Tech bestseller “The Second Machine Age” by Eric Brinolfson and Andrew McAfee. The book has over 500 reviews on the Amazon website (rating – 4.4) and more than 2000 positive reviews on the GoodReads book portal. The authors of the book are the founders of their own IT company, and are also included in the TOP-50 world thinkers in the field of management and politics.
In their book, the authors talk about the present and future of technology, growing inequality between classes, and the decline and emergence of new jobs.
The first era of machines sparked the Industrial Revolution: a simultaneous explosion in the development of metallurgy, mechanical engineering, chemistry and other fields. Now comes the second era of machines, during which computers and other devices will gradually replace humans, they will begin to do most of the work in their place. We will tell you more about what to expect from the Second Industrial Revolution.
Idea 1. Three things to know about the Second Age of Machines
Technology is advancing with leaps and bounds. Computer technologies are improving, making it possible to produce more and more perfect products. Now we are at an inflection point, after passing which progress will increase several times.
The new era will be better than the previous one, because we will be able to significantly increase the range and volumes of production and consumption. Technology will give us greater choice and flexibility. Breakthroughs in new technology discoveries are increasing exponentially.
Economic shocks will occur because machines and technology will become much more powerful and, importantly, smarter, and can replace many professions. Many people will be left out of work and will be forced to look for new jobs.
Idea 2. Innovation that awaits us
In their book, the authors devote a lot of attention to describing existing and future technologies that will change our world forever. Here is just a short list of them:
Cars without drivers. Developed by companies like Google and Uber.
Translators from any language to any with the possibility of continuous automatic improvement and learning. Developed by Google Translate and IBM’s GeoFluent.
Acceleration in the manufacture of robots and robotics.
Large-scale introduction of 3D printers, which will be used to create various models and products, up to the construction of houses and even the reconstruction of human organs, which can then be successfully transplanted.
Idea 3. Bounty and spread
Bounty and spread are the economic consequences of the Second Machine Age. Bounty – increasing the volume, variety and quality of products. Reducing the cost of production through the introduction of technological innovations. Spread is an increase in the gap between economic classes: the poor will become more and more, the capital of billionaires will begin to grow rapidly. Growing inequality is a serious problem that needs to be tackled now, otherwise it will be too late later. From 1979 to 2007, income growth for the richest class of people, which is only 1% of the world’s population, increased by 278%. At the same time, the aggregate average income of the population has been falling continuously since 1999. The digital era will only widen this gap, because the richest people have massive resources that they can invest in technological products and developments that can show crazy profitability in the end.
At the same time, there are benefits from technology too. They help to increase labor productivity, there are many goods and services that cost almost nothing: applications on smartphones, Wikipedia, free classified ads, free messaging and call services, etc. The share of intellectual property and user-generated content is growing, more and more people are starting to work through the Internet, creating intangible assets: software, information courses, websites, etc.
Idea 4. Measures to help improve the life of humanity in the second era of machines
Continuously master new technologies that may be in demand in the Second Age of Machines. The best way to tackle the problem of a surplus of labor will be economic growth, wise tax policy, and educational reforms. Development of products and programs that will enhance human capabilities, not replace them.
Idea 5. Prospects and problems of our future
Of course, technological progress will bring quite a lot of advantages for humanity. Technological growth is now even outstripping Moore’s Law, according to which technology is improved every 18 months. In the next 24 months, computers will add more to their performance than they have ever seen before. In the next 24 years, technology is likely to be 1,000 times more advanced than it is now. Our generation will probably see true artificial intelligence, and each person will become part of a single socio-economic network.
However, not everything is so rosy. Do not forget about the “bounty” and “spread”, the growth of social inequality, degradation and anger of some segments of the population.
The book by Eric Brinolfson and Andrew McAfee “The Second Machine Age” about what technological breakthroughs await us in the very near future. It is filled with amazing details and research on products and programs that are now or will be available in the near future. In addition, the authors share their views on how the technological era will affect the life of humanity and offer their solutions to a number of significant problems that we may face.
The book is definitely recommended for anyone who is interested in technology and wants to know what trends and professions will be in demand in the age of machines and artificial intelligence.
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