Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future by Andrew McAfeeIn The Second Machine Age, Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson predicted some of the far-reaching effects of digital technologies on our lives and businesses. Now they’ve written a guide to help readers make the most of our collective future. Machine | Platform | Crowd outlines the opportunities and challenges inherent in the science fiction technologies that have come to life in recent years, like self-driving cars and 3D printers, online platforms for renting outfits and scheduling workouts, or crowd-sourced medical research and financial instruments.
Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future, by Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson
Two experts from MIT analyse the business implications of our digital future. The book was a balanced portrait of how new digital technologies were poised to improve society, even as they increased unemployment and depressed wages. Mr McAfee and Mr Brynjolfsson believe that the latest phase of computers and the internet have created three shifts in how work happens. The first is artificial intelligence AI : a move from man to machine. But that model is breaking down as computers improve and take more control. Digital technologies used to be applied to information—first numbers and text, and, later, music and video. Now, the digital technologies are invading the physical world.
They wrote this book as a continuation of their previous book the second machine age which they wrote back in and was widely successful. Their previous book focused more on what changes will technology bring to our society in the years to come while Machine Platform Crowd focuses more on the economic impact of our current technology in the future. As the title suggests this book covers mainly three different technologies; Machine, Platform, and the crowd. In the section about machines, the authors focus on how better decisions can be made with more automation. This is because humans have what is called common sense which has been proven to be extremely difficult to replicate by machines. In this chapters, the authors also mention examples where machines have progressed beyond what humans had thought possible. For example, they mentioned when a computer was able to beat the current Go champion.
Andrew McAfee is principal research scientist at MIT where he studies how digital technologies are changing businesses, economies and societies. He and Erik Brynjolfsson are the coauthors of the New York Times bestseller The Second Machine Age and Race Against the Machine.
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Ask not what technology will do to you, Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson say, ask what you can do with technology. Rather than making humans redundant, technology gives us an unprecedented opportunity to shape our future.
Book of the week: Apps are taking us places, fast — but do we always want to go? John Gilbey considers the value of rapidly changing tech. In I was standing at a bus stop in Sunnyvale, California — deep in the core of Silicon Valley — when the guy next to me in the queue began waving his phone around in a studiedly conspicuous manner. Intrigued, I made eye contact and my new friend showed me the wonderful, dazzling tricks that his smartphone a no-name development model in a generic case could perform. It seems rudimentary now, but my first experience of augmented reality was startling, and by the following year it was available by default to anyone, anywhere, who bought or leased a new smartphone. Such is the speed of development in these emergent technologies that it is refreshing to take a step back and a look at some of the ways in which our lives and careers are changing — and will continue to change — at a fundamental level.