A reader’s skeptical comment on the second of this series -- here Part I and Part II -- on the ominous messages for the accounting profession in Martin Ford’s prize-winning book of last year, Rise of the Robots, was that, "The elephant in the room (is) that automation is nowhere close to being able to make complex judgments which are routine in the type of audit and accounting jobs that are relevant to the people who read GC,” asking if, by analogy, I was “seriously trying to argue that an attorney, currently working at a firm, needs to worry about their job prospects due to automation?"
Rather than shooting at the messenger, a deeper look at Ford’s discussion may be in order. Although that may likely only increase the level of unease and upset.
To round out the picture of the speed with which high-functioning drones and robots will displace the jobs and careers of the humans in traditional audit, Ford focuses on the ever-expanding pace with which Big Data analytics, artificial intelligence and cognitive technology can be expected to displace the higher-order roles of human expertise and professional judgment.
His proposition, in summary, is that any professional’s position is at risk, who sits at a desk and interacts with either words or numbers, or teams up with software that is self-learning and therefore likely to dispense promptly with its human collaborator.
As Ford himself puts it:
"If you find yourself working with, or under the direction of, a smart software program, it’s probably a pretty good bet that –- whether you’re aware of it or not –- you are also training the software to ultimately replace you."
For the rest of the piece, please continue at Going Concern for August 24.
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