The Second Machine Age

The Second Machine Age

Work, Progress, and Prosperity in A Time of Brilliant Technologies

Book - 2014
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WW Norton
In recent years, Google’s autonomous cars have logged thousands of miles on American highways and IBM’s Watson trounced the best human Jeopardy! players. Digital technologies—with hardware, software, and networks at their core—will in the near future diagnose diseases more accurately than doctors can, apply enormous data sets to transform retailing, and accomplish many tasks once considered uniquely human.In The Second Machine Age MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee—two thinkers at the forefront of their field—reveal the forces driving the reinvention of our lives and our economy. As the full impact of digital technologies is felt, we will realize immense bounty in the form of dazzling personal technology, advanced infrastructure, and near-boundless access to the cultural items that enrich our lives.Amid this bounty will also be wrenching change. Professions of all kinds—from lawyers to truck drivers—will be forever upended. Companies will be forced to transform or die. Recent economic indicators reflect this shift: fewer people are working, and wages are falling even as productivity and profits soar.Drawing on years of research and up-to-the-minute trends, Brynjolfsson and McAfee identify the best strategies for survival and offer a new path to prosperity. These include revamping education so that it prepares people for the next economy instead of the last one, designing new collaborations that pair brute processing power with human ingenuity, and embracing policies that make sense in a radically transformed landscape.A fundamentally optimistic book, The Second Machine Age will alter how we think about issues of technological, societal, and economic progress.
A New York Times BestsellerA revolution is under way.

Baker & Taylor
A pair of technology experts describe how humans will have to keep pace with machines in order to become prosperous in the future and identify strategies and policies for business and individuals to use to combine digital processing power with human ingenuity.

Book News
Brynjolfsson and McAfee approach the boom in digital technology from both from a historical perspective marking it as a momentous development in humanity's capacities and from the immediate economic perspective that brings concern over its effect on employment. The first part of the book characterizes the current state and potential of digital technology, including recent rapid advances in some key areas, emerging prototypes, Moore's law, data processing, innovation, and artificial intelligence. The second part draws out implications, including gains in efficiency, obsolescence of GDP, and sharing the benefits of technology. Finally, individual and policy recommendations are suggested for coping with the changes, along with predictions of how technology will continue to develop and direct culture. Annotation ©2014 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (

Publisher: New York : W. W. Norton & Company, [2014]
New York : W. W. Norton & Company, [2014]
Edition: First Edition
ISBN: 9780393239355
Branch Call Number: 303.48 BRY 2014
Characteristics: 306 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Additional Contributors: McAfee, Andrew


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Jul 21, 2017

A very good socio-economic approach to the impact of ICTs on many aspects of our lives and functionment. Definitively recommend reading this!

Aug 18, 2016

This book gives a clear picture of what the future will hold for technology and how it will effect the way we live and work and what you can do to prepare for it.

Jul 19, 2016

A thoughtful caution about the potential impact of smart machines and why govts worldwide should consider this important issue. The U.S. certainly is. Silicon Valley and MIT are leading the charge. Unfortunately, Canada is neither adopting nor even tracking the new technologies in a meaningful way, which explains why Canada is in decline and will be for several generations. Public service unions here are exerting aggressive control over new technologies that should be in use right now. Self-serving teachers' unions and the school boards that promote them are the reason why we are still plagued by an 18th c. education model. This is also why useless govt trackers record such work as 'safe from replacement by the machines.' Generations of Canadians will pay for this. The book very thoughtfully raises the question whether new tech will usurp more jobs than it creates. The rest is up to us.

Jan 03, 2015

I don't think the previous commenter actually read the book. The author does say that automation and globalization have and will lead to job loss. And he does say that computers have caused income inequality. One interesting thought is that automation will probably actually return production from globalization since the low cost jobs will be automated and there will then be no advantage in sourcing offshore. The book is definitely worth reading - a realistic look at our present and what we have before us.

Apr 28, 2014

[Update #2: I'm pretty sure that the commenter, 2295..., if they read the book, certainly didn't comprehend it. W/phase 2, automating jobs, offshoring being phase 1, production won't exist for humans!] [Update: It is now becoming obvious the fat cats are beginning to run scared: witness the spate of books, this one and another by Simon Head, and still others, claiming that their offshoring of jobs was insignificant, it was because of the computers, et cetera. Plus the Rockefeller family keeps hiring people to claim that they have no money left!] Back in 1978, at an international convention of engineers and computer scientists in Switzerland, the one conclusion which won unananimous approval was that automation would lead to job loss. This book is a repeat of that mundane conclusion, but the author spins more fiction, more dishonesty (Oh, he's at MIT - - that figures!) to support his pathetic and relatively obvious thesis. No, the author is wrong when stating that jobs offshoring had nothing to do with the growth in unemployment in America. Most definitely wrong! Yes, present and future automation will lead to fewer jobs in certain countries: they continue to offshore jobs, those jobs which would be created by the increase in automation are further done overseas, leading to exponential increases in automation. This is the way of a predatory capitalism as practised in the Corporate Fascist State, where the Rentier Class, or Global Elites or Transnational Capitalist Class, which is far wealthier thant Thomas Piketty's most limited research into INCOMES, not wealth generated from capital gains, will ever explain.


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