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In their book The Future of the Professions: How Technology Will Transform the Work of Human Experts (OUP, 2015) lawyer Richard Susskind and economist Daniel Susskind argue increasingly capable technologies – from telepresence to artificial intelligence – will fundamentally change in the way that the ‘practical expertise’ of specialists is made available in society.
The Susskinds challenge the time-honoured arrangement that grants various monopolies to today’s professionals. They argue that our current professions are antiquated, opaque and no longer affordable, and that the expertise of the best is enjoyed only by a few. In their place, they propose six new models for producing and distributing expertise in society.
The book, which is based on the authors’ research of more than ten professions, raises interesting practical and moral questions. In an era when machines can out-perform human beings at most tasks, it asks what are the prospects for employment, who should own and control online expertise, and what tasks should be reserved exclusively for people?
Daniel Susskind is is a Lecturer in Economics at Balliol College, Oxford. Previously, he worked for the British Government – in the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit, in the Policy Unit in 10 Downing Street, and as a Senior Policy Adviser at the Cabinet Office. He was a Kennedy Scholar at Harvard University.