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Surprising Science

Doctors Beware: Robots Are Coming For Your Jobs

Despite worries that inevitable automation will swallow up only low-skill jobs, one writer thinks that doctors should be legitimately concerned about the prospect of computers performing their jobs better.

There’s a legitimate worry that inevitable automation will swallow up jobs as new technology becomes so advanced that human performance simply can’t compete. Often these worries forecast a split between high-skill and low-skill classes, the concern being that the latter group is more likely to be disrupted. But as The Week’s Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry writes, there are plenty of high-skill professions that could be at risk. Most notable: doctors.

“Look at the future of the general practitioner of medicine. This is considered the epitome of the high-skilled, secure, remunerative job. Four years of college! Four years of medical school! Internship! Residency! Government-protected cartel membership!

And yet, this profession is going the way of the dodo bird.

To understand why, the first thing you need to understand is that multiple studies have shown that software is better able to diagnose illnesses, with fewer misdiagnoses. Health wonks love this trend, known as evidence-based diagnosis, and medical doctors loathe it, because who cares about saving lives when you can avoid the humiliation of having a computer tell you what to do.”

Gobry’s sardonic tone coats his point with a dose of humor reflecting a cynicism toward the medical industry. He thinks that automated doctors could make healthcare less expensive, better serve patients, and create a need for more “low-skill” medical professionals such as technicians and nurses.

(I should note that I personally don’t think of nurses as “low-skill” in any regard.)

For more of Gobry’s take, take a look at his story linked below.

Read more at The Week

Photo credit: Image Point Fr / Shutterstock


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