knowledge worker

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pages: 347 words: 97,721

Only Humans Need Apply: Winners and Losers in the Age of Smart Machines by Thomas H. Davenport, Julia Kirby

AI winter, Andy Kessler, artificial general intelligence, asset allocation, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, business intelligence, business process, call centre, carbon-based life, Clayton Christensen, clockwork universe, commoditize, conceptual framework, dark matter, David Brooks, deliberate practice, deskilling, digital map, disruptive innovation, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, estate planning, fixed income, follow your passion, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Freestyle chess, game design, general-purpose programming language, global pandemic, Google Glasses, Hans Lippershey, haute cuisine, income inequality, index fund, industrial robot, information retrieval, intermodal, Internet of things, inventory management, Isaac Newton, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joi Ito, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, lifelogging, longitudinal study, loss aversion, Mark Zuckerberg, Narrative Science, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, nuclear winter, pattern recognition, performance metric, Peter Thiel, precariat, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rodney Brooks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Skype, social intelligence, speech recognition, spinning jenny, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, superintelligent machines, supply-chain management, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Works Progress Administration, Zipcar

This time the potential victims are not tellers and tollbooth collectors, much less farmers and factory workers, but rather all those “knowledge workers” who assumed they were immune from job displacement by machines. People like the writers and readers of this book. Knowledge Workers’ Jobs Are at Risk The management consulting firm McKinsey thinks a lot about knowledge workers; they make up essentially 100 percent of its own ranks as well as its clientele. When its research arm, the McKinsey Global Institute, issued a report on the disruptive technologies that would most “transform life, business, and the global economy” in the next decade, it included the automation of knowledge work. Having studied typical job compositions in seven categories of knowledge workers (professionals, managers, engineers, scientists, teachers, analysts, and administrative support staff), McKinsey predicts dramatic change will have already taken hold by 2025.

The bottom line: “we estimate that knowledge work automation tools and systems could take on tasks that would be equal to the output of 110 million to 140 million full-time equivalents (FTEs).”3 Since we’ll continue to use the term “knowledge workers” quite a bit, we should pause to define who these people are. In Tom’s 2005 book, Thinking for a Living, he described them as workers “whose primary tasks involve the manipulation of knowledge and information.”4 Under that definition, they represent a quarter to a half of all workers in advanced economies (depending on the country, the definition, and the statistics you prefer), and they “pull the plow of economic progress,” as Tom put it then. Within large companies, he explained, the knowledge workers are the ones sparking innovation and growth. They invent new products and services, design marketing programs, and create strategies. But knowledge workers don’t only work in corporate offices. They include all the highly educated and certified people who make up the professions: doctors, lawyers, scientists, professors, accountants, and more.

As newer, more intelligent systems come along, we could imagine that they might eliminate or substantially reduce human performance of tasks. They might finally lead to that fifteen-hour workweek. But our belief is that they will—and should—follow the path blazed by spreadsheets. Instead of replacing knowledge workers, they should give them more to think about. Some decisions and actions may be taken by automated systems, but that should free up knowledge workers to accomplish larger and more important tasks. Of course, there is a downside to working as much as knowledge workers tend to (particularly in the United States) today. But there is perhaps an even greater downside to not working enough or at all. The price we have to pay for thinking expansively about work is never having enough time to do it all. The Augmentation Cuts Both Ways In a recent paper examining the effect of computers on labor, David Autor, an economist at MIT, suggests that very little human toil these days is utterly unaffected by smart machines: “The fact that a task cannot be computerized does not imply that computerization has no effect on that task.


pages: 166 words: 53,103

Slack: Getting Past Burnout, Busywork, and the Myth of Total Efficiency by Tom Demarco

Brownian motion, delayed gratification, Frederick Winslow Taylor, interchangeable parts, knowledge worker, new economy, risk tolerance, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, Yogi Berra

The complete task-switching penalty is thus seen to include all of these components: Task-Switching Penalty Quantified So far, all I’ve done is list the components of a task-switching penalty. Let me now try to quantify their aggregate effect. In my experience, there is never less than a 15 percent penalty due to time-sharing a knowledge worker between two or more tasks. Moving a person who had been assigned to a single job to work part-time on a second exposes you to a loss of at least six hours per week of that person’s time. And the penalty is greater when the partitioning is greater. I limit this statement to knowledge workers, since manual and blue-collar workers may not be affected, or may be less affected, by some of the components of the task-switching penalty. For knowledge workers, though, the minimum penalty is 15 percent. The only method I have used so far to substantiate the 15 percent minimum penalty is a time-honored approach called proof by repeated assertion.

