Will a Robot Take Your Job? —The New Yorker Reviewed by Momizat on . Plus: A Black Box that Performs Business Valuations for Privately Held Companies?  The Scenario Might Not Be as Far-Fetched as You Think Not too long ago I had Plus: A Black Box that Performs Business Valuations for Privately Held Companies?  The Scenario Might Not Be as Far-Fetched as You Think Not too long ago I had Rating: 0
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Will a Robot Take Your Job? —The New Yorker

Plus: A Black Box that Performs Business Valuations for Privately Held Companies?  The Scenario Might Not Be as Far-Fetched as You Think

Not too long ago I had lunch w/a senior valuation guy, someone who’s made his living in the field for some 30 years, and was there almost from the first days The National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts (NACVA) was formed and Shannon Pratt began publishing his first books.  His thesis?   On the horizon are electrical cars that drive themselves;  computers that calculate things in miliseconds that third graders used to be taught to manually construct in half an hour; phones that are auto-programmed and for that matter, can take dictation; NYSE trading strategies that are fully automated, and based if not on high-frequency algorithms, on completely different ones altogether. 

His point of conversation?  It wasn’t put forth as a certainty; he wasn’t trying to argue.   And he honestly wasn’t sure if he felt bad, good, or simply ambivalent about it.  But the idea was this:  Who’s to say all valuations (or most of them) will not, in the not-too-distant future be fully constructed, done, and accomplished (and credited and verified) through some approved black box that just . .. does valuations.  It’ll easily add modules reflecting, say, currently agreed-upon standards for existing case law,  for appropriate DLOMs, and lots more.   And BOOM!   Valuators will disappear.   Onto The New Yorker, where Gary Marcus reports.  Here’s his thesis:

Slowly, but surely, robots (and virtual ’bots that exist only as software) are taking over our jobs; according to one back-of-the-envelope projection, in ninety years “70 percent of today’s occupations will likewise be replaced by automation.” Should we be worried?

Kevin Kelly, “senior maverick” at Wired magazine, and source for the above guestimate, says we shouldn’t. Instead, argues Kelly, in a Utopian piece titled “Better than Human,” we should welcome our new robot overlords. “They will do jobs we have been doing, and do them much better than we can. They will do jobs we can’t do at all. They will do jobs we never imagined even needed to be done. [But] they will [also] help us discover new jobs for ourselves, new tasks that expand who we are.” People have lost their jobs before, and everything turned out fine:

Two hundred years ago, 70 percent of American workers lived on the farm. Today automation has eliminated all but 1 percent of their jobs, replacing them (and their work animals) with machines. But the displaced workers did not sit idle. Instead, automation created hundreds of millions of jobs in entirely new fields.

If history repeats itself, robots will replace our current jobs, but, says Kelly, we’ll have new jobs, that we can scarcely imagine:    In the coming years robot-driven cars and trucks will become ubiquitous; this automation will spawn the new human occupation of trip optimizer, a person who tweaks the traffic system for optimal energy and time usage. Routine robosurgery will necessitate the new skills of keeping machines sterile. When automatic self-tracking of all your activities becomes the normal thing to do, a new breed of professional analysts will arise to help you make sense of the data.

 

 
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Maybe Robots Just Want to Help.  
 
 
If this seems going a bit too far afield, consider a robot who values companies, trades Libors, engages in arbitrage, and makes a compelling case that not only inflation is coming, but gold is a valid hedge, and you damn well better by his gold bullion commemorative coins in order to be safe.   
 

See also:

 

The National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts (NACVA) supports the users of business and intangible asset valuation services and financial forensic services, including damages determinations of all kinds and fraud detection and prevention, by training and certifying financial professionals in these disciplines.

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Comments (1)

  • Craig Helgerson

    Where could I go to officially have my name changed?….Something like, “Mr. Privately Held Business Valuation Black Box Making Guy”? I just completed investing over 6,000 programming hours into a program that allows an individual to view their business value daily and to see what I call their “Bottom Line Wealth” (I.e., Optimal enterprise value less all remaining liabilities). It reaches into the amortization tables of all of the notes and “settles up” everything and pulls anticipated costs to exit and provides each shareholder the exact amount of wealth they have today, at the end of the current fiscal year, and at the end of the next fiscal year based on a budget they create. I think it would be excellent for valuation professionals to use it and provide it to business owners (and earn substantial residuals). Seriously, I am just done with a year of beta testing and I am ready to begin reaching out for people to market the product…any suggestions? Just Google “discernment software”. Thank you, Craig Helgerson

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