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Communications of the ACM


The New Jobs

The New Jobs, illustrative photo

Credit: Antonio /

Rarely does a day go by without more news predicting the end of work. After all, autonomous vehicles are all but certain to replace truckers and taxi drivers in the coming decades, and robots have already taken over many jobs in factories and warehouses, and will continue to expand their reach beyond heavy industry as they become smarter and ever more affordable.

Perhaps most frighteningly, even professional services no longer seem safe from the encroachment of increasingly sophisticated artificial intelligence (AI). Law firms, for example, employ electronic-discovery software, which uses natural language processing to sift through reams of documents faster and more cheaply than the entry-level lawyers who used to do this tedious work. Deep-learning image recognition tools can flag and classify worrisome tumors in digital scans as well as, or better than, experienced radiologists. Websites like Wealth-front and Betterment, which algorithmically optimize investment portfolios, are giving financial advisors a run for their money.


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