Humans, Automation, and the Future of Work: A Reading List*

There has been a flood of books on this topic in the last year or two, so I decided to compile a list. I have read roughly a third of the books listed below (and hope to get through some of the others in due course.)

From what I have read (in these books and the general technogy/business media coverage over the last two years or so), the main arguments seem to broadly fall into one of three categories:

[1] We are all doomed, because there will be no work left for any of us in a few decades.


[2] There is nothing to worry about. New kinds of jobs (that we cannot even imagine today) will be created, and we will all be fine.


[3] Automation will eliminate only a small percentage of the jobs completely, but will impact aspects of our jobs to varying degrees. We will all need to carefully figure out how to adapt to the changing nature of our jobs.

(*Roughly arranged by the date of publication; latest at the top)

[1] The Future of the Professions: How Technology Will Transform the Work of Human Experts by Richard Susskind & Daniel Susskind

[2] Humans Need Not Apply: A Guide to Wealth and Work in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by Jerry Kaplan

[3] The Master Algorithm: How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake Our World by Pedro Domingos

[4] Machines of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robots by John Markoff

[5] Humans Are Underrated: What High Achievers Know That Brilliant Machines Never Will by Geoff Colvin

[6] Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future by Martin Ford

[7] Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Nick Bostrom

[8] The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies by Erik Brynjolfsson & Andrew McAfee

[9] Automate This: How Algorithms Took Over Our Markets, Our Jobs, and the World by Christopher Steiner

Note: This has also appeared as my Linkedin post on Nov 10, 2015:


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