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The Future of Work: Robots, AI, and Automation Hardcover – May 15, 2018

3.7 out of 5 stars 22 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


In The Future of Work, Darrell West explores how emerging technologies will change the way we live. He provides interesting insights on how to think about the future of AI, robotics, and the Internet of Things.―Steve Case, Chairman and CEO, Revolution, and Cofounder, AOL

The author provides an interesting glimpse at the latest innovations: nimble robots, sophisticated software, an “Internet of Things” through which everyday objects communicate with one another. He shows how these innovations might affect existing industries and spawn new ones, reducing the need for some types of jobs and increasing the need for others, as well as changing the way people work in whatever jobs they have.―Wall Street Journal

If you want a concise, clear-eyed, evidence-based, and up-to-the-minute overview of the future of work, this is the book for you. It’s an indispensable guide both to the deep changes that are occurring and to our best options for responding intelligently to them.―Andrew McAfee, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The future of work is the future of the economy and how we live. No one knows in the age of AI what it will be, but this book is the best guide yet to come out.―Lawrence H. Summers, Harvard University

There is little doubt humanity is on the precipice of massive change in how we work. The only question is whether it is a future of shared prosperity and leisure or one of mass unemployment and turmoil. The Future of Work offers a quick introduction to the basic concepts that underlie the debate.―New York Times

Darrell West crisply outlines the astounding leaps by which machines are replacing human workers, and warns of the devastating consequences that are likely to follow. But West also offers hope. We may be able to redefine work and renegotiate our social contract, if we make major reforms in our political system. Humans, plan ahead!―Benjamin I. Page, Northwestern University and author of Democracy in America?

From the Inside Flap

The digital economy is here

Robots, artificial intelligence, and driverless cars are no longer the stuff of futuristic visions. They are with us today and will become increasingly common in coming years, along with virtual reality and digital personal assistants.

As these tools advance deeper into everyday use, they raise fundamental questions: how will they transform society, the economy, and politics? If companies need fewer workers because of automation and robotics, what happens to those who once held those jobs? Many social benefits are delivered through jobs, so how are people without full-time employment going to manage?

Looking past today’s headlines, political scientist and cultural observer Darrell M. West argues that society needs to rethink the concept of jobs, reconfigure the social contract, move toward a system of lifetime learning, and develop a new kind of politics for an era of economic dislocation. With the U.S. governance system in shambles because of political polarization and hyper-partisanship, dealing creatively with the transition to a fully digital economy will vex political leaders and complicate the adoption of remedies that could ease the transition pain.

This book presents a number of proposals to help all of us adapt and flourish as our industrial economy inevitably becomes a digital one. This ranges from creating new forms of job identity to encouraging lifelong learning, from emphasizing leisure activities in the arts, music, and culture to overhauling the social contract and making fundamental political reforms. It is vital to address these issues in order to avoid widespread economic and political disruption.

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3.7 out of 5 stars
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Top international reviews

Glenn Elliott
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent intro / primer on future of work in an AI/robotics revolution
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 8, 2018
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2.0 out of 5 stars Long on stating problems, short on investigating solutions
Reviewed in Canada on November 1, 2018
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