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A leader is a dealer in hope.Napoleon Bonaparte

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The Second Machine Age

The Second Machine Age

A clear and stimulating picture of the opportunities created by the digital revolution.

Author(s): Erik Brynjolfsson, Andrew McAfee

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

Date of publication: 2014

Buy this book [amazon.com]


This book, which attempts to popularize and offer a general introduction to the digital domain, is a perfect vehicle to become aware of the possibilities created by recent advances. It reveals to readers that the nature of the digital revolution shifted in 2005-2006, without us always realizing it.

Chapters 1 to 6 point out the limits that were surpassed and the fantastic acceleration that we are now experiencing. The examples and comparisons with just a few years back are truly striking! Our phone can answer our questions and even use humor! Driverless cars blend seamlessly into traffic in the San Francisco region. Machines can now generate and run predictive models.

Chapters 7 to 11 focus on the impact of the digital revolution on the economy and the world of work. Two major effects emerge. First, our current economic indicators fail to take account of a significant share of the growth generated by digital. For example, the value procured by free access to information or music is not captured. In addition, machines are taking over not only physicial activities, but, increasingly, intellectual ones as well. Is this an obvious threat to employment? Not necessarily, for the calculation power of machines requires human creativity. We should thus focus on finding the most relevant man-machine combinations.

In the last three chapters, the authors come up with recommendations for individuals as well as companies and public policies.

Unless you are already up to date on the digital revolution, you will make enriching discoveries as you read this book, and will probably want to move right into action!