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The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies [Audiobook] [MP3 CD]

Erik Brynjolfsson , Andrew McAfee , Jeff Cummings
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
RRP: 10.87
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Book Description

20 Jan 2014
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.
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Product details

  • MP3 CD
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio; MP3 Una edition (20 Jan 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1480577472
  • ISBN-13: 978-1480577473
  • Product Dimensions: 18.8 x 13.5 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 53,236 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Although a few others have tried, The Second Machine Age truly helped me see the world of tomorrow through exponential rather than arithmetic lenses. Macro and microscopic frontiers now seem plausible, meaning that learners and teachers alike are in a perpetual mode of catching up with what is possible. It frames a future that is genuinely exciting! --Clayton M. Christensen, Kim B. Clark Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School, and author of The Innovator s Dilemma --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Erik Brynjolfsson is the director of the MIT Center for Digital Business and one of the most cited scholars in information systems and economics. Andrew McAfee is a principal research scientist at the MIT Center for Digital Business and the author of Enterprise 2.0. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brief Summary and Review 10 Feb 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
*A full executive summary of this book is available at newbooksinbrief dot com.

The main argument: In the first machine age--otherwise known as the Industrial Revolution--we humans managed to build technologies that allowed us to overcome the limitations of muscle power like never before. The result, which has reverberated these past 200 years, has been an increase in economic productivity unprecedented in human history. And the corollary of this increase in productive power has been an increase in material standard of living and social development equally as unprecedented.

In the past 30 years, with the rise of computers and other digital technologies, we have moved from overcoming our physical limitations, to overcoming our mental ones. This is the second machine age. Though we are still at the dawn of the second machine age, it already shows at least as much promise in boosting productivity (and quality of life) as the first. Indeed, by various measures--including the standard ones of GDP and corporate profits--we can see that the past 30 years has witnessed an impressive steepening in productivity.

And this is just the beginning. For digital technology continues to advance at an exponential pace; more digital information is being produced (and kept) all the time (all of which has enormous economic potential); and new ways of combining existing (and new) ideas into newer and better ones are ever being found.

Still, what is equally apparent is that the benefits of this steepening in productivity have gone to the few, rather than the many.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but incomplete 5 Mar 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book updates and amplifies Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee’s 2012 ‘Race Against the Machine’, but basically conveys the same message and conclusions. Their first 4 chapters are racy and journalistic but somewhat superficial, making broad sweep claims with little justification, and taking several pages to explain the arithmetic power of exponential growth. Ironic that the text on automation includes the typo ‘The authors cite driving a vehicle in traffic as an example of such as task’  (page 18).

Chapter 5 takes us deeper, arguing convincingly that ICT (information and communication technology) is a general purpose technology, and that its combination with other technologies will overcome any apparent ‘productivity paradox’ of ICT slowing productivity growth. Productivity will continue to soar, driven by artificial intelligence and global interpersonal networking. They give lots of interesting examples. They correctly point out that GDP understates economic growth by ignoring the increased consumer surplus of technology driven price reductions, and the abundance of new digital service consumer value. They present the social cost of reduced wages and vastly increased inequality. Their policy recommendations are education, entrepreneurship, and a negative income tax.

They do admit that computers perform less well at tasks like pattern recognition, but dubiously they expect ever more from digitisation which is essentially ‘bottom up’, compared to ‘top down’ analogue human perceptions. Classic cases of this distinction are the human ability to distinguish one person’s face whether they are smiling or scowling, and computer difficulty to translate newspaper headline phrases like ‘Foot heads arms body’ or ‘Canadian left waffles on Falklands’.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Read 16 Feb 2014
By Charles TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book states that the greatest known event in human history was the industrial revolution, what the authors call the first machine age, where we learned to use mechanical power to overcome our physical limitations, they believe we are now at a the start of a another revolution, a second machine age where machines gain intelligence and will start to be able to perform mental tasks like driving cars or diagnosing illness, this will cause as massive a change in how we live as the industrial revolution.

Computers are great at following rules, but not so good at pattern recognition.
"For example, a person's credit score is a good general predictor of whether they'll pay back their mortgage as promised, as is the amount of the mortgage relative to the person's wealth, income, and other debts. So the decision about whether or not to give someone a mortgage can be effectively boiled down to a rule", and computers can handle this, but unfortunately certain things that involve more complex pattern recognition cannot be broken down in to simple rules, driving for example. But even here advances are been made, Google are developing a driverless car, it cannot handle complex city traffic (yet) but shows great promise.

Another problem with computer intelligence is Moravec's paradox, "the discovery by artificial intelligence and robotics researchers that, contrary to traditional assumptions, high-level reasoning requires very little computation , but low-level sensorimotor skills require enormous computational resources." this means that although computers might be great at complex high level stuff like maths they are lousy at sensorimotor skills like walking.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A question? why is everyone using the audio CD not reading the book as...
Why is the audio version getting so many listings. I am just reading the book my self. I like this books a interesting easy that complies current thinking. Highly recommend it.
Published 16 days ago by edward
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read
This is a great introduction and overview of the challenges faced by society as machines become increasingly important in our economy. Read more
Published 22 days ago by WillFromLondon
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding
Filled with examples and the deep and very broad implications of technological progress of the last few years, this book is simply outstanding.
Published 26 days ago by A. Whybrew
5.0 out of 5 stars Digital technologies at an inflection point: cornucopia but also...
The thesis of the book is simple but profound, the documentation impeccable with a wealth of data, statistics, graphs, and figures while the writing is clear, concise, informal,... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Serghiou Const
3.0 out of 5 stars ok
Ok, but not revolutionary. Lots of repetition from other books and not really too much to grab me unfortunately then
Published 1 month ago by Neil Procter
5.0 out of 5 stars Good purchase
Great prompt delivery, quick effective response to my queries that I had, book is descriptive and detailed and has an educational purpose towards the future development of... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mohamad Bheekhun
4.0 out of 5 stars Analysis a bit dumbed down
Content is good but could do with a bit more rigour in consistency of definition, eg on productivity and precise measure of GDP.
Published 1 month ago by F. Fishwick
2.0 out of 5 stars Platitudes and uninspired
The beginning of the book is promising.
However after two or three chapters it becomes boring and uninspired. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Florian Steininger
4.0 out of 5 stars The second half of the chessboard
The future……. We are on the second half of the chessboard.

Headache for clients
It is headache for our clients. For a while we thought it was awareness. Read more
Published 1 month ago by BookBuzz
5.0 out of 5 stars interactive in the best sense
Reading this book is not a passive experience. Instead, it constantly triggers ideas in the reader's mind, ideas that are extensions or variations or even contradictions of the... Read more
Published 1 month ago by R. Freeman
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