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Machine, Platform, Crowd MP3 CD – Unabridged, June 27, 2017
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"A book for managers whose companies sit well back from the edge and who would like a digestible introduction to technology trends that may not have reached their doorstep―yet."
― Wall Street Journal
"The story is warmly and richly told.… This book is in many senses a primer, a thorough grounding for the digital warrior in the driving forces of the 21st-century economy."
― Times Higher Education
"Even Silicon Valley is surprised by the speed and scope of change today. The best way to stay on top of it is to understand the principles that will endure even as so much gets disrupted. This book is the best explanation of those principles out there."
― Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google and former executive chairman of Alphabet Inc.
"The digital revolution we’re entering can be unsettling, but McAfee and Brynjolfsson show how these incredibly powerful technologies will make our choices more important than ever. Machine | Platform | Crowd is a road map for leaders to make wise choices as they navigate this new world."
― Arianna Huffington, former president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, author of Thrive and The Sleep Revolution
"On their own, AI, platforms, and crowds are all transformative forces. That they’re evolving in parallel means we’re beginning to experience a new era of networked disruption, where productive but disorienting change becomes the status quo. For citizens, entrepreneurs, companies, and governments who want to successfully navigate this new world, the first step lies in finding reliable and prescient guides. Andrew and Erik are two of the best."
― Reid Hoffman, partner at Greylock Partners and cofounder of LinkedIn
"The authors aptly illustrate how the extraordinary progress of technology is reshaping our lives, and they share powerful ideas relevant to world leaders.… The book is a must-read for policymakers who seek a road map for how to combine the strengths of humanity and technology to build a better future for their citizens."
― Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund
"The authors explain the whys and hows soberly, answering just about every question on AI you could ask: which channels it will colonise next, whether we’ll still need physical products in a virtual world and how Bitcoin will change commerce, among others. Throughout, they are eloquent and informed. They don’t think humans will be obsolete, but they also don't pretend the solutions are simple."
― People Management
"Written… with real human intelligence, concern, feeling, and values. [Machine | Platform | Crowd] is a big, intense, always interesting, and almost intimidating book―and well worth the effort."
― Dylan Schleicher, 800-CEO-READ
"[McAfee and Brynjolfsson] have done us all a great service in explaining some of the powerful trends that will shape our future."
― Mark Cliffe, chief economist of the ING Group
"McAfee and Brynjolfsson are thoughtful observers of the emerging technological revolution which they described in their earlier The Second Machine Age.… They write clearly and are at their most devastating in analyzing how the various elements of the new age combine, wiping out large sectors of media, retail and music industries as they have gone."
― Roger Smith, New Law Journal
About the Author
Erik Brynjolfsson is the director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy and Schussel Family Professor of Management Science at the MIT Sloan School. He is the author of several best-selling books with co-author Andrew McAfee, and one of the world’s most cited scholars in information systems and economics.
Andrew McAfee is the co-director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy and co-author of the best-selling The Second Machine Age and Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future. He and co-author Erik Brynjolfsson are the only people named to both the Thinkers 50 list of the world’s top management thinkers and the Politico 50 group of people transforming American politics.
- Publisher : Brilliance Audio; Unabridged edition (June 27, 2017)
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 1543615791
- ISBN-13 : 978-1543615791
- Item Weight : 3.5 ounces
- Dimensions : 6.75 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,772,454 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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“Over the next ten years,” they conclude, “you will have at your disposal 100 times more computer power than you do today.” Millions of people are working in jobs that create goods and services our grandparents could never have imagined. Billions of brains and trillions of devices will soon be connected to the Internet, not only able to access humanity’s collective knowledge, but also able to contribute to our knowledge.
We are living in what is the most creative and disrupted period in human history – so far. This mind-bending reality is a function of the emergence of (for example,) effective artificial intelligence in areas as different from each other as health care, transportation, and retailing.
There are three primary contributing forces driving our revolutionary advances: machines, platforms and crowds.
Machines of the first Industrial Revolution amplified peoples’ physical strength in ways unimaginable for centuries. We could move faster and further than we could ever have imagined, do tasks that would have required armies of labourers with just a few people, and produce more goods per minute than people were previously able to produce in years.
Machines of the second Industrial Revolution will do for people’s mental ability what the first Industrial Revolution did for muscle power. Whereas 100 years ago, an advert for a computer was a job-ad for a person who could compute, an advert for a computer today is for a device that can not only compute, but think faster, collate, analyse, diagnose and even create.
This power is well illustrated by the success of a computer built to play the Go board game. This game is deemed to be the most complex game the world has ever seen. It is estimated that there are about 210170 (that is, 2 followed by 170 zeros) possible positions on a standard Go board. This is many times the atoms in the observable universe. Add to this, that not even the top human Go players understand how to navigate this absurd complexity, or how they make smart moves.
Where there is a rule structure, we have some levers to create computers to perform outrageously complex tasks. But how do you program a computer when no human can articulate these strategies?
DeepMind, a company specializing in machine learning - a branch of artificial intelligence - published a paper describing AlphaGo, a Go-playing application that had found a way of dealing with the paradox of people not knowing how or what they know. The system is designed to learn the unknowable on its own, and how to use the learning. It does this by studying millions of positions to create only those moves it thought most likely to lead to victory.
