By Bill Fischer Harvard Business Review
What if what you know didn’t matter anymore? What if knowledge became a commodity? What if everyone could be an expert?
Far-fetched, you think? Well, in fact, the “what if” is no longer speculative; it is here already. Talk to people in such professional service industries as private banking, auditing, consulting, even engineering, and you begin to hear concerns about the commoditization of professional knowledge.
A consulting civil engineer (the field in which I was first educated, and still find so deliciously complex) admitted to me that much of what you need to know in that field is online, and that their corporate clients were a new breed who didn’t so much want what he and his colleagues already knew (since that was easily available), as what they didn’t know. Increasingly, tax preparation is being automated, and even auditing is going the way of algorithmic review and big data “sweeps” instead of sampling. Artificial intelligence is writing much of the content that you’re reading (although not this!), and Jancis Robinson, the wine expert and writer, recently wrote that she has “gone from being a unique provider of information to having to fight for attention.”
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