But the people who work for you aren’t galley slaves. They are knowledge workers. I am about to reveal to you an astounding fact about knowledge workers and how they are different from galley slaves. The second you digest this fact, you will find it difficult to remember that you didn’t always know it was true. You will persuade yourself that you always knew it. (But if you always knew it, you might wonder why you have been prone to use pressure the way you have.) The astounding fact comes from my friend and colleague Tim Lister. “People under time pressure don’t think faster.” —Tim Lister Think rate is fixed. No matter what you do, no matter how hard you try, you can’t pick up the pace of thinking. Lister’s astounding fact tells us that the galley slave model is entirely wrong for knowledge workers. Since they can’t alter the rate of mental discriminations (basic elements of knowledge work) per second, their potential to respond to pressure is severely limited.

Part Three Change, growth, and organizational learning: The difference between companies that can learn (and profit from their learning), and those that can’t. Part Four Risk taking and risk management: Why running away from risk is a no-win strategy, and why running toward it makes sense when managed sensibly (and what that entails). Slack is directed toward management at all levels in knowledge organizations and other modern corporations where knowledge workers predominate. It is also directed to the knowledge workers themselves. It’s directed toward you if you sense that there is something terribly wrong in the infernal busyness of the modern workplace, if you know in your heart that the slack that has been squeezed out of your organizations over the last ten years now has to be reintroduced, or no further meaningful progress will ever be possible. The fact that you’ve decided to read this book says that you are busy.


Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport

8-hour work day, Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, business climate, Cal Newport, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Clayton Christensen, David Brooks, David Heinemeier Hansson, deliberate practice, disruptive innovation, Donald Knuth, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, experimental subject, follow your passion, Frank Gehry, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Jaron Lanier, knowledge worker, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Merlin Mann, Nate Silver, new economy, Nicholas Carr, popular electronics, remote working, Richard Feynman, Ruby on Rails, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, statistical model, the medium is the message, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web application, winner-take-all economy, zero-sum game

The ubiquity of deep work among influential individuals is important to emphasize because it stands in sharp contrast to the behavior of most modern knowledge workers—a group that’s rapidly forgetting the value of going deep. The reason knowledge workers are losing their familiarity with deep work is well established: network tools. This is a broad category that captures communication services like e-mail and SMS, social media networks like Twitter and Facebook, and the shiny tangle of infotainment sites like BuzzFeed and Reddit. In aggregate, the rise of these tools, combined with ubiquitous access to them through smartphones and networked office computers, has fragmented most knowledge workers’ attention into slivers. A 2012 McKinsey study found that the average knowledge worker now spends more than 60 percent of the workweek engaged in electronic communication and Internet searching, with close to 30 percent of a worker’s time dedicated to reading and answering e-mail alone.

In Taylor’s era, productivity was unambiguous: widgets created per unit of time. It seems that in today’s business landscape, many knowledge workers, bereft of other ideas, are turning toward this old definition of productivity in trying to solidify their value in the otherwise bewildering landscape of their professional lives. (David Allen, for example, even uses the specific phrase “cranking widgets” to describe a productive work flow.) Knowledge workers, I’m arguing, are tending toward increasingly visible busyness because they lack a better way to demonstrate their value. Let’s give this tendency a name. Busyness as Proxy for Productivity: In the absence of clear indicators of what it means to be productive and valuable in their jobs, many knowledge workers turn back toward an industrial indicator of productivity: doing lots of stuff in a visible manner.

A 2012 McKinsey study found that the average knowledge worker now spends more than 60 percent of the workweek engaged in electronic communication and Internet searching, with close to 30 percent of a worker’s time dedicated to reading and answering e-mail alone. This state of fragmented attention cannot accommodate deep work, which requires long periods of uninterrupted thinking. At the same time, however, modern knowledge workers are not loafing. In fact, they report that they are as busy as ever. What explains the discrepancy? A lot can be explained by another type of effort, which provides a counterpart to the idea of deep work: Shallow Work: Noncognitively demanding, logistical-style tasks, often performed while distracted. These efforts tend to not create much new value in the world and are easy to replicate. In an age of network tools, in other words, knowledge workers increasingly replace deep work with the shallow alternative—constantly sending and receiving e-mail messages like human network routers, with frequent breaks for quick hits of distraction.


