The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies

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9780393350647: The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies

A New York Times Bestseller. A “fascinating” (Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times) look at how digital technology is transforming our work and our lives.

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 alters how we think about issues of technological, societal, and economic progress.

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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.

Review:

“Optimistic and intriguing.”
- Steven Pearlstein, The Washington Post

“Excellent.”
- Clive Crook, Bloomberg

“Fascinating.”
- Andrew Leonard, Salon

“My favorite book so far of 2014. Both hopeful...and realistic.”
- Joshua Kim, Inside Higher Education

“Maddeningly reasonable and readable.”
- Thomas Claburn, InformationWeek

“Offers important insights into how digital technologies are transforming our economy, a process that has only just begun.”
- Reid Hoffman, cofounder/chairman of LinkedIn and coauthor of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Start-up of You

“Brynjolfsson and McAfee are right: we are on the cusp of a dramatically different world brought on by technology. The Second Machine Age is the book for anyone who wants to thrive in it. I’ll encourage all of our entrepreneurs to read it, and hope their competitors don’t.”
- Marc Andreessen, cofounder of Netscape and Andreessen Horowitz

“Technology is overturning the world’s economies, and The Second Machine Age is the best explanation of this revolution yet written.”
- Kevin Kelly, senior maverick for Wired and author of What Technology Wants

“What globalization was to the economic debates of the late 20th century, technological change is to the early 21st century. Long after the financial crisis and great recession have receded, the issues raised in this important book will be central to our lives and our politics.”
- Lawrence H. Summers, Charles W. Eliot University Professor at Harvard University

“In this optimistic book Brynjolfsson and McAfee clearly explain the bounty that awaits us from intelligent machines. But they argue that creating the bounty depends on finding ways to race with the machine rather than racing against the machine. That means people like me need to build machines that are easy to master and use. Ultimately, those who embrace the new technologies will be the ones who benefit most.”
- Rodney Brooks, chairman and CTO of Rethink Robotics, Inc

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