The authors argue that digitial technology (in which they embrace computers, networks, the internet, smartphones etc) is accelerating the pace of tehcnologocal advancement at an exponential rate because of the phenomenon of combinatory innovation. So my laptop may not feel radically different to me compared to the one I had three years ago but a combination of it and the internet made it possible for Audible to create a business selling cheap audiobooks. So I can plough through potentially challenging reads like this in a weekend before moving onto whatever I find useful or interesting next. This in turn not only enriches my leisure time but also helps me learn stuff I can put to use at work for career advancement. The downside of that trend is that a few years after, say, the digital camera is invented Kodak go bust and that's not just bad news for Kodak employees; it's part of a wider phenomenon in which well paid jobs for ordinary people disappear and they're not replaced because the internet based enterprises that replace them just don't employ that many people. Worse still while the overall level of cash in the economy (referred to here as the "bounty") might stay the same or even increase it gets shared out in increasingly inequitable ways (a phenomenon called "the spread"). What does it all mean, where will it end up and what can we do about it?
What I really liked about this book was the way the authors set out the issues, illustrate the impact they are already having, predict where it will go next and suggest what we should do about it at the level of public policy, education, planning our own careers and thiking about what to tell our kids (postgraduate qualifications may be the new degree). They identify the types of jobs that might be vulnerable (clerical, manufacturing and increasingly professional jobs requiring repetitive tasks fo areas of accountancy, law and medicine could be under threat) and those which look safer (problem solving or creative roles aided by computers or less well paid service jobs).
Recommended for anyone interested in the future of technology and work.