pages: 209 words: 80,086

The Global Auction: The Broken Promises of Education, Jobs, and Incomes by Phillip Brown, Hugh Lauder, David Ashton

active measures, affirmative action, barriers to entry, Branko Milanovic, BRICs, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, collective bargaining, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, deskilling, disruptive innovation, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, future of work, glass ceiling, global supply chain, immigration reform, income inequality, industrial cluster, industrial robot, intangible asset, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, market bubble, market design, neoliberal agenda, new economy, Paul Samuelson, pensions crisis, post-industrial society, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, QWERTY keyboard, race to the bottom, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, shared worldview, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, trade liberalization, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, winner-take-all economy, working poor, zero-sum game

In this new age of human capital, the prosperity of individuals, companies, and nations would rest on the skills, knowledge, and enterprise of all rather than the few that drove industrialization in the twentieth century. Smokestack industries had given way to California’s Silicon Valley and Route 128 in Boston. Working-class occupations were in decline as a larger share of the workforce joined the burgeoning ranks of knowledge workers. Peter Drucker, a leading management guru, wrote of another power shift from the owners and managers of capital to knowledge workers, as the prosperity of individuals, companies, and nations came to depend on the application of knowledge. Knowledge workers were gaining the upper hand because “the firm’s most valuable knowledge capital tends to reside in the brains of its key workers, and ownership of people went out with the abolition of slavery.”10 This required a new approach to management within a dynamic global environment.

See mass production mechatronics, 101, 174n27 knowledge economy, 15, 20, 25, 79 knowledge transfer, 70 knowledge wars, 19–23, 28, 30–36, 32, 38, mental revolution, 71 meritocracy, 9, 18, 133–36, 146, 182n3, 187n31 40–41, 43–48, 59, 123, 150–51, 158–59, 164, 168n3. See also knowledge workers; knowledge-driven economy knowledge workers, 6, 8–9, 18–19, 66, 68, 72–76, 80–82, 84, 96, 99, 104, 108, 110–12, 123, 126–27, 137–38, 147–48, Mexico, 35 MG Rover, 42 Michaels, Ed, 85–86, 93, 176n8 micromanagement, 74 middle class as agrarian peasants, 182n48 153, 159, 180n17. See also knowledge wars; knowledge-driven economy knowledge-driven economy, 2, 4–5, 23–27, 37, 65–68, 85, 96, 155, 173n9. See also knowledge wars; knowledge workers 194 labor arbitrage, 97, 99, 106–7, 111, 159 Index Brazil, 182n43 China, 2, 130 corporate profits, 110 downward mobility, 138 emerging economies, 130–31 erosion of benefits, 121–22 financial crash of 2008, 6 global, 128–29, 130, 131 Nike, 102 global poverty, 182n43 globalization, 47–48 growth of, 18 income inequalities, 9, 118–19, 120 income stagnation, 5 Obama, Barack, 3, 23, 27, 147 OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), 31, 35, 91, 109, 149, 168n2 office management, 72, 127 India, 2, 30, 34, 130 Italy, 130, 182n43 mechanical Taylorism, 81 offshoring, 109, 152 offshoring, 8, 46, 51–52, 55–56, 60, 73, 75, 77–78, 90–93, 99, 107–11, 119, 129, 152, 170–71n2, 180n17 Ohmae, Kenichi, 104–5 opportunity bargain, 132 opportunity gap, 141 opportunity bargain American Dream, 27, 132 oasis operations, 64 opportunity trap, 143 politics of more, 186n16 positional conflict, 134 bidding wars, 183–84n22 corporate profits, 124 credentials, 184–85n2 prosperity, 2 purchasing power parity (PPP), 129, 131 development of, 4–6 digital Taylorism, 65, 155 quality-cost revolution, 59 salaries, 118–19, 120 soft currencies, 140–41 economy of hope, 148–49, 164 education and, 4–6, 27–28 and the global auction, 132 war for talent, 84, 91, 96–97 Mills, C.

There is a recognition that low-cost countries are developing their own knowledge workers capable of achieving global standards that were previously assumed to be out of reach by anyone other than Western workers. Thomas Friedman’s account of the “flattening” of the world economy has been widely debated. He sees little reason to worry about America’s middle classes being embroiled in a global race to the bottom because he focused on the race to the top. The knowledge wars are, he believes, forcing Americans to raise their game in the competition for the best and most innovative ideas, leading him to conclude, America, as a whole, will do fine in a flat world with free trade— provided it continues to churn out knowledge workers who are able 22 The Global Auction to produce idea-based goods that can be sold globally and who are able to fill the knowledge jobs that will be created as we not only expand the global economy but connect all the knowledge pools in the world.


