Andrew Hill, FT – sales and law experts will have to find a new way to get on top of their competence.
There is a moment in any discussion on the future of automation of counselling professions where the audience visibly relaxes.
This moment happens when futurists concede that some lawyers experts, consultants or accountants will still be needed, even after computer systems less expensive and more effective have been resumed number tasks of their juniors.
It happened last week at a conference of Richard and Daniel Susskind, posed by theorganizers as the largest gathering of senior executives of the consultancies and services of the United Kingdom.
The father and the son, authors of ‘The Future of the Professions’
The father and the son, authors of ‘The Future of the Professions’, predict a radical change in the legal sector. But the skepticism of the room has dissipated with each ‘partner’ or realized that he was going to survive, when well even algorithms and artificial intelligence bubble the consultant or lawyer sitting in the armchair next.
“The skepticism of the room has dissipated with each ‘partner’ or realized that he was going to survive, when well even algorithms and artificial intelligence bubble theconsultant or lawyer sitting in the armchair next”
Those might get free retirement and without really changing the way they work. AsRichard Susskind told me, “it is difficult to convince a roomful of millionaires they are wrong in their business model”. But change happens. Views differ mainly on its pace and its sizable.
You can already ask Kim, a ‘virtual assistant’ lawyer launched by Riverview Law, helpto manage your workload, or get Ross, the “super-intelligent Attorney” of IBM Watson, do a search on all of the texts of laws in a few seconds. A report of the Law Society – the representative body of lawyers in England and Wales – estimates that the impact of this type of automation will stabilize by 2020.
Stephen Denyer, of the Law Society, said at the rally last week that clients do not seek only tips, but also “techniques of negotiation, judgment, ethical standards, and the assurance that the direction they take is good”.
Ok. But how will the senior partners reach this level of expertise in the future whenmachines will accomplish tasks that enable them to build and improve their competence?
Take financial journalism. I, as trainee, spent three years to strengthen my confidence in myself and my skills in crushing the profits of the business information. It is precisely the type of reports that rightly, the Associated Press now automatically generates, in partnership with Automated Insights, a worrisome name, destined for all financial columnists.
Another parallel, in aviation, where accidents often cause fears that the autopilot undermines human skills. Interviewed by ‘Vanity Fair’ last year on the crash in 2009 theflight in Rio – Paris Air France, Delmar Fadden, former Chief Technology Officer of the cockpit at Boeing, said that having automated 98% of the routine of the drivers work, “we are concerned really for the tasks that we ask them to perform occasionally”.
The answer is not to stop the robots. Indeed, technology is part of the solution. Theastronauts are not trained on expensive special flights. They train to tasks and the challenges that they will face on simulators designed with care, until they are ready for launch.
“Customers can always prefer dealing with human experts, but they do not like to pay their juniors training”
As Professor Susskind recalls, law of the University of Strathclyde students focus already on legal problems of the real world in a virtual community around a fiction, “Ardcalloch”.
In the real world, professionals must recognize that most of the work that they hand over to the juniors are just repetitive servitude, often imposed by the tacit assumption that if they had to do, the new generation must do the same.
Customers may still prefer to deal with human experts, but they do not like to pay the training of their juniors. Knowledge can be transmitted differently, for example by simply working closely with a senior, as apprentices.
I always appreciate the coaching provided me, when I began, editors and experienced journalists, but I remain skeptical about the need to control my topic to write daily five identical articles on the profits of the business. Beginners can acquire specificskills in working – under close supervision – on basic tasks, on which he was once necessary to Wade for years.
However, new roles will emerge. The Susskind believe that one of them could be “empathiseur”. A friendly human who would eventually assistant Kim Ross (the robot),or their descendants still more capable mentally.
This perspective raises the ire of some consultants and other accountants. This should not happen in the upper echelons prior years or in complex trial or tax controls. But the future ‘partners’ should begin to hone their skills of listening, just in case.