Rise of the Robots Technology and the threat of mass unemployment
If a 'robot' could do your job quicker than you and better than you for no pay, would you still be employed? Today it's travel agents, data-analyst and paralegals whose jobs are under threat. Soon it will be doctors, taxi-drivers and, ironically, even computer programmers. Without a radical reassessment of our economic and political structures, we risk the implosion of the capitalist economy itself. In a frightening tour of artificial intelligence's rapid advances, technology expert Martin Ford draws on a wealth of economic data from both the US and the UK to outline the terrifying societal implications of the robots' rise. From health and education to finance and technology, his warning is stark: any job that is on some level routine is likely to be automated and if we are to see a future of prosperity rather than catastrophe we must act now.
Winner of Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award 2015.
'Well researched and disturbingly persuasive.' Financial Times 'Everyone concerned with the future of work must read this book.' -- Lord Robert Skidelsky, Emeritus Professor of Political Economy at the University of Warwick "[The Rise of the Robots is] about as scary as the title suggests. It's not science fiction, but rather a vision (almost) of economic Armageddon." -- Frank Bruni, New York Times "A fascinating journey into the near future world of unemployment. Ford issues a stark warning that automation in the form of robotics is moving beyond the menial jobs to put the rest of us out of work. Read it now before it is too late." -- Noel Sharkey, Emeritus Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, University of Sheffield "As Martin Ford documents in Rise of the Robots, the job-eating maw of technology now threatens even the nimblest and most expensively educated...the human consequences of robotization are already upon us, and skillfully chronicled here." New York Times Book Review "Compelling and well-written... In his conception, the answer is a combination of short-term policies and longer-term initiatives, one of which is a radical idea that may gain some purchase among gloomier techno-profits: a guaranteed income for all citizens. If that stirs up controversy, that's the point. The book is both lucid and bold, and certainly a starting point for robust debate about the future of all workers in an age of advancing robotics and looming artificial intelligence systems." ZDNet "In Rise of the Robots, Ford coolly and clearly considers what work is under threat from automation." New Scientist "Speaks with special credibility, insight, and verve. Business people, policy makers, and professionals of all sorts should read this book right away-before the 'bots steal their jobs." -- Kenneth Cukier, Data Editor for the Economist "An alarming new book." Esquire "Ford offers ideas on changes in social policies, including guaranteed income, to keep our economy humming and prepare ourselves for a more automated future." Booklist "If the robots are coming for my job (too), then Martin Ford is the person I want on my side, not to fend them off but to construct a better world where we can all-humans and our machines-live more prosperously together. Rise of the Robots goes far beyond the usual fear-mongering punditry to suggest an action plan for a better future." -- Cathy N. Davidson, Distinguished Professor and Director, The Futures Initiative, The Graduate Center, CUNY and author of Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn "Martin Ford's Rise of the Robots is a very important, timely, and well-informed book. Smart machines, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, and the 'Internet of things' are transforming every sector of the economy. Machines can outperform workers in a rapidly widening arc of activities. Will smart machines lead to a world of plenty, leisure, health care, and education for all; or to a world of inequality, mass unemployment, and a war between the haves and have-nots, and between the machines and the workers left behind? Ford doesn't claim to have all of the answers, but he asks the right questions and offers a highly informed and panoramic view of the debate. This is an excellent book that offers us a sophisticated glimpse into our possible futures." -- Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute, Columbia University and author of The Age of Sustainable Development "A careful and courageous examination of automation and its possible impact on society." Kirkus Reviews "Of all the moderns who have written on automation and rising joblessness, Martin Ford is the original. The Rise of the Robots is self-recommending." Marginal Revolution "It's not easy to accept, but it's true. Education and hard work will no longer guarantee success for huge numbers of people as technology advances. The time for denial is over. Now it's time to consider solutions and there are very few proposals on the table. Rise of the Robots presents one idea, the basic income model, with clarity and force. No one who cares about the future of human dignity can afford to skip this book." -- Jaron Lanier, author of You Are Not a Gadget and Who Owns the Future?
Martin Ford, the founder of a Silicon Valley-based software development firm, has over twenty-five years of experience in computer design and software development. He was the first modern writer to raise the issue of technology-led unemployment. He lives in Sunnyvale, California and tweets at @MFordFuture.