The Future of the Professions

future professions

Part of Book at Lunchtime, a fortnightly series of bite-size book discussions, with commentators from a range of disciplines. Free, all welcome - no booking required. Join us for a sandwich lunch from 12:30, with discussion from 13:00 to 13:45.

Richard Susskind (Author, speaker, and independent adviser to major professional firms and to national governments) and Daniel Susskind (Lecturer in Economics, Balliol College, University of Oxford) discuss their book with:

Joshua Hordern (Associate Professor of Christian Ethics, Oxford Healthcare Values Partnership)

Vili Lehdonvirta (Research Fellow, Oxford Internet Institute)

Judy Wajcman (Anthony Giddens Professor of Sociology, London School of Economics)

About the book

This book predicts the decline of today's professions and describes the people and systems that will replace them. In an Internet society, according to Richard Susskind and Daniel Susskind, we will neither need nor want doctors, teachers, accountants, architects, the clergy, consultants, lawyers, and many others, to work as they did in the 20th century.

The Future of the Professions: How Technology Will Transform the Work of Human Experts explains how 'increasingly capable systems' - from telepresence to artificial intelligence - will bring fundamental change in the way that the 'practical expertise' of specialists is made available in society.

The authors challenge the 'grand bargain' - the arrangement that grants various monopolies to today's professionals. They argue that our current professions are antiquated, opaque and no longer affordable, and that the expertise of the best is enjoyed only by a few. In their place, they propose six new models for producing and distributing expertise in society.

The book raises important practical and moral questions. In an era when machines can out-perform human beings at most tasks, what are the prospects for employment, who should own and control online expertise, and what tasks should be reserved exclusively for people?

Based on the authors' in-depth research of more than ten professions, and illustrated by numerous examples from each, this is the first book to assess and question the relevance of the professions in the 21st century.

"Books of the Year 2015: Best Books 2015" - Lorien Kite, Financial Times

"Books of the Year 2015" - New Scientist

"Perhaps the forthcoming tidal wave of technology set to engulf us all will throw up new opportunities for the legal profession — which is probably why just about every lawyer in London, so we are told, has bought a copy of this challenging, provocative, timely and important book. If you care about the future of your profession and wish to add further comment to the raging controversies surrounding it, better get yourself a copy now." - Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richard Green Chambers

"In The Future of the Professions, father-and-son authors Richard and Daniel Susskind do a remorselessly effective job of demolishing the self-deception most people engage in when comparing themselves to machines." - Richard Waters, Financial Times

"The authors are undoubtedly right that the professions will change more in the next quarter-century than they have in the previous three." - The Economist

"This is a bold book ... The Future of the Professions helps us to recognise the professions' current methods as convoluted, self-serving rituals designed to wrap simple tasks in mystique." - Giles Wilkes, Prospect

"The Future of the Professions is a paradox that only a human mind could appreciate: the inevitable death of the professions is presented in an expert, original and witty work by two professionals whose skills (in thinking, writing and consultancy) are unlikely any time soon to be replicated by a machine." - David Pannick, The Times

Free and all welcome. No advance booking required, please just come along and seats will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.


Humanities & the Digital Age

Contact name: Hannah Penny

Contact email:

Audience: Open to all

Media: The Future of the Professions