Alexander Grek about professions: a car or a man?

In my lifetime, people flew into space, jet transcontinental liners were created, televisions and thousands of other technical innovations appeared that made our life more comfortable and better. Before my eyes, a new technique began to destroy old professions: washing machines killed the profession of laundries, and dishwashers killed dishwashers. All this was considered as a blessing: there were not enough working hands, and work seemed to be an endless land.

But lately everything has changed. At many conferences, almost panic is heard: in the coming years, tens of millions of people around the world will begin to lose their jobs. At assembly plants, people are already actively crowding out robotic lines, and the advent of autonomous cars is about to leave a huge army of drivers out of work. In transport, the main word now is “unmanned”. So the new flying car, which we write about in this issue, is initially being developed in an unmanned version. Already now technologies are approaching that threaten to leave a significant part of lawyers, accountants and even us, journalists, without work. Today, neural networks write fairly well financial news, and at an unprecedented rate - several dozen per second. According to forecasts, by 2024, neural networks will make the profession of translators unnecessary, by 2026 they will be able to write a school essay for the top five, and by 2040 to create “War and Peace”.

They say that we are entering an era when it will be necessary to continuously learn new professions, as the old ones will disappear at breakneck speed. But which ones? My 12-year-old daughter, after talking about the beautiful distant place that will come just at the time she graduated from school, said: “I do not want to live in such a wonderful world. There is less and less space left for people. ” And for the first time I did not find what to answer her.

The article “Letter from the Editor” was published in the journal Popular Mechanics (No. 1, January 2018).


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