The idea is that everyone gets some income that is not tied to a particular job. If this income is enough to live on, humans would be able to function along with the robots. Yes, the devil is in the details but it seems like it might help us into a transition into the robotic future. Of course some other people say that intelligent robots of the future are only a problem if we hold onto capitalism. Finally, it think the author goes over many other situations in which robots have had or will have a significant impact—education is one such example.
Hopefully we can work out this whole robotification thing so that we can all benefit in the future. Note: This review is based on a complimentary copy of Rise of the Robots that I received from the publisher. Basic Books.
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I will start with a super short review: The book would be better if the title included the word " robotification. It's sort of depressing to think about the future in cases where robots dominate. Overall, the book was well written with interesting stories about both business and technology. Some parts of the book seemed to go off into tangent stories that didn't interest me.
Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future
The last chapter was the best. Truck driving may survive for a while — at least until self-driving vehicles start rolling out of Detroit or, perhaps, San Jose. The disappearance of jobs has not ushered in a new age of leisure, as social theorists predicted uneasily in the s. Would the masses utilize their freedom from labor in productive ways, such as civic participation and the arts, or would they die of boredom in their ranch houses?
Somehow, it was usually assumed, they would still manage to eat. Booking travel reservations is now a D.
As corporations cut their workforces, managers have to take on the work of support staff remember secretaries? At times the book gets weighed down by an unwarranted nostalgia for the old days, when most transactions involved human interactions. Lambert, formerly an editor at Harvard Magazine, is on firmer ground when he explores all the ways corporations and new technologies fiendishly generate new tasks for us — each of them seemingly insignificant but amounting to many hours of annoyance.
Examples include deleting spam from our inboxes, installing software upgrades, creating passwords for every website we seek to enter, and periodically updating those passwords.
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Lambert falls short of calling for the shadow workers of the world to go out on strike. More to the point, it is not biologically viable.
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If a business can save money through automation, competitive pressures will leave it no choice but to do so. While there will certainly continue to be jobs that cannot be automated, the reality is that a very large percentage of the million or so workers in the United States are employed in jobs that are fundamentally routine and repetitive in nature. An enormous number of these jobs are going to be vaporized by technology in the coming decades, and because that technology will be available across the board, there is very little reason to believe that entirely new employment sectors capable of absorbing massive numbers of workers will be created.
The problem is not just one of unemployment. As unemployment increases and wages fall, discretionary consumer spending and confidence will likewise plummet. The result could be a downward economic spiral that will be very difficult to arrest.
Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future (Unabridged) on Apple Books
Beyond some threshold, the business models of mass market industries would be threatened as there would simply be too few viable consumers to purchase their products. I believe that the impact of accelerating automation technology is likely to present an enormous economic, social and political challenge over the next ten to twenty years and beyond.
If we are ultimately destined to live in a world in which traditional jobs are simply unavailable and a huge percentage of the population has little in the way of marketable skills or opportunity to earn an income, the only viable solutions to those systemic problems are likely to be radical ones.
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