You’ve probably read some widespread sillinesses about how technology is moving us toward a world split between “high-skill” and “low-skill” jobs. Worriers claim that people with high-skill jobs will gobble up all of the economic pie, and those with low-skill jobs will be left with mere crumbs. This notion was perhaps best exemplified by economist Tyler Cowen’s book Average is Over.
This is nonsense. Because high-skill jobs are in peril, too. And sometimes, their death will make way for a raft of new “low-skill” jobs.
For example, look at the future of the general practitioner of medicine. This is considered the epitome of the high-skilled, secure, remunerative job. Four years of college! Four years of medical school! Internship! Residency! Government-protected cartel membership!
And yet, this profession is going the way of the dodo bird.
The article is a bit light on specifics, but it appears as we approach the Singularity, even the vaunted professions are falling to the mighty, might AI.
We’ve already passed peak lawyer as well.
The bottom of the law school market just keeps on dropping.
Enrollment numbers of first-year law students have sunk to levelsnot seen since 1973, when there were 53 fewer law schools in the United States, according to the figures just released by theAmerican Bar Association. The 37,924 full- and part-time students who started classes in 2014 represent a 30 percent decline from just four years ago, when enrollment peaked at 52,488.
While it is difficult to mourn the loss of lawyers…well…it’s also difficult to mourn the loss of “doctors” too much. Yes, as the title suggests, there could be a very big downside to formalizing our medical knowledge in machines to such a degree that diagnosis and treatment becomes a minimum wage job, there is also a massive upside.
The idea being that as the Internet has brought the sum total of human knowledge to anyone that has access to it, the roboticization of medical knowledge could do the same for life-saving technique and ability.