The Future of the Professions

  • by Richard Susskind, Daniel Susskind
  • Narrated by John Lee
  • 12 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

This book predicts the decline of today's professions and describes the people and systems that will replace them.
In an Internet society, according to Richard Susskind and Daniel Susskind, we will neither need nor want doctors, teachers, accountants, architects, the clergy, consultants, lawyers, and many others to work as they did in the 20th century. The Future of the Professions explains how increasingly capable systems - from telepresence to artificial intelligence - will bring fundamental change in the way that the practical expertise of specialists is made available in society. The authors challenge the grand bargain - the 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 by only a few. In their place, they propose six new models for producing and distributing expertise in society.
The book raises important practical and moral questions. In an era when machines can outperform human beings at most tasks, what are the prospects for employment, who should own and control online expertise, and what tasks should be reserved exclusively for people? Based on the authors' in-depth research of more than 10 professions, and illustrated by numerous examples from each, this is the first book to assess and question the relevance of the professions in the 21st century.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

I Hope It's Not All True

As a professional (lawyer), this is a rather depressing book. It certainly suggests that the best days of true professionals are in the rearview mirror and that the future will be dominated by software, paraprofessionals, "McLawyers" and "McDoctors." I'm afraid there probably is a lot of truth in it. Despite an ever-increasing number of laws and regulations, the legal business has never recovered from the Great Recession. Work is down, except possibly at the mega-firms, and most firms are working hard just to tread water. Some of this is due to legal innovations, such as mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution, some is due to client attitudes (since they made due without legal review in the Great Recession, they seem more willing to take their chances with legal risks), and a great deal is due to technology (computerized document review, etc.). I see these trends continuing, and am somewhat glad I am nearer the end of my career than the beginning.

Although the authors put forward a compelling--albeit somewhat obvious--case about technology, their work itself is far from compelling. For one thing, lumping "professions" together is not completely logical. There is is a huge difference between teachers, clergy, accountants, lawyers and doctors. Some might question calling some of these vocations professions. It would have been far more compelling, for example, to address each profession or vocation individually. Although law and accounting have some similarities, the others do not. For example, medicine is definitely a profession, but it is (a) something everyone needs somewhat regularly (in contrast, many never need a lawyer or an accountant) and (b) hugely affected by government or private insurance (depending on the country). The latter is true of no other profession.

Another weakness of the book is that is has no answers for those practicing, or wanting to practice, law, accounting or medicine. Probably the message is "find something else to do," but that is not particularly helpful and is certainly not satisfying.

The over the top British narration was also a little off-putting, at least to me.

If I had to do it over again, I would pass on this one.

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- John "I'm a lawyer and mediator. I represent businesses in disputes with their insurers and in other complex litigation. I also assist machinery companies and manufacturers (primarily international) with equipment sales, non-disclosure agreements, and business issues. I also mediate commercial disputes."

could have been much shorter in length

Best suited for academic audience. Not so great for general populatiion who is curious about the future of the professions.
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- Alberto

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-26-2016
  • Publisher: Audible Studios