Rise of Robots: Are We Headed Toward a Jobless Future?

What are the jobs of the future? How many will there be? And who will have them? In the award-winning book Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future  

Martin Ford argues that as technology continues to advance and machines increasingly tend themselves, fewer humans will be necessary to the modern workforce. And we’re not just talking about manufacturing jobs here. Artificial intelligence is currently making many “good jobs” obsolete: paralegals, journalists, office workers, and even computer programmers are next on the docket to be replaced by robots and software. As the trend continues, blue and white collar jobs alike will disappear, squeezing working- and middle-class families ever further.

As most readers know, these developments come at a time when life is already hard enough. Households are under assault from exploding living costs, especially from the two major industries—education and health care—that have not been transformed by information technology just yet.  The result could well be massive unemployment and inequality along with the implosion of the consumer economy itself.

Ford also goes on to punch holes in prevailing arguments that such cycles have been weathered – and ultimately overcome – before. The historical solutions to technological disruption, notably more training and education, won’t work in this case. Now is the fateful time to make decisions about the future: do we want broad-based prosperity, or calamitous levels of inequality and economic insecurity? Rise of the Robots is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand what the growth of technology means for our economic future—not to mention the prospects of our children—as well as for society as a whole.

The book has been greeted with an impressive number of prestigious awards and distinctions, including the following:

Winner of the 2015 FT & McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award
A New York Times Bestseller
Top Business Book of 2015 at Forbes
One of NBCNews.com “12 Notable Science and Technology Books of 2015”

The following book reviews give a snapshot of Ford’s work:

“For nonfiction, I tip my hat to Martin Ford’s Rise of the Robots, which is vacuuming up accolades and is recommended reading for IIF staff. Ford’s analysis, in a somewhat crowded field of similar books, offers a sobering assessment of how technology (robotics, machine learning, AI, etc.) is reshaping labor markets, the composition of growth, and the distribution of income and wealth, and calls for enlightened political and policy leadership to address coming, accelerating disruptions and dislocations.”
Bloomberg Business, Timothy Adams

““We are in an era of technological optimism but sociological pessimism. Martin Ford’s Rise of the Robots captures why these shifts are related and what challenges this might pose to our conventional economic and social infrastructures.”
Bloomberg Business, Andy Haldane
“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.”

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