Feminist Gloria Steinem noticed something. That was that thinking in America tended to be binary.
There were a right answer and a wrong answer.
In her book "My Life on the Road" she patiently explained that what the model missed was the existence of uncertainty. Most of the time, we plum don't know.
And that's exactly what Recode hammers about the number of jobs which will be lost by Artificial Intelligence (AI). No one knows.
It's mere speculation how many jobs, ranging from bottom-feeders like document review to litigation strategic planning, will disappear.
Of course, there are many with estimates about that number. Citibank and the University of Oxford state that 57% of jobs in the OECD, are at risk. The OECD puts it at 14%.
The reasons we don't know, Recode points out, include:
Not all AI invented will be applied. Just because it's there doesn't mean the business community will incorporate it into operations.
Jobs in the future, just as now, will be configured as a mix of human and tech. Just consider the surge of online purchasing. However, each of those automated sites is backed up by humans at call centers managing everything from questions to botched orders. In southwestern Arizona I was a consultant to one such center serving a home-improvement brand.
There are limits on what we know. Put it this way: No human being and no machine can predict the future. Also, psychics have also been wrong because human beings can change the future they foresee.
The demand for absolute certainty is what has made supposed expert opinion increasingly laughable. However, tragically, the joke is on those who make professional decisions based on those projections positioned and packaged with such seeming authority.
Way back in the 20th century, when tech meant the wonderment of the Selectric typewriter, the numbers forecasted growth in demand for college humanities professors. Funding, such as the NDEA IV grants, was created.
I was among those awarded one to study for a Ph.D. in literature and linguistics. By time we - The Lost Generation of Intended College Professors - were completing our dissertations, the market, instead of growing, had collapsed.
It took many of us about five years to retool for other career paths. Employers to whom we applied for non-academic jobs smirked. Some explicitly told us we were losers to have invested our youth in studying all that.
There should be more self-confident joking in the legal sector about those loudest voices in the room about the future of work in practicing law. A keynote at a legal conference should start out with "The Economics Expert, Robot-Maker, Lawyer, and Law Student Walked into a Bar …"
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