Professionals Aren’t Going to Evaporate Due to Innovation

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A robot teaching at a blackboard

Karen Cater nailed it – your teacher is not going to be replaced by a robot.

Despite common misconceptions, innovation does not destroy professions.  Disruption occurs within an industry, but it tends to empower the professional.

The media industry has been totally reinvented.  Newspapers are nearly dead, television is dying a slow death, and the economic pie of the industry has been sliced and re-sliced to the point that it no longer even reflects the golden age of mass media—a new TechMedia era has risen.

The journalist, however, is more important than ever.  Content is still king—more of it is consumed than ever.  Technology has given the journalist a means for reaching his audience directly.  It has provided a “platform.”

The entertainment industry has been disrupted.  Videos are streamed online and music can be streamed or purchased digitally one song at a time. Remember the BMG Music Club?  Gone.  iTunes?  It has grown out of nothing.

But the entertainer has been empowered.  Musician Will.i.am was named Intel’s Creative Director.  Justin Beiber is a true internet sensation, discovered online and now with (tens of) millions following him in the digital universe. Jay-Z is representing high profile athletes through his management company.  Entertainers now have unencumbered access to their audience—technology has disrupted the industry but become the artist’s platform.

We are in the midst of dramatic change in healthcare.  Technologies are empowering doctors to diagnose and treat patients in fabulous new ways.  These technologies will enhance their treatment and may even disrupt the economics of the healthcare industry, but the role of the doctor will become more important than ever.

Karen is right: the education industry is being disrupted and the classroom as we know it may go away. The teacher, however, is not going the way of the dinosaur.  Technology will empower teachers to do what they do best. It will bring to the forefront those who would otherwise have never been noticed.  They will impact more lives, most likely to a greater degree, and they will do it through different channels.

Unfortunately, professionals are typically the ones that resist disruption the longest.  They fear the change, but they shouldn’t.  Innovation disrupts industries.  Professionals, however, will always be needed.

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