pages: 314 words: 94,600

Business Metadata: Capturing Enterprise Knowledge by William H. Inmon, Bonnie K. O'Neil, Lowell Fryman

affirmative action, bioinformatics, business cycle, business intelligence, business process, call centre, carbon-based life, continuous integration, corporate governance, create, read, update, delete, database schema, en.wikipedia.org, informal economy, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, semantic web, The Wisdom of Crowds, web application

However, the frantic problem of being late still looms, and we dash out the door, desperately trying to redeem the time by driving fast so we can make up some time, minimizing our lateness without getting into an accident. Sound familiar? We have all had experiences like this. Is this the same type of experience that people would have if they were unable to find information to do their jobs? 4.4.1.1 Information and “Knowledge Workers” Peter Drucker first created the term “knowledge worker” in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The economy of the twenty-first century is an information economy, and most workers today are knowledge workers who produce abstract work products consisting mainly of information, not tangible items like cars or pencils. Therefore, the know-how of the knowledge worker is not necessarily knowledge of everything, but knowing where to find it. Samuel Johnson, who compiled the first English dictionary in the 1700s, said: 66 Chapter 4 Business Metadata, Communication, and Search Figure 4.4 Searching for a Needle in a Haystack.

Feldman backs up her statistics by noting that others have found similar results, notably: ✦ Ford Motor Company ✦ Working council of Chief Information Officers (CIOs) ✦ Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM) ✦ Reuters ✦ Kit Sims Taylor Here are some attempts to quantify the cost impact of failed search in the enterprise. 4.4.2.1 Attempts to Quantify Search Impact Feldman identifies three types of costs that can be quantified: ✦ Employee time wasted ✦ Duplicating/reworking information ✦ Opportunity cost On the positive side, Feldman and Seybold identify two areas in which increased search capacity has a positive impact: ✦ Decrease in call center volume ✦ Increase in sales (conversion rates and shopping basket size—e-commerce) Each of these areas is summarized below. 4.4 Communications and Search 4.4.2.2 69 Baseline Assumptions The IDC study begins with the following baseline assumptions: ✦ Each employee costs the enterprise $80,000, which includes salary plus benefits. ✦ The average knowledge worker spends 2.5 hours/day (30%) searching for information. ✦ The enterprise employs 1000 knowledge workers. ✦ 50% of information is not centrally indexed (housed in silos as on someone’s notebook computer or a database). ✦ 50% of Web searches fail/are abandoned. 4.4.2.3 Employee Time Wasted Based on these assumptions, Feldman calculated that the enterprise wastes $48,000 per week, or almost $2.5 million a year in searches. This number is an estimate only; she did not factor in employee vacations. 4.4.2.4 Duplicating/Reworking Information Knowledge workers inadvertently re-create information because they can’t access the original work products. IDC calls this a “knowledge deficit.”

Therefore, although “data quality” is a common term used in the discipline of data management, this chapter will hereafter refer to “information quality.” Here is IAIDQ’s definition of information quality (three separate definitions are given, one having two components): Information quality: (1) Consistently meeting all knowledge worker and end-customer expectations in all quality characteristics of the information products and services required to accomplish the enterprise mission (internal knowledge worker) or personal objectives (end customer). (2) The degree to which information consistently meets the requirements and expectations of all knowledge workers who require it to perform their processes. (Larry English, noted data and information quality expert and author) Information Quality: The fitness for use of information; information that meets the requirements of its authors, users, and administrators.


pages: 261 words: 10,785

The Lights in the Tunnel by Martin Ford

"Robert Solow", Albert Einstein, Bill Joy: nanobots, Black-Scholes formula, business cycle, call centre, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, creative destruction, credit crunch, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, factory automation, full employment, income inequality, index card, industrial robot, inventory management, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, mass immigration, Mitch Kapor, moral hazard, pattern recognition, prediction markets, Productivity paradox, Ray Kurzweil, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, Stephen Hawking, strong AI, technological singularity, Thomas L Friedman, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, War on Poverty

In other words, someone with a software job could eventually be replaced by a computer similar to the one that currently sits on his or her desk. There is no need for robotic arms or, in fact, any moving parts at all. Another, more common, term for people with software jobs is, of course, knowledge worker. Software jobs are also highly subject to offshoring. The conventional wisdom used to be that becoming a knowledge worker represented the best path to a prosperous future. The advent of offshoring has increasingly called this proposition into question. Today, offshoring is impacting knowledge workers across the board. Jobs in fields such as radiology, accounting, tax preparation, graphic design, and especially all types of information technology are already being shipped to India and to other countries. This trend will only grow, and as I have pointed out previously, where offshoring appears, automation is often likely to eventually follow.

