About me
Bookshop

Get new posts by email.

About me

Lighthouses

As I wandered along the coast at Roker and Seaburn, I began wondering about the fate of lighthouse keepers. I can well imagine that they thought their job would be there forever, and that the human aspect of lighthouse-keeping could never be replaced. Even as electricity replaced other modes of power, I can hear their voices musing that a human presence would still be required. Even if the operation of the light could be automated, lighthouse keepers with their local knowledge do so much more than maintain the light, and can understand the local conditions better than any automated system. It may not be their primary function, but lighthouse keepers were responsible for some remarkably heroic rescues over the years: no automated system could replace that.

And yet here we are, a quarter of a century on from having any staffed lighthouses in the UK, after every lighthouse keeper in the country was replaced by automation in a transition lasting less than two decades.

Many experts predict that artificial intelligence will replace numerous professions in the UK within the next few years. I’m sceptical: maybe because I work in health. There is much in my field that could be (and is already) aided by artificial intelligence, but it strikes me that the human-to-human relationship is the most important part of a lot of medicine. It’s hard to see that being replaced.

Perhaps, though, I’m the medical equivalent of a lighthouse keeper, falsely predicting my own continued necessity in the face of the unstoppable march of automation.

This post was filed under: Post-a-day 2023, .

Recently published posts




Random posts from the archive

When I peaked / 17 December 2023

Royal wedding postponed for Pope / 04 April 2005

The Guardian Offices, 7 July 2005 / 19 July 2005

Photo-a-day 307: Sunset on Comet / 03 November 2012

Photo-a-day 94: Snow / 03 April 2012

‘How to Have Sex’ / 26 June 2024





The content of this site is copyright protected by a Creative Commons License, with some rights reserved. All trademarks, images and logos remain the property of their respective owners. The accuracy of information on this site is in no way guaranteed. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author. No responsibility can be accepted for any loss or damage caused by reliance on the information provided by this site. Information about cookies and the handling of emails submitted for the 'new posts by email' service can be found in the privacy policy. This site uses affiliate links: if you buy something via a link on this site, I might get a small percentage in commission. Here's hoping.