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'A path-breaking, thought-provoking and in-depth study of how new technology will transform the world of work' Gordon Brown
'Compelling ... Thought-provoking ... Should be required reading for any presidential candidate thinking about the economy of the future' NEW YORK TIMES
New technologies have always provoked panic about workers being replaced by machines. In the past, such fears have been misplaced, and many economists maintain that they remain so today. Yet in A World Without Work, Daniel Susskind shows why this time really is different. Advances in artificial intelligence mean that all kinds of jobs are increasingly at risk.
Susskind argues that machines no longer need to reason like us in order to outperform us. Increasingly, tasks that used to be beyond the capability of computers - from diagnosing illnesses to drafting legal contracts - are now within their reach. The threat of technological unemployment is real.
So how can we all thrive in a world with less work? Susskind reminds us that technological progress could bring about unprecedented prosperity, solving one of mankind's oldest problems: making sure that everyone has enough to live on. The challenge will be to distribute this prosperity fairly, constrain the burgeoning power of Big Tech, and provide meaning in a world where work is no longer the centre of our lives. In this visionary, pragmatic and ultimately hopeful book, Susskind shows us the way.
"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' Lawrence Summers, former Chief Economist of the World Bank
'A fascinating book about a vitally important topic. Elegant, original and compelling'Tim Harford, author of The Undercover Economist
A thorough and sobering look at automation and the depreciation of human labor arrives from Oxford economics fellow Susskind (The Future of the Professions, coauthor). It turns on an important question: will there be enough work to employ people throughout the 21st century? Sorry but no, Susskind concludes; machines can't do everything, but they can do much more than they're doing currently, and will inevitably displace many more workers. He isn't in despair, however, as he has some possible remedies in mind. Before dispensing them, he briskly covers the rise of artificial intelligence, the social problems raised by economic inequality, and the efficacy of education for protecting economically insecure workers, which he finds more limited than optimists would have people think. Susskind then posits what he believes are more effective long-term responses, including increased government intervention into the free market, targeted tax incentives for employers, and strengthened regulation aimed at changing the behavior of big technology companies. This dense but lively investigation is not for the reader who wants an easy dinner-party answer, but the curious worrier or the skeptic who wants to understand the theory behind the machines will want to take a look.