In 2015 AlphaGo won a five-game match against the European Go champion 5–0. In 2016 AlphaGo beat the best human Go player on the planet 4–1.
This astounding ability can now be applied to complex medical problems way beyond what even a group of the finest medical minds could solve, and then make this available to millions of practitioners. And, of course, this process can be applied to many more ‘impossible’ problems.
The second contributing force driving our revolutionary advances is ‘platforms.’
Consider that Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the world’s most valuable retailer, has no inventory. And Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate.
The idea of platforms is not a new one. A shopping mall is a platform that allows for the aggregation of the shopping experience. It enables sellers to interface with customers by providing a user-friendly platform that enables getting to the shops through parking facilities, and staying there longer by including food outlets.
The difference today is that the platforms no longer need to be physical: they are also digital. Unbound by physical assets and infrastructure, digital platforms can grow scarily fast. Airbnb doubled the number of nights booked through the site in twelve months. Apple, through its iPhone and iPad, created a digital platform, and grew into one of the largest companies on the planet in less than a decade!
It is precisely because these and so many other platforms are such “indescribably thin layers”, that they can have such an impact.
Through the extraordinary power of our new machines, and the explosive multiplier effect of platforms, we can benefit from the third contributing force driving our revolutionary advances – crowds.
Humanity has for a long time aggregated knowledge (for example) through collections of wisdom in book form in libraries. The authors call this aggregation ‘core’ to distinguish it from the ‘crowd’. The difference is not size: the Library of Congress in Washington holds 30 million of the worlds estimated 130 million books. The Internet provides a similar aggregation service only in a spectacularly more varied form – text, video, music, contributed by large, varied crowds of people. Billions of them.
This ability to aggregate can be used for evil such as propagating hate or crime. But it can also be used for good, as is evident from its ‘crowd-funding’ potential, as an example.
Indiegogo is an online ‘crowd-funding’ community which showcases a wide variety of creative and entrepreneurial ideas. Contributors can ‘back’ a film they think has potential, and for their contribution they could be invited to an early screening, or if they supported a product, they could be among the first to receive it.
They are in effect ‘buying’ a product that doesn’t exist yet. This is the real value: they are backing a venture that might never exist without their votes of confidence. And they are providing the most powerful and desperately sought, reliable market intelligence, as well as a non-traditional marketing method.
The three factors, machines, platforms and crowds, illustrate three great trends that are reshaping the business world.
Technological progress will test a firm’s ability to survive, and survival is shortening. In 1960, S&P 500 companies used to last 60 years, now they last less than 20. This book is a guide for business people on how to navigate ‘destruction’ successfully.
The real question is not what technology will do to us, but how can we use this tool called technology. Tools don’t decide what happens to people – people do. Technology only creates options; success depends on how people take advantage of these.
And here is why you should read this book: Understanding the implications of these developments for your own business can make the difference between thriving or merely surviving. If you read only one book this year, I recommend this one. You will need to work this book, but the benefit will far outweigh the effort.
Readability Light ----+ Serious
Insights High +---- Low
Practical High -+--- Low
*Ian Mann of Gateways consults internationally on leadership and strategy, and is the author of the recently released ‘Executive Update.
We are gifted, and challenged, to be alive in this Age, and we can make the most of our opportunities, with the help of his book.
I recommend it to everyone who wants to better understand the monumental and shattering changes taking place all around us, gathering speed, and having more and more impact, over time. It has opened my eyes, and served me well. I am still digesting it.
The combination of the two methods (a short summary and a set of well-designed questions per chapter) is an effective approach to connect the readers to the central points of the book quickly. Overall, a useful reference and an excellent read.
Top reviews from other countries
I had high hopes for their latest book. It is no “The Second Machine Age”. In some ways, it is a repetition of the theme. It is a version of “The Third Wave” or “Platform Revolution”.
The core message
AI is going faster than expected, machines are getting smarter and smarter, we are all connected, platforms are taking over, open innovation and co-creation are the names of the game, there is wisdom in the crowds and it will happen in your industry too. Using the usual examples (which is in itself is an indication that the platforms are taking over and winners take all) such as Airbnb, Facebook, Google, Uber, Alibaba, Amazon and Kickstarter.
Covering a lot of topics
Network effects, Polanyi’s Paradox (tacit learning), stage 1 and stage 2 thinking, neuroscience, HiPPO, experts, forecasting (they researched 82,000 expert forecasts, and found that they barely bests a chimp throwing darts), Moore’s law, iteration versus long range planning, reinforced learning, gaming (they teach AI to play games and use gaming as a way for AI to solve problems), big data, level 5 autonomy, deep Q network, “Cambrian Explosion” in robotics, 3D printing, dreaming androids, caveman principle (try to imagine an all-digital, artificially intelligent girls’ soccer coach), bundling and unbundling, friction, O2O (online to offline), reputation systems, noncredentialism, blockchain, DAO (a “Decentralized Autonomous Organisation”, read "Reinventing Organisations”), biomimicry, etc.
