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The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologiesby Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee
As we become more technologically advanced as a society, challenges such as job loss and failing industries are inevitable. In The Second Machine Age, a compelling case is made for shifting our policies toward preparing for technological progress and stemming economic decline.
Synopses & Reviews
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 book, The Second Machine Age will alter how we think about issues of technological, societal, and economic progress.
"Fascinating." Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times
"A terrific book. Brynjolfsson and McAfee combine their knowledge of rapidly evolving digital technologies and relevant economics to give us a colorful and accessible picture of dynamic forces that are shaping our lives, our work, and our economies. For those who want to learn to 'Race with the Machines,' their book is a great place to start." Michael Spence, winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences
"The Second Machine Age offers important insights into how digital technologies are transforming our economy, a process that has only just begun. Erik and Andrew's thesis: As massive technological innovation radically reshapes our world, we need to develop new business models, new technologies, and new policies that amplify our human capabilities, so every person can stay economically viable in an age of increasing automation. I couldn't agree more." Reid Hoffman, cofounder/chairman of LinkedIn and coauthor of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Start-up of You
"What globalization was to the economic debates of the late 20th century, technological change is to the early 21st century. Long after the financial crisis and great recession have receded, the issues raised in this important book will be central to our lives and our politics." Lawrence H. Summers, Charles W. Eliot University Professor at Harvard University
"Technology is overturning the world's economies, and The Second Machine Age is the best explanation of this revolution yet written." Kevin Kelly, senior maverick for Wired and author of What Technology Wants
"Brynjolfsson and McAfee take us on a whirlwind tour of innovators and innovations around the world. But this isn't just casual sightseeing. Along the way, they describe how these technological wonders came to be, why they are important, and where they are headed." Hal Varian, chief economist at Google
"New technologies may bring about our economic salvation or they may threaten our very livelihoods...or they may do both. Brynjolfsson and McAfee have written an important book on the technology-driven opportunities and challenges we all face in the next decade. Anyone who wants to understand how amazing new technologies are transforming our economy should start here." Austan Goolsbee, professor of economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers
"Maddeningly reasonable and readable." Thomas Claburn, InformationWeek
"In this optimistic book Brynjolfsson and McAfee clearly explain the bounty that awaits us from intelligent machines. But they argue that creating the bounty depends on finding ways to race with the machine rather than racing against the machine. That means people like me need to build machines that are easy to master and use. Ultimately, those who embrace the new technologies will be the ones who benefit most." Rodney Brooks, chairman and CTO of Rethink Robotics, Inc
About the Author
Erik Brynjolfsson is the director of the MIT Center for Digital Business and one of the most cited scholars in information systems and economics.
Andrew McAfee is a principal research scientist at the MIT Center for Digital Business and the author of Enterprise 2.0.
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