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Reviewed by Charles Remington for Readers' Favorite
Robonomics presents a compelling and somewhat worrying view of a near future where virtually all jobs, be they industrial, administrative or academic are performed by robots equipped with artificial intelligence (AI). The case is carefully argued, examining the various workplace areas individually and outlining in detail the way that mechanisation using robotics and AI will affect them. Author John Crews then goes on to give detailed information on the types of companies that will perform well in this new environment, and provides advice on the investment opportunities they will present. He also outlines the organisations that will do badly and which will present poor investment potential, along with advice on the holding of cash and commodity options. Detailed appendices and references are included to complete a fascinating and informative book.
The scenario that John Crews outlines in Robonomics is well presented, carefully argued, detailed and logical. It is easy to see that if anthropomorphic robots equipped with artificial intelligence were available to work twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, without complaint, not requiring meal breaks, holidays or health insurance, employers would be lining up to replace their existing work force with them. What I found difficult to accept was the blasé assumption that the existing workforce will meekly stand by while these changes take place, that governments and corporations would ensure that those left with no employment prospects at all (the majority of the population according to John Crews) would be provided for. It would seem to me that a population with no prospect of employment, no matter how well looked after, would present fertile ground for the world’s zealots and troublemakers. That having been said, Robonomics is an important work, scholarly and well presented. It deserves our attention as I have no doubt that the predicted mechanisation will take place. It is only the final outcome which may be in doubt.