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A World Without Work: Technology, Automation and How We Should Respond

Daniel Susskind

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Allen Lane
21 January 2020
Social forecasting, future studies; Sociology: work & labour; Business & Economics; Impact of science & technology on society; Artificial intelligence; Abbey's Double Rewards; Advocate - Economics & Business
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From the spinning jenny to the combustion engine to the first computer, new technologies have always led workers to panic about being replaced by machines, and yet these fears have always been misplaced. In the past, new technology has always complemented the work of humans. In A World Without Work, award-winning economist Daniel Susskind shows why this time, with the rise of artificial intelligence, it will be different. The threat is real, but we haven't been asking the right questions about exactly what is at stake.

Drawing on almost a decade of research into this topic, Susskind argues that a realistic vision of the future is not one in which machines do everything, but rather in which they do more. As they slowly, but relentlessly, take on more and more tasks, human beings will be forced to retreat to the shrinking set of activities that machines cannot do. And, as we move through the 21st century, the demand for the work of humans is likely to wither away. Yet Susskind reminds us that this technological progress will solve one of mankind's oldest problems - how to make the economic pie large enough for everyone to live on. The challenge now is to properly share out this new economic prosperity, constrain the burgeoning political power of Big Tech, and provide meaning in a world with less work.

A World Without Work is an innovative, authoritative and optimistic guide to how we can rise to the challenge of automation. The task ahead, Susskind shows us, is to build a world where everyone can flourish.
By:   Daniel Susskind
Imprint:   Allen Lane
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 240mm,  Width: 162mm,  Spine: 32mm
Weight:   555g
ISBN:   9780241321096
ISBN 10:   0241321093
Pages:   352
Publication Date:   21 January 2020
Audience:   College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  General/trade ,  Primary ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Daniel Susskind is an economist and writer. His first book, The Future of the Professions (2015), co-authored with Richard Susskind, was a Financial Times 'Book of the Year', a Times Literary Supplement 'Book of 2016', and a New Scientist 'Best Read of 2015'. Daniel is a Fellow in Economics at Balliol College, Oxford, where he teaches and researches, and an independent adviser to professional firms and national governments.

Reviews for A World Without Work: Technology, Automation and How We Should Respond

Susskind's economic perspective makes the conundrum crystal clear, and he makes a convincing and illuminating argument to decelerate the onset of global automation anxiety. A complex yet lucid and surprisingly optimistic account from the frontlines of technology addressing the challenges facing the human workforce. * Kirkus Reviews * Eloquent and humane, A World Without Work moves the debate beyond the illusion that technology always creates more jobs than it destroys and provocatively explores the role of work in human life and what to do when that role evaporates. -- Stuart Russell, author of 'Human Compatible' and Professor of Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley A fascinating book about a vitally important topic - and he writes with such elegance that you don't even notice how much you're learning. Elegant, original and compelling. -- Tim Harford, author of 'Fifty Things That Made The Modern Economy' and 'The Undercover Economist' This is the book to read on the future of work in the age of artificial intelligence. It is thoughtful and state-of-the-art on the economics of the issue, but its real strength is the way it goes beyond just the economics. A truly important contribution that deserves widespread consideration. -- Lawrence Summers, former Chief Economist of the World Bank, Treasury Secretary for the Clinton Administration and Director of the National Economic Council for the Obama Administration Daniel Susskind has written an important book on an equally important topic: the future of work in an economy driven by the advances in artificial intelligence. His conclusion is that ultimately there will be less work, or at least less paid work. This will shake the foundations of our economy and our society. Our institutions will have to be transformed. It will be a daunting challenge. We have to start thinking hard about it now. -- Martin Wolf * Chief Economics Commentator, 'The Financial Times' * A superb and sophisticated contribution to the debate over work in the age of artificial intelligence. Susskind approaches the debate with a great command of the evidence and with excellent judgment. He takes on all of the major debates: whether new jobs will replace those that disappear, how the income distribution will be affected, and how individuals are likely to allocate their time in the future between work, leisure, study, and other activities. Never glib, consistently wise and well-informed, this is the book to read to understand how digital technologies and artificial intelligence in particular are reshaping the economy and labor market, and how we will live alongside increasingly smart machines. -- Jeffrey D. Sachs, Professor of Economics at Columbia University, Director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network


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