He imagines a day when teachers could use AI to create individual lesson plans for every student, or nurses might be able to take on much greater roles in, for example, diagnosing diseases. “Why is it that nurses cannot prescribe medications? Why must everything go through this very hierarchical approach where you have to call a doctor [to do that]?” As it is today, the people who spend the most time with patients — nurses, not doctors — are those who are paid and valued the least. Using technology to empower such workers would raise overall productivity and quality of care while also raising wages.
Why not? Simply because doctors and nursing are complementary professions. If you do the prescribing and diagnosing, you become the doctor. The danger is that the whole ethos of ‘caring’ — what was once so central — is being lost. I remember the teaching point: nurses sat on beds talking to patients without seemingly doing anything else are working.
The book the FT is reviewing (Power and Progress: Our Thousand-Year Struggle Over Technology and Prosperity) has been well received but the argument behind this quote seems to me very superficial.