Marine Engineers in the Fourth Industrial Revolution - not prone to Automation

From the book “The Fourth Industrial Revolution” by Klaus Schwab.

Table 2: Examples of professions most and least prone to automation

Marine Engineers are listed with Naval Architects so it may refer to design engineers.

Public company CEO’s of the last 20 years could easily be automated away…they all followed the same recipe that ZIRP allowed…issue bonds and buy back stock to increase stock price, get performance bonus, and retire before (or as) the company crashes.


We’ll, that’s interesting, given the increasing prevalence of robotics and medical algorithms in healthcare, as well as compiter-assisted design and modeling in engineering and architecture.

I have only a layman’s understanding, and I suppose I should read the book, but is there a nutshell of why these particular professions are less prone to automation?

With regard to professions in solving diagnoses …seems like any abnormal condition or malfunction (biological of mechanical) must have a finite number of possible causes, almost all of which are known and documented and easily sorted by probability … at first glance, those activities look to me like prime candidates for automation or AI.


Ok so there is a BLS category "Marine Engineers and Naval Architects.

Marine engineers typically do the following:

  • Prepare system layouts and detailed drawings and schematics
  • Inspect marine equipment and machinery, and draw up work requests and job specifications
  • Conduct environmental, operational, or performance tests on marine machinery and equipment
  • Design and oversee the testing, installation, and repair of marine equipment
  • Investigate and test machinery and equipment to ensure compliance with standards
  • Coordinate activities with regulatory bodies to ensure that repairs and alterations are done safely and at minimal cost
  • Prepare technical reports for use by engineers, managers, or sales personnel
  • Prepare cost estimates, contract specifications, and design and construction schedules
  • Maintain contact with contractors to make sure that the work is being done correctly, on schedule, and within budget

The book is good, small, about 100 pages, a basic primer on the subject. The table is based on a paper by Carl Frey and Michael Osborne - lots of hits from a google search.

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I’ve only started “The Inevitable” by Kevin Kelly but its a more interesting book so far. Written in more of a narrative than the 4th Revolution book by Schwab. So far its also far more optimistic.

I doubt if Klaus Schwab knows the difference

Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut written in 1950’s nailed it.