Original Proposal - The Impending Adverse Impact Of New Technology on Employment and Income Inequality – Sep 9th

Our focus will be The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee ($16.03 + shipping or $12.99 Kindle from Amazon.com -- 320 pages).

Erik Brynjolfsson is the director of the MIT Center for Digital Business and one of the most cited scholars in information systems and economics. Andrew McAfee is a principal research scientist at the MIT Center for Digital Business and the author of Enterprise 2.0.

Excerpts from the Washington Post book review of The Second Machine Age --

“Now come two professors from MIT with a more optimistic and intriguing hypothesis -- namely, that the global economy is on the cusp of a dramatic growth spurt driven by smart machines that finally take full advantage of advances in computer processing, artificial intelligence, networked communication and the digitization of just about everything.

“The big winners in this new era will be consumers, who will be able to buy a wider range of higher-quality goods and services at lower prices. The other winners will be those who create and finance the new machines or figure out how best to use them to gain competitive advantage. Great wealth will be created in the process.

“In the first machine age -- the age of Kodak (which employed 145,000 people) -- productivity, employment and median income all rose in tandem. In the second, the growth in productivity has essentially been decoupled from jobs and income. And this divergence has its roots not in labor law or tax codes, Brynjolfsson and McAfee argue, but in the very nature of the digital economy, in which a set of goods and services can be provided to an infinite number of additional customers, all at the same time, at a cost that is often close to zero.”
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