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The Technology Trap
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Argues that we can better understand the challenges provided by new technology and AI to the future of work by drawing on the lessons of the past.

About the Author

Carl Benedikt Frey is the Oxford Martin Citi Fellow and codirector of the Oxford Martin Programme on Technology and Employment at the Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford. He is also a senior fellow at the Institute for New Economic Thinking at Oxford and in the Department of Economic History at Lund University. Twitter @carlbfrey

Reviews

"Frey's observations and detailed historical analysis are useful for even those of us who cling to a more optimistic view of the long run."---Law & Liberty, Michael C. Munger
"[E]rudite and thoughtful, and the questions [
The Technology Trap
] raises are important and pertinent."---Joel Mokyr, Journal of Economic History
"[Frey] investigates the short, medium, and long-term consequences of the Industrial Revolution on workers, finding that in fact the changes had extraordinarily negative consequences in the short term. His lessons from this pivotal moment in history can help technology leaders avoid the biggest risks today in how we design human/AI systems in the coming age of automation." * TechCrunch *
"If you're an optimist about the robotic future, you likely hear talk that we're all going to lose our jobs or suffer a big pay cut, and tell friends to relax - the new technology revolution is going to turn out like all the others since the dawn of the Industrial Age. But if history is your best hope, you should probably think again: [
The Technology Trap
has] a strong case."---Steve Levine, Axios
"Magisterial."---Chris Gibbons, Acumen
"One of Epoca Negocios's Best Books of 2019"
"One of Five Books' Best Economics Books of 2019"
"I highly recommend [The Technology Trap]."---Randal C. Picker,
"Frey's analysis is worth taking seriously because the Oxford economic historian and economist has researched his subject deeply and has co-authored one of the most widely cited studies on automation . . . . Frey's story is well argued and - at times - deeply alarming about the stability of western democracies given he predicts the further concentration of wealth in a few hands and in even fewer locations"
---John Thornhill, Financial Times
"Frey explores automation and its consequences, taking the reader on a long sweep of UK and US industrial history that demonstrates the distinction between labour-enabling and labour-replacing technologies. . . As arguably the most comprehensive account of automation to date, this book deserves to be read widely"---Liam Kennedy, London School of Economics Review of Books
"There is little reason to doubt the contemporary relevance of Frey's analysis into the consequences of automation on the labour market, and the broader socio-political implications of those technological changes which are highly anticipated to reshape our working lives and economic existence as we know it. The voluminous public commentary about technology, and public protests against the ramifications of technology change (such as taxi drivers decrying peer-to-peer ride-sharing services which rely on smartphone apps), serve as sufficient warrant to pay attention to Frey's contribution."---Mikayla Novak, Economic Record
"Excellently written, full of examples and studies I hadn't previously encountered, and I learned a lot."---Tim Harford,
"It's clear The Technology Trap has plenty to teach us, and should automatically be on the reading list of any serious policy maker or politician."
---Ben Ramanauskas, Cap X
"The Technology Trap
may well ensnare doom-seekers' attention with its ominous-sounding title. But it should ultimately hearten anyone who reads it." * The Economist *
"Narrator Richard Lyddon performs an almost impossible feat-making a very theoretical audiobook sound absorbable in a truly entertaining way . . . . Cheers to both Frey and Lyddon, a pairing that listeners may wish to hear again." * AudioFile Magazine *
"As [Frey] points out in his new book The Technology Trap, for all that the robots may make the world more local, they may have other painful side-effects, putting millions of people out of work and sparking an almighty backlash."---Ed Conway, The Times
"[
The Technology Trap] is a reminder that the future of work depends on policy choices. It is well worth reading."---Ravi Venkatesan, Book Review Literacy Trust
"One of Project Syndicate Commentators' Best Reads in 2019"
"An excellent analysis of past industrial revolutions, the technologies that emerged within them, and the way societies adapted to those changes."---Adi Gaskell, Forbes
"One of the Financial Times' Best Books of 2019: Technology"
"Frey offers a refreshingly human-centered analysis of technological progress."---Oscar Schwartz, Stanford Social Innovation Review
"
The Technology Trap
is the perfect book for higher ed people to read . . . . deeply researched and [convincingly] argued."---Joshua Kim, Inside Higher Education
"I have been lost in [
The Technology Trap
] for the last 10 days."---John Harris, The Guardian
"Excellent."---Masood Ahmed, CGD Policy Blog
"12 must-read books for 2019 as recommended by Tech Crunch's Extra Crunch readers"
"One of Handelsblatt's Best Technology Books of 2019"
"One of Frey's most salient points is that our attitudes and actions toward technology can play a pivotal role in how it impacts us. A lot of stock has been put into Frey and Osborne's prediction of 47 percent automation. But if Frey's book gets even half the attention the paper got, it should serve to quell some of our fears around a bleak machine-dominated future."---Vanessa Bates Ramirez, Singularity Hub
"[
The Technology Trap
] offers a fascinating history of technology's effects on employment from the Industrial Revolution to today and attempts to tackle how we might avoid a repeat of past social ills, as the Computer Revolution sweeps away a majority of human jobs."---Robert Elliott Smith, Medium
"A . . . danger is that Luddite efforts to avoid the short-term costs associated with a new technology will end up denying access to its long-term benefits-something Carl Benedikt Frey, an Oxford academic, calls a 'technology trap'." * The Economist *
"[A] historical odyssey."---Jane Humphries and Benjamin Schneider, Project Syndicate
"Anybody interested in the economic impact of digital and AI, in particular on jobs, will want to read [
The Technology Trap
]."---Diane Coyle, Enlightened Economist
"One of the Financial Times' Summer Books of 2019: Business"
"An extremely useful history of the effect of technology on jobs and income inequality."---John Judis, The National Interest
"[Frey] takes a provocative, original long view on current concerns, examining the fallout from past technological advances . . . to mass production and artificial intelligence."---Andrew Hill, Financial Times, Summer Books of 2019
"In his bracing new book The Technology Trap, Carl Frey extrapolates from the history of the industrial revolution to offer a vision of the future in which Amazon Go, AI assistants and autonomous vehicles are 'worker replacement' technologies."---Greg Williams, Wired
"Anybody interested in the economic impact of digital and AI, in particular on jobs, will want to read Carl Frey's new book."---Diane Coyle, Enlightened Economist
"A fascinating history of technical change."---Chris Dillow, Stumbling and Mumbling
"University of Chicago 2019 Recommended Reading"
"Carl Benedikt Frey has written an important and timely book . . . . A great deal of effort, thought, and scholarship went into its writing, and it shows. There is much food for thought here and I can envision this assigned in upper division economics classes as well as some graduate courses."---Alexander Field, EH.net

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