The ro­bot in the Next Cu­bi­cle

Or: how to sur­vive the AI up­ris­ing

How It Works - - GIFT GUIDE -

Au­thor: Larry Boyer

Pub­lisher: Prometheus Books Price: £15.99 / $19

Re­lease date: Out now

Techno fear. With the abil­i­ties of ro­bots de­vel­op­ing all the time, and with it the warn­ings of the po­ten­tial quan­daries that AI brings, it’s just one on our ever-grow­ing list of wor­ries, although many ap­par­ently don’t con­sider it to be a press­ing one. Af­ter all, ro­bots aren’t that ad­vanced yet, right?

Maybe not, but as part of the so-called ‘Fourth In­dus­trial Rev­o­lu­tion’, the prospect of com­pet­ing with ro­bots for a place in the work­place is look­ing like an ever more likely re­al­ity, and one we would be fool­ish not to re­act to. Rather than hav­ing us all be­come Lud­dites, how­ever, Larry Boyer of­fers a dif­fer­ent so­lu­tion, one that in­volves us mar­ket­ing our­selves apart from our po­ten­tial fu­ture ro­bot col­leagues and de­vel­op­ing skills that will al­low us to stay rel­e­vant in the work­place.

Start­ing off by look­ing at the pre­vi­ous three in­dus­trial rev­o­lu­tions, the prospect of what he sug­gests is likely to be­come a re­al­ity doesn’t ini­tially sound par­tic­u­larly wel­com­ing. While these events changed the face of the Earth and greatly im­proved qual­ity of life for many, their im­pact on those who lost their jobs as a re­sult was ini­tially cat­a­strophic, and we still haven’t got a han­dle on the en­vi­ron­men­tal dam­age cur­rently be­ing wreaked on the world.

As you might ex­pect, this kind of book is more en­joy­able to read as a the­ory rather than a gen­uine prac­ti­cal guide. Sec­tions on how the in­creased pres­ence of ro­bot­ics may im­pact ca­reer fields such as law and con­struc­tion are un­de­ni­ably in­ter­est­ing, but other sec­tions will be less use­ful to the ca­sual reader. Af­ter all, not ev­ery­one will pos­sess the skills and re­sources that are sug­gested as a means of get­ting around the ro­bot is­sue.

Still, there’s a lot of food for thought for those search­ing for some­thing ro­bot-re­lated to munch on. It per­haps shouldn’t be taken too se­ri­ously, but con­sid­er­ing it’s ti­tle, maybe it isn’t try­ing to be.

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