Interesting popular science books on the employment effects of automation/digitalization

I enjoyed the following popular science books on the effects of automation and digitalization and learned a lot from them. Although some of them are already a few years old, the economic effects and some potential remedies are described very well:


  • Martin Ford (2015): Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future
  • Eric Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee (2014): The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies
  • Tyler Cowen (2013): Average Is Over: Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation
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    The first describes some of the problems related to the distributional effects of automation/digitalization very well, the second is fascinating in the description of what some new technologies will bring in terms of prosperity, and the last one deals with potential strategies to cope with the ever more intense direct competition by (smart) machines.

    @Klaus I am currently reading Machine, Crowd, Platform by Brynjolfsson and McAfee! I agree that it has been fascinating to see the where technology is taking us. Thanks for sharing more recommendations!

    @BryanNamba Great! This one is still on my to do list but I am looking forward to reading it. Thank you!

    I agree: all three are great, even though they are somewhat dated. I think even the Second Machine Age has some outdated statements. That’s what happens when the future is moving so quickly forward.

    Personally, I liked Kai-Fu Lee’s book from 2018 - “AI Superpowers”. A very refreshing view from a person who truly understands the pace in which technology advances today.

    Yes, I fully agree. I am writing a textbook on automation/AI and their macroeconomic effects and even during the time of production/typesetting, things change so quickly that one needs to rewrite whole sections and add many additional references that were published in the meantuime (just within a few months).

    That sounds exciting, @Klaus . If you want people to help review the text and the ideas in it, this forum may be the right place!

    Thank you for the suggestion, @Roey! I will check with the publisher what I can distribute. Apart from a discussion of the data and the empirical literature on automation/digitalization, the ideas explored in the book are related to (and extend) some peer-revied articles that I published on automation/AI:

    The first is open access but the other two not. There are working paper versions of the latter two articles, though, that I could post/send.