Paul L. Caron

Friday, May 22, 2015

<4% Chance That Lawyer, Professor Jobs Will Be Replaced By Technology

NPR LogoNPR, Will Your Job Be Done By A Machine?:

Machines can do some surprising things. But what you really want to know is this: Will your job be around in the future?

We have the "definitive" guide.

Researchers took a shot at estimating how technology will affect the job market in 20 years. Find your job below to see what the data say about your future.



(Hat Tip: Frank Pasquale.)

Legal Education | Permalink


There's a major distinction between a job being automated and one being rendered so much more efficient that fewer workers are needed in the field.

* Lawyers: Tools can make lawyers more efficient, much like they're making what I do—write, edit and publish books—more efficient. I do the work that half-a-dozen specialists once did. And there's no need for me to understand complex, typesetting machines. Software handles all that from what I do as a writer. In law, the changes are likely to come with more efficient research resources. There the changes will favor those who're the most talented at picking from what that research uncovers.

* Professors: Flipping a class, meaning having the lecture given via media by someone top-notch, and the discussion can be handled by someone less skilled, means there are fewer positions at the top for those with the skills to lecture. That'd be particularly useful at the high school level where few teachers really know their subjects well.

Perhaps the best parallel is to think about entertainment. Before Edison et al, an entertainer could entertain, at best an auditorium filled with people. That limited his reach and meant jobs for others at each theater. Along came records, along came movies and radio and television and, all of a sudden, one person or a small group of people could be entertaining millions of people. They got rich. Those who had done vaudeville and the like before small audiences found their jobs had disappeared.

Efficiency is the key. Changes are likely to most impact fields that are more easily made efficient and least likely to impact those that are resistant to efficiency schemes including those involving technology.

Posted by: Michael W. Perry | May 22, 2015 8:56:49 AM

It seems to me that the chances of professorial jobs getting replaced by technology would go up exponentially if Coursera (among others) manages to get its *products* Title IV federal student loan eligibility, which appears to be its quite obvious medium to long-term goal (and the DOE seems frighteningly amenable to it). Many people in Congress have proposed MOOCs as cost-effective replacements for lectures and other classes in their public universities...

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | May 22, 2015 7:30:58 AM