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The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies MP3 CD – Audiobook, 20 Jan 2014

4.4 out of 5 stars 71 customer reviews

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MP3 CD, Audiobook, 20 Jan 2014
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Product details

  • MP3 CD
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio; MP3 Una edition (20 Jan. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1480577472
  • ISBN-13: 978-1480577473
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.3 x 17.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,415,355 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

"...set to be one of the zeitgeist works of 2014..."

--The Guardian

"...an ambitious, engaging and at times terrifying vision of where modern technology is taking the human race...The authors may not have the solution to growing inequality, but their book marks one of the most effective explanations yet for the origins of the gap."

--The Economist

"Brynjolfsson and McAfee started to lay out their vision of the challenges of the technological revolution more than three years ago. But their broadly optimistic book is still one of the best summaries of the debate about the impact of digital change on our future job prospects and prosperity."

--Andrew Hill, Best Books of 2014, Financial Times

"...a fascinating book..."

--Roger Bootle, The Telegraph

"Crammed with analyses of everything from human machine competition to the state of US education."

--Nature

"...fascinating book..."

--John Lanchester, London Review of Books

"...one of last year's most important books..."

--New Statesman

"...influential..."

--The Observer

"...it [The Second Machine Age] feels like a must-read for entrepreneurs, investors and policy makers."

--The Huffington Post

"My favourite and most revealing book of the year was not a novel but a non-fiction publication... a book that throws you off-balance while reading. Different to other publications, it is not only a real analysis and well-researched perspective, but also utterly optimistic."

--The Art Newspaper

"...brilliant new book."

--The Evening Standard --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

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 alters how we think about issues of technological, societal, and economic progress. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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This is an economists view of the effect of the latest digital technologies on the economy. They characterise the current revolution as a second machine age with the first being the application of steam power to industrial processes started by James Watt with a long consequent tail of dependent innovations that ran right through to the twentieth century changing society, work and economy. The analysis is a bit cumbersome. As engineers we are used to putting concepts from disparate areas and building something that was just not possible before. They look at the effect of the current technology revolution on work, income inequality and try to explain these changes. The most interesting sections for me were when they began to look at how human society might respond and how to educate the workers of the future so that they can work with machines rather than compete against them. This seems to encouraging Montessori style self-directed learning to encourage ideation, large frame pattern recognition and complex communication. They highlighted the failure of graduate education in this respect and this has made me look at my own teaching and assessment methods for future classes I give.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Chose this to learn more about the current world and the world we will start to see. It was very insightful and well structured. Concepts previously foreign to me were explained very succinctly and to the point. Had me engaged the whole way through.
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Arrived on time
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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, smoothly flowing, inviting, and well structured.

The focus of the book concerns our impressive technological progress and explains why the scale and pace of digital technologies is bound to accelerate in the future. The centrality of the book relates to the two economic consequences of this progress namely bounty and spread. Bounty is the increase in volume, variety, and quality and the decrease in cost of the many offerings brought by modern digital technologies. Spread, the negative and troubling aspect of this progress is increasing wealth inequality, progressive unemployment, and reduction in social mobility. Spread has been demonstrated to increase in recent years. It is destined to accelerate in the second machine age unless we intervene. The book stresses that the economic goals should be to maximize the bounty while mitigating the negative effects of the spread. The choices we make will determine the world we are going to live in.

In order to understand why digital technologies are presently unfolding we have to obtain an insight into the nature of technological progress in the era of digital hardware, software, and networks. Its three key characteristics are exponential, digital, and combinatorial.

Exponential growth eventually leads to staggeringly big numbers which defy our intuition and imagination. The critical building blocks of computing - microchip density, processing speed, storage capacity, energy efficiency, download speed etc. have been improving at exponential rates for a long time and they presently are at an inflection point.
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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. Management teams not being aware of the technology changes. We were wrong. They are very aware. They just don’t know what to do with it.

Awareness gap
That does not mean that the whole organisation is aware. There seems to be a massive gap between the awareness of the management team and the rest of staff. Which creates a lot of issues, particularly when you want your organisation to be fluid, agile and responsive.

Opportunity for SMEs
We do find that owner-managers of small companies are very unaware. In fact there is an element of head in the sand and hope it will go away. Which is a pity, because what small business have is agility and fluidity.

The books we use
Dependent on the angles we use a wide range of books. “What technology wants” is a classic. ‘Future files” is a classic. So is “Future minds”. “Future babble” which we use as the anti-book (you can’t predict the future) is a classic. I suspect “The future of the mind” (next on my reading list) will become a classic.

Speed of change
What we never seem to be getting across in our sessions, is the speed of change. Big companies actually think they have enough time to respond. They even get the need to disrupt their own business model. The just don’t get exponential part of change. And the need to react NOW. Which is why we introduced “The second machine age”.

We are on the second half of the chessboard.
Anyone that was taught chess has heard the story of the inventor of chess and the Persian king. He asked as a reward that, starting with one grain of rice, and it to be doubled every square.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After reading great futurist books like The Singularity is Near, Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think and The Human Race to the Future: What Could Happen - and What to Do I was expecting another eye-opening book on the technologies that will transform society in the coming decades. Instead, the book is merely a summary of a few selected technologies already mentioned in Abundance (like IBM's Watson supercomputer) or that anybody following tech news regularly would have read about countless times, like self-driving cars.

I was hoping for a book that explains more precisely how artificial intelligence, automations and robots will replace people in most jobs, and an in-depth analysis of what jobs will disappear soon and which ones will remain safe for the foreseeable future. I was looking forward to read about how the peer economy, 3-D printers and personal domestic robots will completely change the way we produce and consume. Unfortunately the book does not address any of these. The authors just explain, repetitively and in plain language, that machines will make consumer products cheaper while taking away people's jobs. But who doesn't already know that when it's been discussed countless times in the news?
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