The robot in the Next Cubicle
Or: how to survive the AI uprising
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.