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Lawyers Beware: New Software May Replace You.

When you think of a computer or robot putting someone out of a job, what sort of job comes to mind? If you're like most people, it's probably a lower-end career: one which requires minimal education and may or may not involve manual labor (for example, a supply line worker at an automotive plant).A lot of people decry such a situation, but at the same time sit secure in the fact that their own job is safe from such an occurence.

Or is it? 

Professional Programs

The field of law is one of the highest paying professions around, right up there with lawyers. And really, why wouldn't it be? Our society is based around law and order; it's only natural that we'd need professionals to sort out the details, right? And obviously, their job tends to be very complex. There's no way a computer could replace them, is there?

Think again.

That link will take you to John Markoff's New York Times article detailing a new type of software designed to analyze and sort through documents and data. According to the article, the software can not only analyze the information as a human might, right down to the tone of a piece of writing, but it can also pick up patterns and information that human beings might potentially miss. Because computers, unlike humans, tend not to be so fallible. 

Computerization Of The Upper Crust

But what does that have to do with anything? Well, a lot of lawyers in the business don't always enter the courtroom. Many of them are hired on to perform document analysis. But if a program such as this exists, why bother spending several million for what might amount to several days' work when you can just assign a  computer to do the job in several hours? 

What's more, Lawyers aren't the only ones at risk. There are programs out there that can perform all sorts of duties that were once the exclusive domain of trained professionals. There are even computers designed to build computers.

The Result

Well, things will certainly end up being easier for us. But as the article observes, the economy is going to suffer. As computers begin to perform more and more duties in place of human professionals, the number of jobs available will continue to slump. 

Granted, most of these new programs and gadgets require someone to be present to operate them. But with the progress computer scientists have been making, one starts to wonder if eventuallly they might even be able to run without operators. The day might not be far off when we'll see a server in place of a judge in the courtroom.