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Re: Economist magazine points to decline of tech writing
Subject:Re: Economist magazine points to decline of tech writing From:Lin Sims <ljsims -dot- ml -at- gmail -dot- com> To:Kaylin Boehme <kaylinboehme -at- quadax -dot- com> Date:Fri, 2 Jan 2015 10:48:00 -0500
Personally, I'm dubious that the people running the study have a good idea
of how many industries use technical writing/communications. No matter how
intuitive software is, there will always be a need for technical
information, if only on how to troubleshoot it and, for large systems, how
to administrate it and hook it into multiple systems. And that's just the
software industry. How intuitive is it to use, say, a dremel? Or a
front-end loader? How about flying an airplane? Prescription documentation?
Electron microscopes? And so on and so forth.
On Fri, Jan 2, 2015 at 8:56 AM, Kaylin Boehme <kaylinboehme -at- quadax -dot- com>
> Delurking, hello!
> I just started working as a technical writer after having switched from
> librarianship (another profession the media, Forbes in particular, is fond
> of proclaiming dead) and I thought this article in The Economist was just
> terrible. I don't know how anyone could look objectively at a list that
> says technical writers are 8% more likely to be automated than word
> processors. I also wondered about their definition of "editor", which is
> listed as only 6% likely to be automated.
> Thanks to Robert for providing the source... it's always helpful to have
> more information on where these "statistics" come from. People often see
> sensational numbers/headlines and don't stop to analyze them properly.
> Kaylin Tristano
> Date: Thu, 1 Jan 2015 20:19:18 -0800
> From: Robert Lauriston <robert -at- lauriston -dot- com>
> To: techwr-l <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
> Subject: Re: Economist magazine points to decline of tech writing
> qFkyqynJiVMu8fPg -at- mail -dot- gmail -dot- com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
> Garbage in, garbage out.
> The chart in the Economist article is taken from and cites this paper:
> 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>
> > 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
> > technical writing, 89%. I'm sure this doesn't say anything we don't
> > 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
> > programming documentation, and documentation for governmental agencies,
> > outlook is rather bleak:
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