The average radiologist in the United States makes over $300,000. In fact, we can reasonably say that software jobs (or knowledge worker jobs) are typically high paying jobs. This creates a very strong incentive for businesses to offshore and, when possible, automate these jobs. Another point we can make is that there is really no relationship between how much training is required for a human being, and how difficult it is to automate the job. To become a lawyer or a radiologist requires both college and graduate degrees, but this will not hold off automation. It is a relatively simple matter to program accumulated knowledge into an algorithm or enter it into a database. For knowledge workers, there is really a double dose of bad news. Not only are their jobs potentially easier to automate than other job types because no investment in mechanical equipment is required; but also, the financial incentive for getting rid of the job is significantly higher.

Not only are their jobs potentially easier to automate than other job types because no investment in mechanical equipment is required; but also, the financial incentive for getting rid of the job is significantly higher. As a result, we can expect that, in the future, automation will fall heavily on knowledge workers and in particular on highly paid workers. In cases where technology is not yet sufficient to automate the job, offshoring is likely to be pursued as a interim solution. Given this reality, it may be that the simulation we performed in Chapter 1 was actually somewhat conservative. Look back at the table listing traditional jobs. Very few of these people are knowledge workers. In our simulation, we assumed that automation would fall evenly on some significant percentage of the average lights in the tunnel. We now see, however, that automation may, in fact, arrive in a relatively “top heavy” pattern.


pages: 460 words: 131,579

Masters of Management: How the Business Gurus and Their Ideas Have Changed the World—for Better and for Worse by Adrian Wooldridge

affirmative action, barriers to entry, Black Swan, blood diamonds, borderless world, business climate, business cycle, business intelligence, business process, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, Exxon Valdez, financial deregulation, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, George Gilder, global supply chain, industrial cluster, intangible asset, job satisfaction, job-hopping, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Just-in-time delivery, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, lake wobegon effect, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, means of production, Menlo Park, mobile money, Naomi Klein, Netflix Prize, Network effects, new economy, Nick Leeson, Norman Macrae, patent troll, Ponzi scheme, popular capitalism, post-industrial society, profit motive, purchasing power parity, Ralph Nader, recommendation engine, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, science of happiness, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, supply-chain management, technoutopianism, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Davenport, Tony Hsieh, too big to fail, wealth creators, women in the workforce, young professional, Zipcar

Drucker did not confine himself to the question of how managers and governments ought to handle these new knowledge workers. He spent much of his career looking at how the knowledge workers themselves could come to terms with this new world in which they were neither workers nor bosses. Knowledge workers have much more freedom than old-fashioned workers because they control the most important productive asset of modern society: their brainpower. Brainworkers are free, or, in the jargon that Drucker did not invent but unfortunately helped to legitimize, “empowered” to shape their own careers, hopping from firm to firm in pursuit of the highest salary or the most interesting job. But freedom could be destabilizing as well as liberating: knowledge workers needed more training and different pension arrangements, for example. Drucker knew whereof he spoke: an itinerant Mittel-European who had dabbled in banking and journalism and always remained ambivalent about America’s hyperspecialized academic system, he was an archetypical knowledge worker.

Drucker’s enthusiasm for empowerment was reinforced by his belief that the old industrial proletariat was being replaced by knowledge workers. He believed that the advanced world was moving from “an economy of goods” to “a knowledge economy,” and that management was changing as a result: managers needed to learn how to engage the minds, rather than simply control the hands, of their workers. This softer approach was a direct challenge to Taylor’s stopwatch theories and their fans in business. But the idea of a “knowledge worker” (a term that Drucker coined in 1959) also posed questions for politicians. It suggested that rather than defending dying industries against cheaper, less “knowledgeable” workers abroad, governments should concentrate on improving the country’s stock of knowledge, but otherwise keep well out of the way.

