The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies

The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies - Andrew McAfee, Erik Brynjolfsson Books like this one are easy to enjoy. They are topical, informative and tell their story fairly fast. The digital age with its exponential growth and co-relational development is leading us to an inflection point.

The authors steps the listener through the changes happening and demonstrates how the old metrics aren't always meaningful. Some of the digital changes such as Wikipedia (who buys encyclepedias today?) or Craig's List (who uses classifieds?) add immense value but they really don't show up in GDP, but yet add immense value to society. Predicting sunspot activities or automobile accidents can be determined better by individuals who aren't experts in the field as stated in this book. The second machine age is affecting change and the book presents many good examples.

They take their premise to the point where the machines (androids) will start to replace most of what we do now. The authors delve into the economics and what the ramifications will be. The authors give a bunch of prescriptions to solving some of the problems they perceive coming down the pike. This is where the book is weakest.

I thought Piketty's book "Capital in the Twenty-First Century" covered the economic ramifications of capitalism and Tim Wu's book "The Master Switch" covered changes that the digital explosion have brought better than this book did.

Maybe everything they are suggesting (mostly government intervention of some kind) is correct and should be done, but the authors make a mistake of getting ahead of the conversation. It's good to be right, but one doesn't want to be right to far ahead of everybody else because nobody will hear what you have to say, and that's a problem with the authors prescriptions, and that was the real reason they wrote this book.