The Lights in the Tunnel and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
  • List Price: $15.95
  • Save: $1.59 (10%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
The Lights in the Tunnel:... has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Condition: Used: Good
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

The Lights in the Tunnel: Automation, Accelerating Technology and the Economy of the Future Paperback – September 22, 2009


See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$14.36
$8.61 $1.67
$14.36 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.



Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

THE LIGHTS IN THE TUNNEL takes an in depth look at current trends in information technology and globalization and examines what the likely economic impact will be in the coming years and decades.

Here are just a few of the questions explored in the book:

How will job automation impact the economy in the future?

How will the offshore outsourcing trend evolve in the coming years?

What impact will technologies such as robotics and artificial intelligence have on the job market?

Did technology play a significant role in the 2007 subprime meltdown and the subsequent global financial crisis and recession?

Globalization. Collaboration. Telecommuting. Are these the forces that will shape the workplaces of the future? Or is there something bigger lurking?

How fast can we expect technological change to occur in the coming years and decades?

Which jobs and industries are likely to be most vulnerable to automation and outsourcing?

Machine and computer automation will primarily impact low skilled and low paid workers. True or false?

Will advancing technology always make society as a whole more wealthy? Or could it someday cause a severe economic depression?

What are the implications of advancing automation technology for developing nations such as China and India?

Will a college education continue to be a good bet in the future?

Recent economic data suggests that, in United States, we are seeing increasing income inequality and a dwindling middle class. How will this trend play out in the future?

What will be the economic impact of truly advanced future technologies, such as nanotechnology?

Retail positions at Wal-Mart and other chain stores have become the jobs of last resort for many workers. Will robots and other forms of machine automation someday threaten these jobs? If so, what alternatives will the economy create for these workers?

And much more...

About the Author

MARTIN FORD is the founder of a Silicon Valley-based software firm. He has over twenty-five years experience in the fields of computer design and software development. He holds a computer engineering degree from the University of Michigan and a graduate business degree from the University of California, Los Angeles.
If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle Edition for FREE. Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.


Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 262 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (September 22, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1448659817
  • ISBN-13: 978-1448659814
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (178 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #196,546 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Martin Ford is the founder of a Silicon Valley-based software development firm. He has over 25 years experience in the fields of computer design and software development. He holds a degree in computer engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and a graduate degree in business from the Anderson Graduate School of Management at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Customer Reviews

I hope this comes peacefully, but it will come one way or the other.
Wayne Jamison
He presents a well reasoned argument based on his assumptions, however, those assumptions are flawed on several points.
Avid Reader
Ford's ideas for dealing with future economic realities are worth a serious discussion.
Craig K. Chandler

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

248 of 263 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Percey on October 13, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Other reviewers have summarized the book in detail, so I won't. I'll just emphasize the bottom line:

Machines are fast approaching humans in terms of *mental* labor capacity, not just *physical* labor capacity. In the past as machines took over much of our physical labor, we were then free to turn to more valuable mental labor. But once machines take over much of our mental labor, then what do we turn to for employment?

The author makes a very compelling case that this situation will arise, and likely within the next few decades. And he also lays out some rather bold suggestions to delay the shock of the resulting high unemployment and allow us to transition to an inevitably new type of economy as smoothly as possible. Though, even with these suggestions, I expect this transition is not likely to be smooth.

