Booze and Books: Rise of the Robots – Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future (Martin Ford)

By Elana Harari

The world is ending and robots are taking over!

Well, not quite. But also, not far off. The Rise of the Robots by Martin Ford is a fascinating look into what is happening now, and what is to come in the future, with the rise of automation and of the robots.

While it’s not all doom and gloom, this book does leads to a series of (potentially) unanswerable questions including – would you rather your doctor be a robot or a human?

Robot can’t be programmed ‘in the moment’ to think beyond its settings. There is no ‘real’ decision making (yet). What happens if a crisis occurs in surgery that the robot hasn’t been exposed to?

Doctor is having a bad day. Is running on four hours sleep. Had a fight with his or her partner. Had a bad experience in the past that has caused slight surgery performance issues.

So which one do you choose?

And if you are one of the many who say that before email we had the phone and before the phone we had letters, Ford addresses this too:

‘Yes, the horse-and-buggy industries disappeared, but they were replaced by the massive automobile industries. The new companies of the digital industry, however, are no General Motors. When, two years after its founding, YouTube was sold for $1.65 billion, it had a total of 65 employees. And he is unmoved by those who argue that technology may lower wages, but it also lowers prices, so it all comes out okay in the end. If you have no income, lower prices don’t matter.’ (Check out a speed review of the book here).

This book explores many of the industries that are affected by automation and, while it does take a rather negative view on the future, brings up some key questions as to what is next for business, and the worldwide community.

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