Wednesday, December 27, 2017

A new book on how technology will transform the workplace (including lawyers)

During his "book of the week" segment this past Sunday on CNN, host Fareed Zakaria recommended a new work by MIT Professors  Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson called Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future which discusses how technology, including Artificial Intelligence, will transform many jobs from truck drivers to law firm associates. Mr. Zakaria interviewed both authors who posited a future less dire than some Terminator-like predictions in which technology and AI will undoubtedly replace some jobs but in other instances it will be used to do the scut work ordinarily done by humans who will then be freed-up to do other tasks that machines can't replicate. One example discussed during the segment is the use of technology to replace attorneys for discovery work whose jobs will shift to supervising the work of the machines in order to catch mistakes.  Mr. Zakaria's segment from last Sunday doesn't seem to be posted online yet so in the meantime, here's a link to Professor McAfee's and Brynjolfsson's new book.  The following is the publisher's description:

From the authors of the best-selling The Second Machine Age, a leader’s guide to success in a rapidly changing economy.


We live in strange times. A machine plays the strategy game Go better than any human; upstarts like Apple and Google destroy industry stalwarts such as Nokia; ideas from the crowd are repeatedly more innovative than corporate research labs.


MIT’s Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson know what it takes to master this digital-powered shift: we must rethink the integration of minds and machines, of products and platforms, and of the core and the crowd. In all three cases, the balance now favors the second element of the pair, with massive implications for how we run our companies and live our lives.


In the tradition of agenda-setting classics like Clay Christensen’s The Innovator’s Dilemma, McAfee and Brynjolfsson deliver both a penetrating analysis of a new world and a toolkit for thriving in it. For startups and established businesses, or for anyone interested in what the future holds, Machine, Platform, Crowd is essential reading.


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