Re: Economist magazine points to decline of tech writing

Subject: Re: Economist magazine points to decline of tech writing
From: Robert Lauriston <robert -at- lauriston -dot- com>
To: techwr-l <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 1 Jan 2015 20:19:18 -0800

Garbage in, garbage out.

The chart in the Economist article is taken from and cites this paper:

http://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/downloads/academic/The_Future_of_Employment.pdf

Its authors used an algorithm to guess which of 702 job
classifications are likely to be computerized. I think there's a flaw
in their algorithm and/or the source data ("literature on the task
content of employment" etc.), since tech writing consists of pretty
much the opposite of "tasks following well-defined procedures that can
easily be performed by sophisticated algorithms."

On Thu, Jan 1, 2015 at 6:11 PM, Lois Patterson <loisrpatterson -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:
> http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21594264-previous-technological-innovation-has-always-delivered-more-long-run-employment-not-less?fsrc=scn/fb/te/pe/ed/
>
> Scroll down the page and you will see a chart about the probability that
> computerization will lead to job losses in the next two decades for
> specific professions, including accounting, telemarketing, retail sales,
> and technical writing. For telemarketing, this probability is 99%, and for
> technical writing, 89%. I'm sure this doesn't say anything we don't already
> know. The main question will be if new jobs open up that use traditional
> tech writing skills. I appreciated that the Economist including technical
> writing in its list, although I should point out that no specific
> definition is given, so I can't be sure it fits the definition that "we"
> have for the profession.
>
> This coincides with a podcast on Tom Johnson's site which discusses
> employment for technical writers, which basically suggests that outside of
> programming documentation, and documentation for governmental agencies, the
> outlook is rather bleak:
>
> http://idratherbewriting.com/2014/12/17/getting-a-job-in-api-documentation-podcast-with-andrew-davis/
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Economist magazine points to decline of tech writing: From: Lois Patterson

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