Professions and Expertise: How Machine Learning and Blockchain are Redesigning the Landscape of Professional Knowledge and Organisation

23 Pages Posted: 21 Aug 2018 Last revised: 5 Nov 2018

See all articles by John Flood

John Flood

Griffith University - Griffith Law School; University College London; University of Westminster - School of Law; Centre for Blockchain Technologies

Lachlan Robb

Griffith University - Griffith Law School

Date Written: August 9, 2018

Abstract

Machine learning has entered the world of the professions with differential impacts. Engineering, architecture, and medicine are early and enthusiastic adopters. Other professions, especially law, are late and in some cases reluctant adopters. And in the wider society automation will have huge impacts on the nature of work and society. This paper examines the effects of artificial intelligence and blockchain on professions and their knowledge bases. We start by examining the nature of expertise in general and then how it functions in law. Using examples from law, such as Gulati and Scott’s analysis of how lawyers create (or don’t create) legal agreements, we show that even non-routine and complex legal work is potentially amenable to automation. However, professions are different because they include both indeterminate and technical elements that make pure automation difficult to achieve. We go on to consider the future prospects of AI and blockchain on professions and hypothesise that as the technologies mature they will incorporate more human work through neural networks and blockchain applications such as the DAO. For law, and the legal profession, the role of lawyer as trusted advisor will again emerge as the central point of value.

Keywords: blockchain, lawyers, legal services, law, accounting, medicine, knowledge

JEL Classification: J24, J44, J54, L14, L84, M13

Suggested Citation

Flood, John A. and Robb, Lachlan, Professions and Expertise: How Machine Learning and Blockchain are Redesigning the Landscape of Professional Knowledge and Organisation (August 9, 2018). Griffith University Law School Research Paper No. 18-20. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3228950 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3228950

John A. Flood (Contact Author)

Griffith University - Griffith Law School ( email )

Nathan Campus
170 Kessels Road
Nathan 4111, Queensland
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://experts.griffith.edu.au/academic/j.flood

University College London ( email )

Gower St
London WC1E OEG, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.laws.ucl.ac.uk/people-at-ucl-laws/honorary-appointments/

University of Westminster - School of Law ( email )

4 Little Titchfield Street
London, England W1W 7UW
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.westminster.ac.uk

Centre for Blockchain Technologies ( email )

Gower Street
London, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

Lachlan Robb

Griffith University - Griffith Law School ( email )

Nathan Campus, GU
Nathan 4111
Australia

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