The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologiesby Erik Brynjolfsson, Andrew McAfee, Jeff Cummings
A revolution is under way.
In recent years, Google’s autonomous cars have logged thousands of miles on American highways and IBM’s Watson trounced the best human Jeopardy! players. Digital technologieswith hardware, software, and networks at their corewill in the near future diagnose diseases more accurately than doctors can, apply/i>
A revolution is under way.
In recent years, Google’s autonomous cars have logged thousands of miles on American highways and IBM’s Watson trounced the best human Jeopardy! players. Digital technologieswith hardware, software, and networks at their corewill in the near future diagnose diseases more accurately than doctors can, apply enormous data sets to transform retailing, and accomplish many tasks once considered uniquely human.
In The Second Machine Age, MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfeetwo thinkers at the forefront of their fieldreveal the forces driving the reinvention of our lives and our economy. As the full impact of digital technologies is felt, we will realize immense bounty in the form of dazzling personal technology, advanced infrastructure, and near-boundless access to the cultural items that enrich our lives.
Amid this bounty will also be wrenching change. Professions of all kindsfrom lawyers to truck driverswill be forever upended. Companies will be forced to transform or die. Recent economic indicators reflect this shift: fewer people are working, and wages are falling even as productivity and profits soar.
Drawing on years of research and up-to-the-minute trends, Brynjolfsson and McAfee identify the best strategies for survival and offer a new path to prosperity. These include revamping education so that it prepares people for the next economy instead of the last one, designing new collaborations that pair brute processing power with human ingenuity, and embracing policies that make sense in a radically transformed landscape.
A fundamentally optimistic audiobook, The Second Machine Age will alter how we think about issues of technological, societal, and economic progress.
A hopeful view of the future as we enter a second machine age. Driverless cars and 3D printers are harbingers of a new era, argue MIT colleagues Brynjolfsson (Director/Center for Digital Business; co-author, Wired for Innovation: How Information Technology Is Reshaping the Economy, 2013, etc.) and McAfee (Principal Research Scientist/Center for Digital Business; Enterprise 2.0: New Collaborative Tools for Your Organization's Toughest Challenges, 2009, etc.). Some 200 years ago, the invention of the steam engine sparked massive amounts of mechanical power to drive factories and mass production in the first machine age. Now, computers and other digital advances are providing such "a vast and unprecedented boost to mental power" that technologies once found only in science fiction are becoming everyday realities. Drawing on research, including interviews with inventors, investors, entrepreneurs, engineers and others, the authors describe the forces driving the emerging age, notably the digitization of nearly everything, which increases understanding and fosters innovation, and an amazing exponential growth in improvements. We're now seeing "the emergence of real, useful artificial intelligence (AI) and the connection of most of the people on the planet via a common digital network." As machines complete cognitive tasks--as opposed to physical ones--engaging in pattern recognition and complex communication, AI will do more and more, for example, giving key aspects of sight to the visually impaired and restoring hearing to the deaf. Along with benefits, including greater amounts of individual choice, technological progress will bring economic disruption, leaving some people behind and workers without jobs. The authors describe the large differences that are already apparent among people in both income and wealth and explain how individuals can improve their skills to maintain healthy wage and job prospects. "Our generation has inherited more opportunities to transform the world than any other," they write. "That's a cause for optimism, but only if we're mindful of our choices." Valuable reading for policymakers.
- Brilliance Audio
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- Product dimensions:
- 5.30(w) x 6.70(h) x 0.40(d)
Meet the Author
Andrew McAfee is a principal research scientist at the MIT Center for Digital Business and the author of Enterprise 2.0. They are the coauthors of Race Against the Machine.
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