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The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change Audible – Unabridged

4.3 out of 5 stars 232 customer reviews

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
*A full summary of this book is available here: An Executive Summary of Al Gore's 'The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change'

Our world is becoming increasingly integrated and complex, and changing faster and faster. Out of the morass of elements involved here, Al Gore identifies 6 themes or factors that are emerging as the major drivers of change. The factors are 1) Work: the movement of labor from West to East (outsourcing); and, at the same time, a shift towards much more automation (robosourcing); 2) Communications: the rise of the internet that has led to a wild proliferation of information, and the ability of the world's population to instantly connect with one another for a host of purposes--and the increasing reach of the internet from the developed to the developing world; 3) Power: the shifting of power from West to East; and, at the same time, the shifting of power from national governments to smaller players, such as businesses and corporations, but also rogue players, such as guerrilla and terror organizations; 4) Demographics: the enormous increase in the world's population, and the movement of peoples both within and across national borders (as the result of numerous factors); 5) Biotechnology: the increasing manipulation of DNA to produce not only new organisms with novel features, but new materials and fuels as well, and 6) Climate Change: the increase in world temperatures caused by the continuing build-up of CO2, as well as the numerous other climate effects that this entails.
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Format: Hardcover
'The Future' covers what author Gore believes are the six most important drivers of global change. They are, The emergence of

1)A deeply interconnected global economy.

2)Planet-wide electronics linking to rapidly expanding volumes of data, ubiquitous sensors throughout the world, and intelligent devices and robots.

3)A new balance of political, economic, and military power that is shifting influence from West to East, from wealthy to emerging states, from political systems to markets, and from nation-states to private actors.

4)Rapid unsustainable growth in population, water and other natural resource consumption, and pollution - all guided by a distorted set of economic metrics (eg. 'quarterly capitalism,' GDP).

5)A new set of biochemical, genetic, and materials science technologies enabling us to alter plants, animals, and ourselves, as well as create new materials.

6)New relationships between humans and the Earth's ecology.

One of the most interesting sections was Gore's treatment of the new economy and its impact on the U.S. and the developed world. He contends we don't recognize the employment impact of automation (3D-printing and much cheaper and easier to program robots are the latest developments), 'self-sourcing' - eg. ordering items from the Internet instead of interacting with clerks, and outsourcing to other nations - eventually these trends will challenge the role of labor in the economy of the future.
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Format: Hardcover
In "The Future" Al Gore moves beyond his traditional focus on climate change and takes on the major agents of change in today's global world. The book is very ambitious (and quite long). It looks at the six major forces that are transforming the world, and which will create the major challenges and opportunities for humanity going forward.

The part I liked best focused on how globalization and especially technology are transforming the economy and labor markets. Gore divides this into outsourcing and "robosourcing" (what he calls replacement of jobs by smart machines and robots). Unlike others who feel today's technology is just a continuation of what has come before, Gore sees it as a totally new force with dramatic (and often negative) consequences for workers.

As he points out, advanced information technology is a major driver of inequality. As machines are able to do more work, capital is worth more relative to labor. He notes that in the United States, "50 percent of capital gains to to the top one thousandth of one percent." (For more on technology transforming the job market, I would also recommend The Lights in the Tunnel: Automation, Accelerating Technology and the Economy of the Future, which all about how robots and AI will affect jobs).

Beyond this Gore takes on the other trends. For example, he is very optimistic about the global connectivity allowed by technology, calling it the "global mind." Gore seems to think this we lead to more collaboration and emerging consensus on big political issues. But there is plenty of reason to be skeptical... In the U.S.
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