Drucker knew whereof he spoke: an itinerant Mittel-European who had dabbled in banking and journalism and always remained ambivalent about America’s hyperspecialized academic system, he was an archetypical knowledge worker. But he was a knowledge worker with a growing number of acolytes in the real world. The younger Henry Ford took The Concept of the Corporation as his text when he tried to rebuild his company after the war. As Drucker himself has boasted, the book “had an immediate impact on American business, on public service institutions, on government agencies—and none at all on General Motors.” (If a GM manager was found with a copy of the book, Drucker noted, his career was over.) Institutions as diverse as Michigan University and the Archdiocese of New York have used the book to restructure themselves.


pages: 463 words: 115,103

Head, Hand, Heart: Why Intelligence Is Over-Rewarded, Manual Workers Matter, and Caregivers Deserve More Respect by David Goodhart

active measures, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, assortative mating, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, big-box store, Boris Johnson, Branko Milanovic, British Empire, call centre, Cass Sunstein, central bank independence, centre right, computer age, corporate social responsibility, COVID-19, Covid-19, David Attenborough, David Brooks, deglobalization, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, desegregation, deskilling, different worldview, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Etonian, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Flynn Effect, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, gender pay gap, gig economy, glass ceiling, illegal immigration, income inequality, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labour market flexibility, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, new economy, Nicholas Carr, oil shock, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, pink-collar, post-industrial society, post-materialism, postindustrial economy, precariat, reshoring, Richard Florida, Scientific racism, Skype, social intelligence, spinning jenny, Steven Pinker, superintelligent machines, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Thorstein Veblen, twin studies, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, upwardly mobile, wages for housework, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce, young professional

Clearly some of the value of Teach First has been in attracting more able young people with top degrees back into teaching, but wherever it has been tried it has usually been accompanied by other changes, such as breaking the monopoly of teacher training in education faculties and generally disrupting groupthink in public service professions. A concluding observation: the knowledge worker is increasingly a female worker. The rise and rise of the knowledge worker in the last three decades is also, in part, about the rise and rise of the female professional. Women in the United Kingdom have not only caught up with but overtaken men in jobs that require higher education. In 1997, 28 percent of men and 23 percent of women were in such jobs. In 2017 it was 36 percent for men and 40 percent for women.47 Universities, law schools, and medical schools are now at least 50 percent female, and although few women are CEOs of top companies, roughly half of the jobs in the top managerial and professional class are now taken by women.48 The top end of the labor market has been almost completely gender desegregated, but the middle and bottom end remains highly segregated, with women overwhelmingly concentrated in caring sectors like primary education, nursing, and social care.

In fact, human leisure, recreation, and ritual are almost all Hand and Heart based, though with significant aspects of Head too. Artisanal skills are also being rediscovered in some corners of the economy, especially in food and drink production, often by affluent young professionals. Indeed, a shift away from Head and toward Hand and Heart seems to be programmed into many of the biggest social and economic trends: in the knowledge economy’s declining appetite for all but the most able knowledge workers; the growing concern for place and environmental protection, including more labor-intensive organic farming; and the inevitable expansion of care functions of various kinds in an aging society. These are trends that are likely to be reinforced by the Covid-19 crisis, which revealed that most of the “key workers” who support our daily lives were Hand and Heart workers, mainly people without university degrees.

There is one very big fact that modern politics will need to confront in the next decade. Political parties of both the center-left and center-right have taken as axiomatic that modern society will see a continuing expansion of secure, middle-class, professional graduate jobs. Both education and social mobility policy are based on this assumption. Yet it is almost certainly wrong. The knowledge economy does not need an ever-growing supply of knowledge workers. (See Chapter Nine.) It still needs a top layer of the cognitively most able and original, but much of the work required of middle ranking professionals is already substantially routinized, a kind of digital Taylorism. The American economist Paul Krugman spotted this back in 1996. Writing for the New York Times but imagining himself looking back from one hundred years in the future, he saw that manipulating information was going to lose its value: “The long-ago prophets of the information age seem to have forgotten basic economics… A world awash in information is one in which information has very little market value.


Bootstrapping: Douglas Engelbart, Coevolution, and the Origins of Personal Computing (Writing Science) by Thierry Bardini

Apple II, augmented reality, Bill Duvall, conceptual framework, Donald Davies, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, experimental subject, Grace Hopper, hiring and firing, hypertext link, index card, information retrieval, invention of hypertext, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Rulifson, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Leonard Kleinrock, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Norman Mailer, packet switching, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, Silicon Valley, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, stochastic process, Ted Nelson, the medium is the message, theory of mind, Turing test, unbiased observer, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog

One way Engelbart sought to exert influence over "the human side" was by developing what he called "the augmented knowledge workshop," "the place in which knowledge workers do their work" (Engelbart, Watson, and Norton 1973, 9). This application of the bootstrapping principle was used between 1965 and 1968 to add another dimension to the ARC lab's conceptualization of the virtual user. Engelbart believed that the activity of the knowledge worker actually in- volves "core" processes that for the most part are not themselves highly spe- cialized: "a record of how this person used his time, even if his work was highly specialized, would show that specialized work . . . while vital to his ef- fectiveness, probably occupied a small fraction of his time and effort" (ibid., 10). If so, that meant knowledge workers didn't have to be isolated from each other, segregated by the specific demands of the software necessary to their individual tasks.

