Humans being human as always

The book of the week — and maybe book of the year — looks as though it is The Future of the Professions by father and son, Richard and Daniel Susskind. In it they attack the final redoubts of those who think that their jobs will never be automated. We are talking of such people as lawyers, accountants, doctors, financial experts, engineers, economists, even psychiatrists — those modern sophisticated versions of the crude professions of Medieval times.

Even modern professional jobs will crumble — so the Susskinds say — before the combination of the Internet and new computers, the latter — as the Susskinds don’t say — almost certainly going to be based on synthetic DNA circuits and a new genre of algorithmic software on which serious progress is already being made.

But it’s irrational to think that every single professional job will be automated. The last computer made would have to be as clever or cleverer than its creator!  Not even proponents of Artificial Intelligence with their standard software and simplified neuronal circuits have made that claim.

The only professionals who will not be made redundant are those who will actually programme the next generation of computers that will be even more profitable — that is, energy efficient — when making or delivering the thousands of products and services that we will still be needing.  And teams of these professionals will be full-blown humans in every respect, trading ‘secrets’ of programming with other teams when mutually profitable, or competing fiercely with one another on other occasions.  Just as human beings have always done.

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