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The Future of the ProfessionsHow Technology Will Transform the Work of Human Experts$
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Richard Susskind and Daniel Susskind

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198713395

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198713395.001.0001

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Patterns across the professions

Patterns across the professions

3 (p.101) Patterns across the professions
The Future of the Professions

Richard Susskind

Daniel Susskind

Oxford University Press

In the previous chapter we describe a wide range of developments across a diverse group of professions. One of our aims in this book is to make sense of the change that is taking place. We tackle this job in various ways. In Part II of the book we offer theoretical accounts of the flux. Before that, our project in this chapter is more practical—to identify patterns and trends that are shared across the professions. In teasing out these patterns and trends, we extend our analysis beyond the largely technological focus of the previous chapter. While we do address the broad implications of these technological advances, we also explore more general movements in professional work. We rely here on insights drawn from our interviews, research, and consulting work. From the last, we gained a sense of the daily preoccupations of the leaders of a sub-set of professional providers (most notably auditors, lawyers, tax advisers, and consultants), who organize themselves in ‘firms’. Some of the trends that we initially identify—relating, for example, to bespoke service, routinization, and decomposition—are given more rigorous treatment in Part II, where we develop a fuller theoretical account of the future of the professions. Accordingly, this chapter should be regarded as a bridge between our findings in the previous chapter and the theory in Part II. In Box 3.1 we summarize the eight broad patterns that we have observed and, for each of these, we pinpoint clusters of more granular trends. Some of these trends overlap and interrelate. We are not offering a taxonomy. At this stage we are instead trying to capture the main features of the flux. Although we advance these patterns and trends in respect of most professions, no individual profession currently displays the full set. Roughly speaking, each of the professions we studied seems to exhibit around half of the trends. It is our hypothesis that over the next decade or two each is likely to take on most of the rest.

Keywords:   accountants, bespoke service, capabilities, diagnostic, diagnostic systems, education, face-to-face interaction, human, innovation, journalism

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