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The future will be different

Dr Daniel SusskindOur Director of Engagement and Learning, Clifford Friend, blogs on the issues raised by Dr Daniel Susskind’s new book.

On 1 May we’re delighted to welcome Dr Daniel Susskind to Staple Inn London for the latest in our professionalism lecture series entitled How Technology will Transform the Work of Human Experts. 

It’s fair to say that Dr Susskind’s book; The Future of the Professions has up-ended the consensus on how technology will impact on professions such as ours in the 21st century. In it, Dr Susskind describes how the traditional deployment of concentrated human knowledge, expertise and specialisation in the form of professions is under dramatic challenge from brute-force processing and vast agglomerations of data. 

In the short term, Dr Susskind concludes in his book that much of the routine work currently undertaken by professionals will be displaced by the application of these new technologies; driving significant efficiencies as it does so. But in the longer term a dramatic upheaval awaits the professions, resulting in a revolution in the way in which human expertise is utilised and distributed, with many of the professions as we currently know them transformed beyond recognition.  

Whilst we firmly believe that there will always be a role for the unique and evolving skillset provided by our members we certainly agree that the future is going to be different; perhaps radically so. The pace of change will only increase, driven by the technological advancements Dr Susskind describes together with the broadening and deepening integration of our global marketplace and societies.

However, we believe that it is our duty as a leading professional body that educates, regulates and innovates in the public interest, to meet the challenges and opportunities of this new world head-on. Rather than adopt a purely reactive stance we’re already taking steps to equip our members with the skills and support they will need to adapt and thrive.  

We believe the actuaries of the future will be seen as bringing a globally recognised skillset of enormous value which will be deployed in an increasingly diverse range of fields and industries; allied to a passion for lifelong learning, flexibility and the capacity to act as a vital “bridge” between systems and decision-makers.    

To that end we’re taking steps to ensure our qualifications and educational offer is fully fit for a future in which data science, technology and globally-applicable standards are driving the professional agenda. We’re shaping the policy landscape and supporting leading-edge research both by our member working parties and through the Actuarial Research Centre, in emerging fields such as data science and behavioural finance. 

Although the future will be different, we’re certain that the furthering of Actuarial Science and the minimisation of financial risk in the public interest will continue to have a major role to play.