This book is a very important, frank discussion of a pending time-bomb for our precious mass market economy. Read it and recommend it to others. And think about how you and your family and friends will manage the forthcoming transition.
6 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
257 of 274 people found the following review helpful By John K. Hawley on September 14, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Martin Ford's book, The Lights in the Tunnel, is one of the latest in a progression of books addressing the economic and social problems partially attributable to rapidly advancing technology. I think his problem analysis is spot on. However, I think his proposed solutions are impractical and probably unworkable. The allocation (or misallocation) of wealth created by the prevailing economic system is an historical problem, one that is being exacerbated by the growing skill-bias of technology. But I can't imagine that any non-market-based wealth allocation scheme developed and administered by government would end up being other than a welfare program or a mechanism for rewarding political "favorites." Politics and cronyism would replace merit and effort. Government can't escape the specter of politics. Like it or not, the market imposes a reality and discipline that is simply not present in most government decision making.
All of the above said, the economic and resultant social problems associated with the increasing skill-bias of technology are serious and not likely to be a temporary phenomenon. Moreover, I don't believe that solutions will be easy to develop or implement. In my line of work (a psychologist working systems acquisition for the US Department of Defense), we began to encounter this problem more than 30 years ago with the widespread introduction of information technology into military systems. Back in those days, we referred to it as "skill creep," and understood that it had significant design, aptitude, and training implications. What came in on cat's paws back in the 1970s is now becoming a perfect storm across the economic spectrum. I should also note that in spite of 30 years of experience with it, DoD still struggles to cope with the skill-bias effect.
Read more ›
108 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
78 of 86 people found the following review helpful By Gregory A. Bonadies on August 16, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Someday, we will need to understand and deal with the fact that human labor will become increasing superfluous in the functioning of the global economy. The Creedance Clearwater Revival song "Someday Never Comes" counters the notion that understanding or grasping reality somehow can be deferred rather than by confronting the signs and signals of that inevitable future evident in the present. The seeds and roots of a radically different form of economy have been germinating and growing in humanity's inexorable drive to leverage and exploit increasingly advanced technology.

Martin Ford's primary thesis in his brave and thought-provoking work "The Lights in the Tunnel" confronts us with the prospect of the disruptive impact of rapidly advancing technology which will eventually obviate the market-based economic system. In a market economy, the product market/factor market cycle flows goods and services from firms to workers' households in exchange for workers' labor at those same firms. Ford challenges the "conventional wisdom of economists" that product markets will continue to expand, that technology will continuously drive down prices, and he presents a solid case for the advent of an economy characterized by systemic unemployment (some signs of which are already apparent in the economy of the early 21st century). Off-shoring and automation will continue, but at some "tipping point," technology and machines will become sophisticated enough that the need for human labor will diminish - rapidly and with severe consequences for our market economy and the principles upon which it is founded.
Read more ›
5 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
137 of 166 people found the following review helpful By W. Sheridan on December 2, 2009
Format: Paperback
When manufacturing automation produced the Great Depression there were forecasts that the Price System was doomed because the income from jobs was what provided purchasing power for the mass market. But instead of collapse, a transition was begun whereby the labour market was shifted from manufacturing employment to service employment.

But in The Industrialization of Intelligence, Noah Kennedy warned us that the same processes that had eliminated jobs in manufacturing would eventually be applied to intellectual work. Martin Ford is now announcing that we are very close to massive layoffs amongst Knowledge Workers because everything from inventory re-stocking, to legal research, to medical diagnostics, will be progressively automated as well.

No jobs means no pay cheques, so a decline of 30% in the size of the workforce will bring ruin to both ordinary consumers and mass marketing. Declining sales means declining profits, and that leads to declining investments and declining innovation. The market will not be able to shift sufficient employment to any other sector to recreate jobs. Market-financed automation will undermine the incomes of virtually everyone.

It's time to rethink the way income is distributed as well as the lifestyles that consumers lead. If economic productivity is taxed at the same rate as previous labour costs, transfer payments can then be established to provide income to otherwise unemployed consumers. These transfers should be enough to cover the basics: food, clothing, shelter, medical treatment, transportation, education, and entertainment. There is literally no other way to get purchasing power into the hands of consumers.
Read more ›
10 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


Frequently Bought Together

The Lights in the Tunnel: Automation, Accelerating Technology and the Economy of the Future + The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies + Race Against the Machine: How the Digital Revolution is Accelerating Innovation, Driving Productivity, and Irreversibly Transforming Employment and the Economy
Price for all three: $41.71

Buy the selected items together