Your job was an art

I worked on a bio-medical diagnostic problem for my dissertation work. We constructed a digital stethoscope that identified various abnormalities of the heart from heart sounds. Clinicians call this process cardiac auscultation.

The joke is that clinicians have lost the ‘ear’ for auscultation since the advent of rock music.

Turns out that what seemed like an art could easily be codified by science. Look closely enough, and the patterns that distinguish a hole in the heart from a constricted blood vessel become apparent. Clinicians have moved on to more productive uses of their time and education.

Like the clinician’s ear, one hears about the gardener’s thumb, or the sea-farer’s nose. Technology has taken over The mystical has become demystified. What was once an exalted art has become an exact science.

robot bartender female

Recently, a group of people I had hired as software testers re-purposed themselves into software developers. They now operate in an Agile SCRUM team. They follow Test Driven Development (TDD) so there is no longer need of a large corps of testers. In fact, there is no need of even a single tester.

A few years ago, this was inconceivable. Technology moves at a fast pace. Complacency is almost invariable lethal.

My crew bootstrapped to software development as testing roles got eliminated. Automation in software development is an emerging trend. Eventually, software development itself will become automated. This began the day the “Gang of Four” published Design Patterns.

A long and fulfilling career now means bootstrapping every few years up the value chain as jobs get automated and roles get eliminated. In Research & Development. Supply Chain. Marketing & Sales. Even Human Resources. To survive is to be paranoid.

Your job was an art.

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