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Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future
     

Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future

5.0 2
by Martin Ford
 

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Winner of the 2015 FT & McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award
A New York Times Science Bestseller

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

Overview


Winner of the 2015 FT & McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award
A New York Times Science Bestseller

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.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Barbara Ehrenreich
This 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…The human consequences of robotization are already upon us, and skillfully chronicled here.
Kirkus Reviews
2015-03-03
Noted technological maven and futurist Ford (The Lights in the Tunnel: Automation, Accelerating Technology and the Economy of the Future, 2009) returns with more reasons for working men and women to fear for their futures. Imagine a world in which the want ads, if they appear at all, simply read: "Humans Need Not Apply." That nightmarish scenario might be enough to cause all but the idle rich to lay awake at night. The most terrifying thing about the author's fearful forecast, however, is that this dystopian future—where shrewdly sophisticated and ruthlessly cost-effective robots eliminate the need for those anachronistic things once called "jobs"—sounds much more inevitable than incredible. For both scientific and economic reasons, which Ford outlines with a comprehensiveness that borders on chilling, there is simply no way in this relentlessly capitalist society to avoid being replaced by a robot. In the labor pyramid to come, even some of the lucky few occupying the white-collar pinnacle will not be safe. Ford's argument is frightening because it does not offer even a whiff of alarm or hysteria. Instead, the author's discourse feels as dispassionate and merciless as the circuitry silently running inside his subjects' metallically whirring bodies. Humankind's inescapable predicament appears so bleak that the only alternative to total societal collapse that Ford can identify is to fashion a system in which the great majority of the working class receives "a basic income guarantee." Elected officials—from President Barack Obama all the way down to a small-town mayor—may steadfastly bang the drum for more education and training as the way out of the unemployment morass, but Ford clearly demonstrates that free market forces and consumer demand (already on display in Amazon's increasingly automated warehouses) will soon make it nearly impossible to continue employing large numbers of human beings in the workplace. A careful and courageous examination of automation and its possible impact on society.
From the Publisher
“Of all the moderns who have written on automation and rising joblessness, Martin Ford is the original. His Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future is due out this May.... Self-recommending.”
Marginal Revolution

“Robots, and their like, are on the rise. Their impact will be an important question in the next decade and beyond. Martin Ford has been thinking in this area before most others, so this book deserves very careful consideration.”
—Lawrence Summers, President Emeritus and Charles W. Eliot University Professor, Harvard University

“It's not easy to accept, but it's true. Education and hard work will no longer guarantee success for huge numbers of people as technology advances. The time for denial is over. Now it's time to consider solutions and there are very few proposals on the table. Rise of the Robots presents one idea, the basic income model, with clarity and force. No one who cares about the future of human dignity can afford to skip this book.”
—Jaron Lanier, author of You Are Not a Gadget and Who Owns the Future?

“Whether you agree or not with the policy prescriptions put forward by [Martin Ford's Rise of the Robots and Anne-Marie Slaughter's Unfinished Business] these two well-written books, and quite a few will likely disagree, they are important reads for those wishing to better understand and influence the future.”
Bloomberg Business, Mohamed El-Erian

“Few captured the mood as well as Martin Ford in The Rise of the Robots, the winner of the FT and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award, which painted a bleak picture of the upheavals that would come as ever-greater numbers of even highly skilled workers were displaced by machines.”
Financial Times

“[A] breathtaking new book on modern economics.”
—Forbes.com

“Lucid, comprehensive and unafraid to grapple fairly with those who dispute Ford's basic thesis, Rise of the Robots is an indispensable contribution to a long-running argument.”
Los Angeles Times

“If The Second Machine Age was last year's tech-economy title of choice, this book may be 2015's equivalent.”
Financial Times, Summer books 2015, Business, Andrew Hill

“[Ford's] a careful and thoughtful writer who relies on ample evidence, clear reasoning, and lucid economic analysis. In other words, it's entirely possible that he's right.”
Daily Beast

Rise of the Robots is an excellent book. Fair-minded, balanced, well-researched, and fully thought through.”
—Inside Higher Ed, Learn blog

“Surveying all the fields now being affected by automation, Ford makes a compelling case that this is an historic disruption—a fundamental shift from most tasks being performed by humans to one where most tasks are done by machines.”
Fast Company

“Well written with interesting stories about both business and technology.”
—Wired/Dot Physics