Biomimicry is particularly interesting (and a growing topic in business). As the book points out, bones, exoskeletons, and other structures in nature are the winning entries in evolution’s ancient, relentless competition, the outcomes of which are literally life and death. Evolution has resulted in marvellous designs.
So perhaps we should not be too surprised that when generative-design software is given the task of designing an optimal structure to satisfy a set of performance requirements, it comes up with something that looks as if it came from nature.
What can we learn from platforms in particular?
First, they have only been possible in the last ten years or less. Enabled by a mix of GPS, mobile and cloud.
Successful platforms put much emphasis on customer experience, customer support, removing friction, troubleshooting and problem resolution. They are all critical activities, not least because bad word of mouth spreads quickly. If that is of interest, read “X: The Experience When Business Meets Design” by Brian Solis. Experience as a strategy. Joe Pine would like that.
They are early to the space.
They take advantage of the economics of complementary goods whenever possible, realising that low prices for one complement lead to increased demand for others.
They open up their platforms to a broad range of contributors and contributions.
While they maintain a broad rule of openness, they also curate their platforms
Platforms work in undifferentiated experience
Why have platforms deeply disrupted the business of travelling around cities, but not the business of staying in them? The reason is that getting a ride across town is a largely undifferentiated experience (going from A to B) staying overnight is definitely not. Read “Difference”.
Platforms are coming your way
Just because that large platforms are winning does NOT mean that large companies are safe. On the contrary. The message of the book is that these effects (machine, platform, crowds) will start happening in every sector, industry or market. There is an influx of young companies that bear little resemblance to the established incumbents in their industries, yet are deeply disrupting them. These upstarts are platforms, and they are fearsome competitors. Using the rookie advantage.
Your business is so proficient, knowledgeable, and caught up in the status quo that you are unable to see what’s coming. It is called status quo bias.
Which is why they are coming for you. They will fundamentally transform the world we live in. Science fiction is now next door. And yes, the best way to predict the future is to invent it.
You can do it
The good news is that human abilities, excellent goods and services, and strong organisational capabilities remain essential to business success. You just need to combine that with machines, platforms and crowds.
The questions to ask
The book explains AI, machines, platforms and crowds in detail and is in that way nearly (too) academic. The best part of the book is the questions it asks at the end of every chapter. Here are questions you should consider:
Are you tracking the performance over time of your decisions, judgements and forecasts by people and algorithms?
Is your organisation suffering fro the HiPPO syndrome?
What are your most important pattern-matching, diagnosis, classification, prediction, and recommendation activities?
Which key decisions or operations, if any, would you consider turning over entirely to artificial intelligence systems?
What would happen if your competitors start applying machine learning?
What aspects of your organisation’s work are most dull, dirty, dangerous, or dear? Have you looked recently at robots or other automation that can help with this task?
In your innovation and prototyping work, how are you taking advantage of the new technologies for making things?
How much boring, routine work do the most creative and innovative people in your organisation have to do?
Where would better human connections most help your performance and that of your organisation?
Of the tasks currently being done by humans in your organisation, which will be the hardest for computers to take over? Why do you believe this?
Looking at the existing tasks and processes in your job or organisation, what do you see as the ideal division of work between humans and machines?
Where are the next places in your business where you can apply free, perfect and instant?
What are the most important digital platforms in your industry today? What do you think they will be in three years?
Put yourself in the shoes of some of your archetypal customers. Compared to the status quo, what to them might be a more attractive bundling, unbundling, or re-bundling of your offerings together with others?
What are the possible complements for your offerings? How can you best use them to increase total demand?
Does it make more sense for you to try to build your own platform, or to participate in someone else’s?
What are your guiding principles for delivering a compelling user experience? Again, highly recommend you read “X: The Experience When Business Meets Design” by Brian Solis.
What’s your strategy for cooperating or competing with a platform that brings network effects and revenue management capabilities to your industry?
Compare the user interface and user experience of your online offerings to those of the dominant platform in your industry. How do they stack up?
Are you confident that you can continue to differentiate your offerings as platforms spread? If so, why? What are your sustainable sources of differentiation?
How and how often do you look outside your group of identified internal and external experts for help with your challenges and opportunities?
In the past five to ten years, have you expanded the number of people that you or your organisation regularly interact with?
How and how much are you using the crowd?
How might an open, transparent, global, flexible, immutable ledger be valuable to you?
Helping you to reinvent your business
Through the lens of machines, platforms and crowds, it covers business models, organisational design, technology, innovation, product, customer experience and marketing.
Maybe it is as good as “The Second Machine Age.”
I tend to keep up with tech news and developments however what was interesting about Machine Platform Crowd was the way it joins the dots between the technology and business landscapes. The book brings these concepts together in conjunction with interesting examples to make it relevant and comprehendible whether you are CEO of a fortune 500 company, a product person like myself or a developer wanting to better understand the challenges and opportunities in the near future.
This is a wise book, that explores past and future trends in the economy, to help your enterprise team to avoid errors and remain ahead of the curve, from the best academics and boffins. still very relevant, but will this be great in 10 years?