Arise Sir Robot

One of the books I gave myself time to read over Christmas and New Year was this one. “Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future” Written in a very easy to read style and strong on factual references with a tailored version for UK consumption. It is well worth a read and is both alarming and engaging, even if you are not into robotics and engineering innovation.

It is as much about society as AI and algorithms. My generation will probably be the last where the notion of “full employment” will exist and those who like me work in middle-class professional work will face the same issues of unemployment irrespective of the amount of education I have subjected myself to. The author Martin Ford completes the book with an examination of how we might bring about a sense of fairness in society, picking up on a myriad of facts and figures from demographers and economists about employment and equality.

The Wake Up Call

As someone who has been pushing and promoting technology advancement for the past 30 years it brings you up short. I had to take a deep breath as I read parts. You realise what we have been doing these past 30 years is going to be overtaken and in such a way it will make what we have seen and done pedestrian, such are the changes being lined up. The wakeup call this book delivers is that automation of knowledge workers is just around the corner. Is it “hello to Watson” and “goodbye to consumerism”, such will be the impact of the growing divide between rich and poor. You could easily be very alarmed at the content of this book.

If you are suffering from the black days and depressive “fog” associated with January and February I suggest that you save this read for June or July when the sun is out. Perhaps that is why the publisher released it in May of last year!

Definitely a book to send to your Member of Parliament for comment.

Author
Graham Beastall – Senior Consultant and Managing Director. Graham’s background is in Accountancy, Public Administration and Organisational Theory with a deep technical understanding of databases and web technologies. More posts by Graham.
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