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The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies
The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies
The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies
Audiobook8 hours

The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

3.5/5

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About this audiobook

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 technologies-with hardware, software, and networks at their core-will 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 McAfee-two thinkers at the forefront of their field-reveal 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 kinds-from lawyers to truck drivers-will 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.

LanguageEnglish
Release dateJan 20, 2014
ISBN9781480577466
The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies

Reviews for The Second Machine Age

Rating: 3.331288343558282 out of 5 stars
3.5/5

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  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    The purpose of the book is to talk about how machines are and will change our lifestyle in the coming years. With Internet of Things being on the rise, I do see things change very drastically (in a positive way) for us very soon. I was impressed by the 'second half of the chessboard' analogy. I could relate to it being in the technology field myself.The authors hint at improving productivity - throughput per worker - in the early chapters as a means of achieving this. Higher levels of computation, digitization, and recombinant innovation are the tools that are making these breakthroughs happen.They do place an emphasis on better learning techniques, both in school and after. A mention of MOOCs and the way students can make the most of it was definitely a revival for me as I've read it earlier in other books.Few of things mentioned in the book that the authors think as 'wonders of the future' are actually happening right now, but that could be my timing of reading the book.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    Great book to better understand the future of work
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    The Second Machine Age is a great book to understand how technology will make rapid inroads into areas previously thought as a human preserve. From chess to driving to personal assistant, computers prove increasingly capable of complex tasks, and the exponential increase of computing power means that future breakthrough will be even more impressive and come much sooner than our linear-biased minds expect. The book shows that this evolution has deep consequences on the very fabric of society, in the amount ("bounty") and distribution ("spread") of economic outcomes. Left to its own devices, current technological progress increases production at a fast pace, but inequality of outcomes at an even faster pace, leading to grim prospects for middle-income jobs. The authors, however, do not subscribe to the view that such a future is unavoidable (see Tyler Cowen's Average is over) and present an array of measure that enable the majority of us not to race against the machines (title of their previous book on the subject), but with them.Overall, it is a deep, well-researched book. Readers of Race against the machine will not find lots of new elements, but the exposition of the material is better structured. In my opinion, this book should be complemented by another one, dealing with how technology affects and is affected by culture (norms, representation, social relations) and not just economic outcomes.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    In all, a very good and informative read, although the key ideas are not new to readers of Jeremy Rifkin's 1994 book "The End of Work", which, unfortunately, is not mentioned.

    I especially liked the argument that "growth" is increasingly inadequately captured by GDP growth, and the point that the present fiscal system is too much labor-oriented. In general, the diagnosis was excellent. The solutions outlined by the authors, however, were much too short-term in my eyes. Especially since the authors stress that we are at an "inflection point" of history, focusing on quick fixes of the status quo (better education etc) is a little myopic. We need to be prepared for a largely laborless society within our lifetimes, which will require huge changes in the distribution of income, as the authors themselves acknowledge. This big transition will take a lot of time, so it must be started now. The authors were too light on outlining the long-term solutions. For example, how are governments going to finance negative income taxes for the legions on un(der)employed, and the necessary investments in science and infrastructure? I would have liked more detailed visions on the solutions for the "android experiment".

    Lastly, for a book about technology, the ebook version is funny in that the final 15% consist of a (completely useless because the keywords are unlinked) index; it's also highly misleading as the main text already ends at 67% of the ebook. In general, the book makes the impression that it could have used another round of editing.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    Great and balanced look of how the future might bring us with automation, techno logy, money...
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    3/5
    Some interesting points, but seriously outdated. Useful as a historical record of technological progress.