From mechanical looms to combustion engines to early computers, 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. Drawing on almost a decade of research in the field, Susskind argues that machines no longer need to think or reason like us in order to outperform us, as was once widely believed. As a result, more and more tasks that used to be far 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.
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Date of Publication: 06/01/2020