Could robots run L&D?

By John Helmer February 27, 2015

640px-Actroid-DER_01A recent article by John Lanchester in the London Review of Books addresses the vexed question of how quickly robots might replace all our jobs.
One of the many sources  quoted in this well-researched and entertaining piece is a 2013 study by two Oxford economists, Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osbourne (‘The Future of Employment: How Susceptible are Jobs to Computerisation?’). Using mathematical and statistical techniques, Frey and Osbourne assessed the impact of technological change on a range of 702 occupations. In Lanchester’s words: ‘it ranks them from 1 (you’ll be fine) to 702 (best start shining up the CV)’.

I defy you not to do as I did and download the paper instantly to find out where your own job role sits in this list of death. Chances are though, if you’re an L&D professional you will be agreeably surprised. Training and Development Managers rank fairly high in the list at 30, just below Human Resource Managers at 28. ’Teachers and Instructors, All Others’ sits a bit lower at 48, but still well towards the top of the list, with Training and Development Specialists’, rather puzzlingly, at 64. All of these are less in danger of being replaced by robots than Chief Executives, at 70, however.

So good news then, trebles all round. E-learning is not about to eat all L&Ds jobs. Although disturbingly, for me, ‘Writers and Authors’ seem to be heading towards the danger zone at 123.

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