February 5, 2016
We often have reason these days to speculate on the truth of an idea known as Amara’s Law. First coined by the researcher Roy Amara it states that “we tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run”. But defining what we mean by short and long term can be very difficult when technology is changing so quickly. Nothing better illustrates this than the issue of how automation will transform society and workplaces. For the past few years, the effects have mainly been the subject of academic and scientific research alongside some lurid headlines in the mainstream media. So, a fairly typical 2013 paper from researchers at Oxford University assessed the risk faced by over 700 professions and discovered that nearly half of all jobs in the US could be categorised as at high risk of automation. Less academic studies such as a report published last year by Deloitte draw similar conclusions.