A useful test for determining if your job can be done by a machine with an application to data scientist
Amara’s Law states we tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short term but underestimate the effect in the long term. We see this play out repeatedly with technologies ranging from trains to the internet to now machine learning. The trend is nearly always the same: initial, wildly optimistic claims about the capabilities of an innovation are followed by a period of disillusionment when it fails to deliver before finally, we figure out how to use the technology and it goes on to fundamentally reshape our entire world (this is known as the hype cycle).
The basic idea of Amara’s Law — smaller short-term effects than claimed but much larger long-term effects than was imagined — can also be seen repeatedly in the overall effect of technology on the job humans do. The first steel plow, invented in the 1830s, did not immediately displace all farmers, but over the period from 1850 to modern times, the percentage of people working agriculture jobs in the US went from >50% to <2%. (Through a combination of innovations, not just mechanical technology, a far smaller percentage of people now produce a vastly larger amount of food.)
Likewise, US manufacturing jobs went from 40% of the total jobs to less than 10%, not in one or two years, but over decades (through a combination of automation and outsourcing). Again we see minor ripples over the course of a few years, but a fundamental restructuring of the economy over a long enough time period. Moreover, it’s critical to point out that people always find other jobs. Today, we have the lowest unemployment levels in 50 years, because when some jobs are automated, humans simply switch to new jobs. We constantly invent new careers to meet our needs, including the entire service economy (which employs the majority of Americans since the decline of agriculture and manufacturing), or, on a personal level, the role of data scientist, which became widely recognized only in 2012.