Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future
By Martin Ford
Martin Ford has done it again. For those who’ve read his 2006 work, “The Lights in the Tunnel”, you will know that Martin was years ahead of others in discussing the collective landscape of work automation technologies (RPA, Machine Learning, AI), and the potential impacts that wave of innovation will have both on economic efficiency and on the job market as a whole. In New York Times Bestseller “Rise of the Robots”, Ford further reinforces his argument that everything from self-driving cars to artificial intelligence is advancing at rates (both via Moore’s and software doublings) that mean that no routine task is out of reach for automation. And, in fact even creative tasks like writing new articles, symphonic arrangements and art are also in the realm of the automatable.
This book is a must read on many levels. First, Ford has done a tremendous amount of research and backs up his story with details, examples and historical quotes you will not find anywhere else. Second, he unabashedly focuses on the potential downside of this innovation explosion – job loss. Ford is not afraid to call out technology optimists and economists who base their rosy outlook on the previous waves of innovation that have moved us from fields, to factories to cubicle farms. But, he says, this time is different. And this time, it’s contingent on us to think about ways we can create the ability for the besieged middle class to reskill, re-employ, and survive on shrinking shares of economic output. For some, his recommendations may be unattractive and verging on social safety net. But, he is careful to cover such topics in a balanced and non-polarized way.
If you’re up for learning about the innovation explosion, but at the same time being presented with some stinging facts and a call to action regarding the impact it will have on jobs globally, this is the one for you.
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