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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Automation and the demise of doctoring

Doctors will always be needed. So will carpenters and iron workers and all skilled laborers. However, as technology advances, it allows for high labor intensive jobs to shift down the labor intensity curve. While we still need carpenters for custom jobs, the vast majority of carpentry is done by machine, not man. Very few carpenters, as a result, can command high incomes.
Medicine is going in this direction as well. Information management and science will enable thought leaders to produce efficient and accurate algorithms that automate the very process of patient care. As a result, most medicine will be delivered by non-doctor entities, perhaps even machines.
The need for doctors will diminish, as will income levels. This may take 20, 30, or even more years, but it will happen.
What will you tell your kids to do when they grow up?
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