If so, that meant knowledge workers didn't have to be isolated from each other, segregated by the specific demands of the software necessary to their individual tasks. Instead, they could use a common interface and be connected into a network that would link the user with other users. Envisioning the user as a knowledge worker and conceptualizing the knowledge worker in this par- ticular way allowed Engelbart to begin to see a way in which one central aspect of his crusade could be realized. Instead of the artificial intelligence project's aim of creating a cybernetic "colleague" who would supplement an individual user's creativity, Engelbart could begin to develop ways that computers could allow users to share and shape knowledge intersubjectively and collectively. The technological manifestation of this conception of the virtual user was ARC's oN-Line System, NLS. If software development could be allowed to proceed like natural evolution, by means of "semi-random growth," the result would be several problems that the coevolution of software along with the virtual user as a knowledge worker in an augmented knowledge workshop would solve in advance: (I) Repetitive solutions for the same functional problems, each with the skewed perspective of a particular special applications area for which these problems are peripheral issues, (2) Incompatibility between different application software systems In terms of their inputs and outputs, (3) Language and other control conventions inconsistent or based on different principles from one system to another, creating unnecessary learning barriers or other discouragements to cross usage.

If software development could be allowed to proceed like natural evolution, by means of "semi-random growth," the result would be several problems that the coevolution of software along with the virtual user as a knowledge worker in an augmented knowledge workshop would solve in advance: (I) Repetitive solutions for the same functional problems, each with the skewed perspective of a particular special applications area for which these problems are peripheral issues, (2) Incompatibility between different application software systems In terms of their inputs and outputs, (3) Language and other control conventions inconsistent or based on different principles from one system to another, creating unnecessary learning barriers or other discouragements to cross usage. (Ibid., IO-I I) InventIng the VIrtual User I 17 The conception of the virtual user as a knowledge worker who shares core processes with others in an augmented intelligence workshop allowed a "co- ordinated set of user interfaces principles" to be introduced in the develop- ment of NLS.


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Insanely Great: The Life and Times of Macintosh, the Computer That Changed Everything by Steven Levy

Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, computer age, conceptual framework, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Howard Rheingold, HyperCard, information retrieval, information trail, John Markoff, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Marshall McLuhan, Mitch Kapor, Mother of all demos, Productivity paradox, QWERTY keyboard, rolodex, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Ted Nelson, the medium is the message, Vannevar Bush

In 1973, enchanted by the ideas of economist Peter Drucker, he coauthored a paper called "The Augmented Knowledge Workshop," which was based on the idea, formulated by Drucker, that information was destined to be the fulcrum of the economy. "By 1960," wrote Engelbart, "the largest single group [of Americans] was professional, managerial, and technical-that is knowledge workers. By 1975-1980 this group will embrace the majority of Americans." It was these knowledge workers who would sit in the cybercockpits of the Engelbart augmentation scheme: as he termed it, "the office of the future." Knowledge workers. The office of the future. These twO catch phrases would later be appropriated by the marketers charged with selling the Macintosh. But Engelbart's bosses at SRI weren't concerned with marketing his product. They tolerated him, as long as he was funded. And then he lost his funding.

But now we were on the cusp of the Macintosh era, he'd say, where computers are no longer "an end to themselves, but a means to an end." A tool, an appliance. ''A computer for the rest of us." Now, the bulk of people-those who would drive the curve up to the mountain peak, and ring the curve-shaped bell-would be computer customers. These, he would say, echoing Doug Engelbarr's prediction of a decade before, were the knowledge workers-the target market for the Mac. "Our definition of knowledge worker is someone who sits behind a desk and plans to take information and crunch it with ideas," he'd say. Then he would mention the philosophical dream: "The philosophical dream is How can we do something that will improve people's lives?" Murray would pause and confide that, "You don't find that in any other computer company." And then Mike Murray would look at you.

