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Human + Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI by Paul R. Daugherty, H. James Wilson

My Rating of “Human + Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI” by Paul R. Daugherty, H. James Wilson: 9 / 10

It has been a while since reading a technology related how-to book. I’ve read many tech entrepreneur biographies that have driven me to think and learn more about AI and the future role of our society. This was refreshing to read and one of my favourites this year so far. I finished this book thinking about the future in a different way.

Media today continually represents AI as the technology that will take over the world – much like the story of the Terminator Series. Yet Daugherty and Wilson tell a different story. This story illustrates how Humans and Machines will both work in a more adaptive way thereby increasing productivity and making the world a better place.

It was a great read and I learned a lot. The angle taken in this book is different to the others I’ve read. AI will continue to evolve, however, the human’s role in this evolution will not diminish; it will actually evolve as well. They coin the term “the missing middle” where the combination of humans and machines will solve many of the world’s future problems. The authors cite many organisations that are realising that AI is an incremental investment that shows value over time; subsequently improving the value of their people as well.

Three key takeaways from the book:

  1. There have been three waves in our world. The first driven by Henry Ford in standardising the process of manufacturing. The second wave driven by computers and technology. This sought to improve productivity by automating operations. The current and third wave is adaptive in which we will introduce more innovative ways of achieving business outcomes.
  2. Repetition, Replication, Redundancy. These are typically well outlined processes that when show up today will be ripe for change (notice I didn’t use the word disrupt).
  3. After spending many years in retail I’ve come to read many “x” commerce terms. A new one introduced in this book was zero-click commerce. This is the nature of devices like Amazon Echo which by 2016 having sold more than 5 million. Humans + Natural Language Processing + Machine Learning is the new normal!

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