Author of The New York Times Bestseller, Rise of the Robots
In a front page feature in The New York Times Book Review, Barbara Ehrenrich writes that Martin Ford’s Rise of the Robots is “both a humbling book and, in the best sense, a humble one. Ford, a software entrepreneur who both understands the technology and has made a thorough study of its economic consequences, never succumbs to the obvious temptation to overdramatize or exaggerate.” Ford is a researcher whose unique insights into the increased mechanization of work across various fields, and the rise of increasingly capable “information technology,” has shed new light on the nature of work and education and the value of “human” capabilities in the 21st century.
Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future
Martin Ford explores the ways in which “robots” and other technological advances are outpacing humans in all kinds of sectors, from education to law to agriculture to healthcare to management and beyond. He offers a realistic view of what the future of work—and your place in it—will look like. But beyond pragmatic concerns, Ford addresses a bigger question: can accelerating technology disrupt our entire economic system to the point where a fundamental restructuring is required? This next industrial revolution, Ford argues, will not be like the last one. In the past, even as jobs were eliminated, jobs were created to replace them. Increasingly, though, new machines will be able to take care of themselves. Fewer jobs will be necessary. The effects of this transition could be shattering. But there will be opportunities as well. We are at an inflection point: Do we continue to listen to those who argue that nothing fundamental has changed, and take a bad bet on a miserable future? Or do we begin to discuss what we must do to ensure all of us, and not just the few, benefit from the awesome power of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other breakthroughs? The time to choose is now. This talk is both an exploration of this new technology and a call to arms to address its implications.
Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future
Winner of the Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award
What are the jobs of the future? How many will there be? And who will have them? We might imagine—and hope—that today’s industrial revolution will unfold like the last: even as some jobs are eliminated, more will be created to deal with the new innovations of a new era. In Rise of the Robots, Silicon Valley entrepreneur Martin Ford argues that this is absolutely not the case. As technology continues to accelerate and machines begin taking care of themselves, fewer people will be necessary. Artificial intelligence is already well on its way to making “good jobs” obsolete: many paralegals, journalists, office workers, and even computer programmers are poised to be replaced by robots and smart software. As progress continues, blue and white collar jobs alike will evaporate, squeezing working- and middle-class families ever further. At the same time, households are under assault from exploding costs, especially from the two major industries—education and health care—that, so far, have not been transformed by information technology. The result could well be massive unemployment and inequality as well as the implosion of the consumer economy itself.
In Rise of the Robots, Ford details what machine intelligence and robotics can accomplish, and implores employers, scholars, and policy makers alike to face the implications. The past solutions to technological disruption, especially more training and education, aren’t going to work, and we must decide, now, whether the future will see broad-based prosperity or catastrophic levels of inequality and economic insecurity. Rise of the Robots is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand what accelerating technology means for their own economic prospects—not to mention those of their children—as well as for society as a whole.
The Lights in the Tunnel: Automation, Accelerating Technology and the Economy of the Future
What will the economy of the future look like? Where will advancing technology, job automation, outsourcing and globalization lead? This groundbreaking book by a Silicon Valley computer engineer explores these questions and shows how accelerating technology is likely to have a highly disruptive influence on our economy in the near future--and may well already be a significant factor in the current global crisis. THE LIGHTS IN THE TUNNEL employs a powerful thought experiment to explore the economy of the future. An imaginary "tunnel of lights" is used to visualize the economic implications of the new technologies that are likely to appear in the coming years and decades. The book directly challenges conventional views of the future and illuminates the danger that lies ahead if we do not plan for the impact of rapidly advancing technology. It also shows how the economic realities of the future might offer solutions to issues such as poverty and climate change.
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