Most careers in the era of cognitive systems have not been invented yet

Jean Paul Jacob (IBM Research Emeritus) alerted me to this NYT article “Automation Alone Isn’t Killing Jobs” …

The author of the NYT article, Tyler Cowen, notes:

“Many other examples of automatable jobs are discussed in “The Second Machine Age,” a book by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, and in my own book, “Average Is Over.” The upshot is that machines are often filling in for our smarts, not just for our brawn — and this trend is likely to grow.”

I especially agree with this point from the NYT article:

“There are unlimited human wants, so there is always more work to be done. The economic theory of comparative advantage suggests that even unskilled workers can gain from selling their services, thereby liberating the more skilled workers for more productive tasks.”

Ricardo’s Law of Comparative Advantage is very profound  – and greatly appreciated in the global service science community.  The advantages of interaction seems to be mathematically built into the fabric of universe, and certainly society.  Not just productivity (via Ricardo, etc.) but also creativity/innovation is enhanced by diverse perspectives and interaction (MIT’s Thomas Malone in his Science article on collective intelligence, and recent formulations by Pentland at MIT –  This topic will surely be discussed at the National Academies Keck Center in this NSF-sponsored workshop in conjunction with the UIDPresearch priorities for service science.

I especially like the perspective in this blog post by @JosieHolford — don’t ask kids what they want to be when they grow up (that is 20th Century thinking – implicit a job and profession), ask them what problems they want to work with others to solve (21st Century thinking – implicit a team and purposeful effort) – their type of career may not exist yet.

If the transition to the industrial age is any guide, most of the jobs and types of careers in the age of smart machines do not exist yet.  The era of cognitive systems is just beginning to dawn.


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