The Future of the Professions: An Interview with Richard and Daniel Susskind
January 19, 2016•40 min
“The question is not can a machine exhibit empathy or judgement but instead for what problems are empathy, judgement, or creativity the solution?” -Richard Susskind After years of writing and thinking about the future of the legal profession, Richard Susskind began to run into legal professionals whose careers are being affected by technology. In addition to lawyers, those in the medical, architecture, financial, and other fields have begun to notice a shift in the provision of professional services. Richard got together with his son, Daniel Susskind, at the time working in justice policy, education policy, and health policy for the British Prime Minister, to examine how technology is increasingly playing a fundamental role in how all service-based professions work. They recently published a book on the subject called “The Future of the Professions.” In this episode of The Digital Edge, Sharon Nelson and Jim Calloway interview Richard and Daniel Susskind about their new book and key topics within that might interest lawyers who wish to prepare for the future. They discuss a “grand bargain” concept of exclusivity, the capability of machines to replace cognitive, physical/manual, and emotional skills currently provided by human professionals, and the right questions to ask about the future of legal services. Are there any tasks that computers won’t be able to do? Topics include: Society’s expectation for affordable, accessible, and reliable professional services Computers and artificial intelligence as a threat to the legal profession Professionals to be redeployed into new roles Embedded knowledge Free sharing of information through online avenues Incremental changes versus complete changes Commercial and social circumstances of the current systems Professor Richard Susskind is an author, speaker, and independent advisor to international professional firms and national governments. He is president for the Society for Computers and Law, IT advisor to the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, and chair of the Oxford Internet Institute Advisory Board. His books include the best sellers, “The End of Lawyers?” and “Tomorrow’s Lawyers.” Daniel Susskind is a lecturer in economics at Balliol College, University of Oxford, where he researches and teaches, and from where he has two degrees in economics. He was also a Kennedy Scholar at Harvard University. Previously, he worked for the British government as a policy adviser in the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit and as a senior policy adviser at the Cabinet Office. Special thanks to our sponsors, ServeNow and CloudMask.