Joshua Rothman talks with Tyler Cowen, an economist at George Mason University, about his new book, Average Is Over:
Rothman: You believe that, in the future, the most well-compensated workers will be something like freestyle chess players.
Cowen: Think in terms of this future middle-class job: You read medical scans, and you work alongside a computer. The computer does most of the judging, but there are some special or unusual scans where you say, “Hmm, that’s not quite right—I need a doctor to look at this again and study it more carefully.” You’ll need to know something about medicine, but it won’t be the same as being a doctor. You’ll need to know something about how these programs work, but it won’t be the same as being a programmer. You’ll need to be really good at judging, and being dispassionate, and you’ll have to have a sense of what computers can and cannot do. It’s about working with the machine: knowing when to hold back, when to intervene.
I don’t agree with everything Cowen brings up, but this strikes me as inevitable for our workforce.