Until recently, the main effect of technology on professional or knowledge-based work has been to augment and expand it, partly as described in Autor, Levy and Murnane’s 2003 analysis. There are now increasingly instances of knowledge-based work being automated and substituted, developments that are more familiar from factory and basic administrative settings. Two widely-quoted studies, by Frey and Osborne (2013) and Susskind and Susskind (2015), point towards significant technology-driven job losses including in professional fields. Subsequent analyses indicate that while some occupations will disappear or be deskilled, others will be created. The argument made here is that the most significant effect will be occupational transformation, necessitating different types of skills in a net movement towards work that is more digitally-oriented but also complex, creative and value-based. These changes have implications that are already beginning to affect the way that professions are organised and how practitioners are educated and trained.
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