Is White Collar Automation just around the corner (again?)

Going upI shall be holding a discussion in the Open Space on Saturday about how the blockchain technology that brought us bitcoin promises to create even more of a stir in the next few years.

Smart contracts mean that where bitcoin gave us programmable money, platforms like ethereum herald programmable companies. When you can fulfill most of the functions of a bank or an insurance market in code on a peer-to-peer network with no central authority, what happens to all the people who used to work in a) the old central authorities and b) the supporting and participating organisations in financial centres like the City of London?

This is another wave in the long-term trend of automating away inefficient human-beings while trying to maintain high levels of employment but will people in Financial and Professional Services be saved from the disruption that has transformed manufacturing and media or will we soon see the stockbroker-belt version of Boys from the Blackstuff?