come from. The answer to this appears to be from the taxpayer. The taxpayer of the future will be the robotic corporations, their few employees and consumption taxation.

If we can get government borrowing down, we are almost there in this country, as we have a large ‘leisure class’ :laughing:

Leisure is a huge industry in itself.
Could I assume that you are involved in it yourself?
Using a computer to take part in this thread is in fact a leisure activity, unless you are paid to do so (plenty of that on p.ie, apparently; not so sure about the pin, but it’s not beyond the bounds of possibility that some here are paid to keep certain points of view on the go).

Unexpected item in the bagging area

Technology has meant longer working hours. How many people finish at 5pm?

Judging by road and rail traffic lots of people finish between 4:30 and 7:00PM. Modern technology means we have light, electricity and telecommunications, so we are not confined to working daylight hours. The telecommunications/internet revolution means we can be in contact with people around the globe 24 hours a day they can also retrieve information from the office outside “normal” business hours, remote teleworking also cuts down on the number of hours spent in traffic meaning people have the energy and resources to work longer hours. It stands to reason these people will need backup support if they encounter problems outside 9 to 5 hours.

THE CURSE OF MACHINERY - Henry Hazlitt → fee.org/library/books/econom … on/#0.1_L8

Failing Like a Buggy Whip Maker? Better Check Your Simile - Randall Stross → nytimes.com/2010/01/10/business/10digi.html

The issue is that many professional classes have stuck to outdated practices and cost structures that render them uncompetitive as better and more accessible methods become available to potential customers for the services they once delivered and controlled through government legislation granting them exclusive license to practice. This restriction on their profession undermines them and other people work to solve the problem they created when they restricted supply and imposed a high cost on the people that need to use their services, as a result they go out of business because they failed to deliver what their customer wants. The warning from the original article is that the cost of entry (opportunity cost) is high to some professions and the rewards are not guaranteed to be there if you do qualify and fail to adapt to what the people who make up the market demand.

How many of you work in jobs today that did not exist in this country when you were born? Do you think your kids will work in the same professions as you do or will there be no new opportunities in the future so no new jobs?

Doctors charging 50 euro a pop for ANY type of visit are taking the piss. People are going to figure out other ways to deal with minor diagnoses and complaints. Simple and rapid home testing devices possibly linked with outsourced medical services should shake up the sector and force them to change their practices. It’s happened with x-ray diagnoses, why not directly to the end user?

And before medical professionals get up in arms about this they should admit that the current situation ends up with vast numbers of people NEVER getting any type of timely diagnosis until the situation worsens or clears itself up of it’s own accord.

Of course nobody is saying there is not going to be a need for medical professionals in the future, but they just like every sector are going to have change forced upon them whether they like it or not. As for the opportunity cost that is there for any profession, if you want to get anywhere these days you usually have to get post grads and years of experience under your belt (that is not trade or entrepenuer related).

As for lawyers and real estate agents, both are getting hit already in their bread and butter, insurance and conveyancing.

Pilots are in trouble with automation, first it could go to only pilot in case and then no pilot as planes become fully automated.

So yes all sectors are going to see change and the author is essentially right that the professional sectors that have held out until now are going to have to face up to this change sooner rather than later.

Actually it is leading to work cutting into what we deemed personal time. Are we getting work time in the day as payback, some who work from home maybe as they can arrange their schedule accordingly.
As a teleworker myself I highly value the lack of commuting time and the ability to arrange my family life in a more relaxed way, balanced against the need to take calls with global offices every now and then. Not ideal but preferable to being stuck in the same office everyday. And while I may miss some social contact it is not enough to make me want to stick myself in a rigid routine at an office everyday.
They say the ideal is spending some time every week in the office, perhaps, but with teleworking and video conferencing improving in leaps and bounds it is also not entirely neccessary.

This is a most important point. Why should better technologies mean longer working hours?
This is an age of superabundance (in comparison to what went before). How many of us would trade some of what we get for extra time?

From another point of view, why should some people be working longer hours, while half a million are unemployed? I appreciate that not all of them are trained to do the work available, but many are, giving the trivialisation of so many work practices arising out of the use of IT. If you can go on Facebook, you could do most office work with a little on-the-job training.
For more specialised office jobs, yes some specialised training is required, but I don’t believe it is anything like it was in the past, as so much office work is now carried by inputting and using a special program to provide the output.

I think there are significant improvements happening all the time in this area. I personally know of technology that could potentially dramatically improve cancer screening. When a colleague attempted to approach the Irish doctors they weren’t interested as it would make them obsolete. The fact that it is an ‘art’ (which in my books simply means unreliable) means that new diagnostic tools will provide significantly better accuracy than a doctor looking at a chart of some kind and using his experience.