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"The arrival of machine intelligence is also the arrival of a different kind of automation which spells the end of paid work for many or most people." ---Calum Chace
A concise, mostly accessible introduction to this topic that occasionally veers into dry text, or jargon-laden vocabulary (I almost gave up while reading sections in Chapter 3, but I'm so glad I didn't!) A bleak, frightening look into a likely future that is on the horizon. What happens when automation becomes so sophisticated (and cheaper, faster, and better) that it eliminates or fundamentally changes most of the jobs normally reserved for humans? We're not talking about low-level, physically repetitive jobs (these have already become automated: manufacturing, agriculture, some banking transactions), but all jobs throughout our society: lawyers, accounting, architects, journalists, doctors and nurses, financial consultants, teachers, TV presenters, bankers, psychiatrists, political speechwriters, etc., etc. It is not a question of if, but when, this will happen, and how quickly. Can society adapt on this scale by inventing new jobs to replace all the ones that are lost to technology? (the author is somewhat pessimistic on this score) Will the 1% that owns the A.I. help in "sharing the wealth?" (have they ever?) Will our society become a small elite of of tech gods, with the rest of us labeled as useless dead weight, struggling to eke out an impoverished existence without jobs or salaries?
To be fair, the author goes out of his way to present both sides of this issue, from "don't worry; be happy. Humans are adaptable during times of changing technologies" to "The Robots are coming! The Robots are coming!" He sites experts who claim we will live in a utopia (no work!) to ones who see a dystopian future (no money!). He does not argue that these trends toward mass automation will not come to pass; he wonders how humanity will cope/won't cope with this transition----and when: now or when the crisis is upon us.
I received a free copy of this audiobook from AudiobookBoom in exchange for an unbiased review. No robots were directly involved in the writing of this review.
First they came for the fast food workers, and I did not speak out - because I was not a fast food worker;
Then they came for the teachers, and I did not speak out - because I was not a teacher;
Then they came for the accountants, and I did not speak out - because I was not an accountant;
Then they came for the doctors, and I did not speak out - because I was not a doctor;
Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak out for me.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?
This piece of work was more focused than his previous work. This book was more practical and pointed then the other book; maybe it was because the discussed items directly impact me. It is more directed at economics and AI whereas the previous book was covering a broader set of material.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
The narrator is a bit hard work at times, slightly robotic but he does at least seem interested in the topic. The text is a bit hard going for an audio book and I did have to hit the rewind button a lot as I my mind ran off and tried to really come to terms with what I was hearing but there's some good stuff hear and it's worth it for those interested.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Would you listen to The Economic Singularity again? Why?
Quite likely, becuase of the details and nuances Chace considers within his scenarios and the neat way he summarises the positions of other writers in this field.
What was one of the most memorable moments of The Economic Singularity?
The pleasant realisation that this author would NOT duck the big question. We have heard enough from authors retelling the coming singularity message in different ways. The frustration is that so few have had the nerve to examine the ways in which societal choices and scenarios might actually have to play out. Bravo to Chace.
Which character – as performed by Joe Hempel – was your favourite?
This is non-fiction work. Hemel does a perfectly serviceable and clear oration job. However this is one example of a book that might have been better voiced by its author. Alternatively a British English accented voice actor should have been chosen. There are times when the many UK example references the author makes and a few of the quirks of British English jar with the American accent. No criticism of Hempel here - it is the publisher's choice.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
Chace gets as close as anyone to realising there might have to be a new paradigm shift to something beyond capitalism as we know it. I found myself almost willing him to reach for it and he says himself he's getting close. Despite his general intellectual bravery in examining the various social and political scenarios - he didn't get there.
Any additional comments?
A fantastic book. A genuine must read for anyone who needs to explore long term (20 - 30 year) scenarios for business planning or government policy.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
This is an important book to read if you are really wanting to know what is going to happen in the future. Easy to listen to. Engaging and well thought out!
A well researched and presented assessment of our economic future. a must read for those with an interest in navigating the complexities of the information age and anticipating our future.