Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The second machine age

The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies by Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson is a very thought provoking book. 

Written a few years ago with an acclaimed sequel out - it was a bit dated, but not for me. Much of what they said was thought provoking I felt. 

In this age of technology and AI - there is something we perhaps dont realise. 

In the book he mentions a concept called the second half the chessboard (referring to this story) which in turns relates the human understanding of the exponential function (and then I read about Al Bartlett and his lecture)

The second part which clicked was the fact that in general, technology does cause job losses - and it has happened from the chariot drivers times and will happen when self driving cars arrive. It has happened from the bulls in the time of tractors and will happen again in the age of mechanical agriculture. 

Yes, some people will be able to retrain and get another 'job' but the rates are employment are dropping with workforces being replaced by robots. 

Third, will there be jobs which will be untouched by technology tsunami? Well, there will be many such jobs, but the jobs scene wont be the same - exactly as it has never been the same for every advancing technology!

The book leaves one with the possibility of imagining how human-technology as a combination can be far unbeatable than just humans or just technology. 

And of course the pace of change...

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