Winner of the 2015 FT & McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award
A New York Times Bestseller
Top Business Book of 2015 at Forbes
One of NBCNews.com 12 Notable Science and Technology Books of 2015

“For nonfiction, I tip my hat to Martin Ford's Rise of the Robots, which is vacuuming up accolades and is recommended reading for IIF staff. Ford's analysis, in a somewhat crowded field of similar books, offers a sobering assessment of how technology (robotics, machine learning, AI, etc.) is reshaping labor markets, the composition of growth, and the distribution of income and wealth, and calls for enlightened political and policy leadership to address coming, accelerating disruptions and dislocations.”
Bloomberg Business, Timothy Adams

““We are in an era of technological optimism but sociological pessimism. Martin Ford's Rise of the Robots captures why these shifts are related and what challenges this might pose to our conventional economic and social infrastructures.”
Bloomberg Business, Andy Haldane

“Compelling and well-written… In his conception, the answer is a combination of short-term policies and longer-term initiatives, one of which is a radical idea that may gain some purchase among gloomier techno-profits: a guaranteed income for all citizens. If that stirs up controversy, that's the point. The book is both lucid and bold, and certainly a starting point for robust debate about the future of all workers in an age of advancing robotics and looming artificial intelligence systems.”
—ZDNet

“An alarming new book.”
Esquire

“A thorough look at how far machines have come”
Washington Post, Innovations blog

“Ford offers ideas on changes in social policies, including guaranteed income, to keep our economy humming and prepare ourselves for a more automated future.”
Booklist

“A careful and courageous examination of automation and its possible impact on society.”
Kirkus Reviews

“In Rise of the Robots, Ford coolly and clearly considers what work is under threat from automation.”
New Scientist

“Makes clear the need to come to grips with ever more rapidly advancing technology and its effects on how people make a living and how the economy functions.”
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

“Ever since the Luddites, pessimists have believed that technology would destroy jobs. So far they have been wrong. Martin Ford shows with great clarity why today's automated technology will be much more destructive of jobs than previous technological innovation. This is a book that everyone concerned with the future of work must read.”
—Lord Robert Skidelsky, Emeritus Professor of Political Economy at the University of Warwick, co-author of How Much Is Enough?: Money and the Good Life and author of the three-volume biography of John Maynard Keynes

“Martin Ford has thrust himself into the center of the debate over AI, big data, and the future of the economy with a shrewd look at the forces shaping our lives and work. As an entrepreneur pioneering many of the trends he uncovers, he speaks with special credibility, insight, and verve. Business people, policy makers, and professionals of all sorts should read this book right away—before the 'bots steal their jobs. Ford gives us a roadmap to the future.”
—Kenneth Cukier, Data Editor for the Economist and co-author of Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think

“If the robots are coming for my job (too), then Martin Ford is the person I want on my side, not to fend them off but to construct a better world where we can all—humans and our machines—live more prosperously together. Rise of the Robots goes far beyond the usual fear-mongering punditry to suggest an action plan for a better future.”
—Cathy N. Davidson, Distinguished Professor and Director, The Futures Initiative, The Graduate Center, CUNY and author of Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn

“Mr. Ford lucidly sets out myriad examples of how focused applications of versatile machines (coupled with human helpers where necessary) could displace or de-skill many jobs… His answer to a sharp decline in employment is a guaranteed basic income, a safety net that he suggests would both cushion the effect on the newly unemployable and encourage entrepreneurship among those creative enough to make a new way for themselves. This is a drastic prescription for the ills of modern industrialization—ills whose severity and very existence are hotly contested. Rise of the Robots provides a compelling case that they are real, even if its more dire predictions are harder to accept.”
Wall Street Journal

“Well-researched and disturbingly persuasive.”
Financial Times

“[Rise of the Robots is]about as scary as the title suggests. It's not science fiction, but rather a vision (almost) of economic Armageddon.”
—Frank Bruni, New York Times

“As Martin Ford documents in Rise of the Robots, the job-eating maw of technology now threatens even the nimblest and most expensively educated...the human consequences of robotization are already upon us, and skillfully chronicled here."
New York Times Book Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780465059997
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
05/05/2015
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
431,532
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author


Martin Ford, the founder of a Silicon Valley–based software development firm, has over twenty-five years of experience in computer design and software development. The author of The Lights in the Tunnel: Automation, Accelerating Technology, and the Economy of the Future, he lives in Sunnyvale, California.
@MFordFuture

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Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
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