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The Robots Are Coming!

The Future of Jobs in the Age of Automation
Narrated by: Henry Levya
Length: 12 hrs and 45 mins
5 out of 5 stars (12 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Staying true to his trademark journalistic approach, Andrés Oppenheimer takes his listeners on yet another journey, this time across the globe, in a thought-provoking search to understand what the future holds for today's jobs in the foreseeable age of automation.

The Robots Are Coming! centers around the issue of jobs and their future in the context of rapid automation and the growth of online products and services. As two of Oppenheimer's interviewees - both experts in technology and economics from Oxford University - indicate, 47 percent of existing jobs are at risk of becoming automated or rendered obsolete by other technological changes in the next 20 years. Oppenheimer examines current changes in several fields, including the food business, legal work, banking, and medicine, speaking with experts in the field and citing articles and literature on automation in various areas of the workforce. He contrasts the perspectives of "techno-optimists" with those of "techno-negativists" and generally attempts to find a middle ground between an alarmist vision of the future and one that is too uncritical. A self-described "cautious optimist", Oppenheimer believes that technology will not create massive unemployment but rather will drastically change what work looks like.

©2019 Andres Oppenheimer (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"A must read for those who fear their jobs may be threatened by robots or A.I., The Robots Are Coming! presents a realistic picture of the fantastic opportunities for those who start preparing themselves now!" (Peter H. Diamandis, executive founder of Singularity University, founder and executive chairman of the XPRIZE Foundation and author of Abundance and Bold)

"If you want to understand the future of jobs, read The Robots Are Coming! The detailed and brilliant reportage of Andres Oppenheimer provides an eye-opening account of the brave new world of work that awaits us. It’s not just truck drivers and retail clerks who are at risk, professionals like lawyers, doctors and high-tech engineers, all of them really, need to get ready for what’s coming." (Richard Florida, author of The Rise of the Creative Class

"This is by far the best book on the topic. Rather than sensationalizing or downplaying the coming technological changes, Andres has articulated them in a way that almost anyone can understand. And he provides a very sensible guide to the jobs of the future." (Vivek Wadhwa, distinguished fellow and adjunct professor at Carnegie Mellon's School of Engineering at Silicon Valley) 

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The Jetsons Age is Coming

Forget the zombie apocalypse: the real upheaval, according to Andres Oppenheimer, will be the transition from manual labor of all kinds to the mechanical, computerized workforce. In ages past, such societal transformations have always gone on. The difference today, and in the next few decades, is the swiftness of the change. Schools must adapt from rote learning to "soft skills" (I despise that term) training, and every productive person must become a lifelong learner with an entrepreneurial mindset. In other words, the worklife is fixin' to become a constant hustle.

The author contends that there will be a short-term disaster as many workers, regardless of diploma or degree, will be made redundant, resulting in large numbers of unemployable people and therefore a socially volatile situation. However, this will be followed by an age of freedom from the grind and the greater ability to pursue one's dreams, foundationally sustained by universal basic income. I don't entirely disagree, but I wonder how many will remain in the community of consumers, and who will be relegated to serfdom.