Robot Professionals [...]

We believe these are but a few early indicators of a fundamental shift in professional service. Within professional organizations (firms, schools, hospitals), we are seeing a move away from tailored, unique solutions for each client or patient towards the standardization of service. Increasingly, doctors are using checklists, lawyers rely on precedents, and consultants work with methodologies. More recently, there has been a shift to systematization, the use of technology to automate and sometimes transform the way that professional work is done — from workflow systems through to AI-based problem-solving. More fundamentally, once professional knowledge and expertise is systematized, it will then be made available online, often as a chargeable service, sometimes at no cost, and occasionally but increasingly on a commons basis, in the spirit of the open source movement. There are already many examples of online professional service.

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Audrey Watters

Writer. Troublemaker.