Poor Barbara Koalkin had to pry me away from the machine in order to give her canned spiel, which was sort of an overture before the opera, introducing themes I would hear developed with great intensity later on in the performance. I don't recall a word of it, really, but my notebook shows that I was dutifully jotting down key phrases, like "designed to be low-cost personal computer," "personal productivity tool for knowledge workers," and "we want everybody in the world using Mac software." Anyway, I was dazzled, a feeling that would only accelerate as the day went on. Each person I met was a young wizard bubbling with enthusiasm-I could almost feel electricity crackling as they told me their stones. Jerry Manock, the industrial designer who had literally molded the Apple II and now the Macintosh. Mac would change the world, he said.


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The New Urban Crisis: How Our Cities Are Increasing Inequality, Deepening Segregation, and Failing the Middle Class?and What We Can Do About It by Richard Florida

affirmative action, Airbnb, basic income, Bernie Sanders, blue-collar work, business climate, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, clean water, Columbine, congestion charging, creative destruction, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, declining real wages, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, East Village, edge city, Edward Glaeser, failed state, Ferguson, Missouri, Gini coefficient, Google bus, high net worth, income inequality, income per capita, industrial cluster, informal economy, Jane Jacobs, jitney, Kitchen Debate, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, land value tax, low skilled workers, Lyft, megacity, Menlo Park, mortgage tax deduction, Nate Silver, New Economic Geography, new economy, New Urbanism, occupational segregation, Paul Graham, plutocrats, Plutocrats, RAND corporation, rent control, rent-seeking, Richard Florida, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, superstar cities, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the High Line, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, trickle-down economics, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, upwardly mobile, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, white flight, young professional

Boston had not offered Lycos any tax breaks or other bribes; in fact, the costs of doing business in Boston, from rents to salaries, were much higher than in Pittsburgh. Lycos was moving because the talent it needed was already in Boston. The key to urban success, I argued in my 2002 book, The Rise of the Creative Class, was to attract and retain talent, not just to draw in companies. The knowledge workers, techies, and artists and other cultural creatives who made up the creative class were locating in places that had lots of high-paying jobs—or a thick labor market; lots of other people to meet and date—what I called a thick mating market; and a vibrant quality of place, with great restaurants and cafés, a music scene, and lots of other things to do.2 By the turn of the twenty-first century, the ranks of the creative class had grown to some 40 million members, a third of the US workforce.

My research ultimately brought me face to face with the troubling reality of our new geography. Both the conventional wisdom and economic research tell us that people do better economically in large, dense, knowledge-based cities where they earn higher wages and salaries. But when a colleague and I looked into how the members of each of the three different classes fared after paying for housing, we uncovered a startling and disturbing pattern: The advantaged knowledge workers, professionals, and media and cultural workers who made up the creative class were doing fine; their wages were not only higher in big, dense, high-tech metros, but they made more than enough to cover the costs of more expensive housing in these places. But the members of the two less advantaged classes—blue-collar workers and service workers—were sinking further behind; they actually ended up worse off in large, expensive cities and metro areas after paying for their housing.4 The implications were deeply disturbing to me.

In these places, mere gentrification has escalated into what some have called “plutocratization.”6 Some of their most vibrant, innovative urban neighborhoods are turning into deadened trophy districts, where the global super-rich park their money in high-end housing investments as opposed to places in which to live. It’s not just musicians, artists, and creatives who are being pushed out: growing numbers of economically advantaged knowledge workers are seeing their money eaten up by high housing prices in these cities, and they have started to fear that their own children will never be able to afford the price of entry in them. But it is the blue-collar and service workers, along with the poor and disadvantaged, who face the direst economic consequences. These groups are being driven out of the superstar cities, and they are being denied the economic opportunities, the services and amenities, and the upward mobility these places have to offer.


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So Good They Can't Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love by Cal Newport

Apple II, bounce rate, business cycle, Byte Shop, Cal Newport, capital controls, cleantech, Community Supported Agriculture, deliberate practice, financial independence, follow your passion, Frank Gehry, information asymmetry, job satisfaction, job-hopping, knowledge worker, Mason jar, medical residency, new economy, passive income, Paul Terrell, popular electronics, renewable energy credits, Results Only Work Environment, Richard Bolles, Richard Feynman, rolodex, Sand Hill Road, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, web application, winner-take-all economy

Put another way, if you just show up and work hard, you’ll soon hit a performance plateau beyond which you fail to get any better. This is what happened to me with my guitar playing, to the chess players who stuck to tournament play, and to most knowledge workers who simply put in the hours: We all hit plateaus. When I first encountered the work of Ericsson and Charness, this insight startled me. It told me that in most types of work—that is, work that doesn’t have a clear training philosophy—most people are stuck. This generates an exciting implication. Let’s assume you’re a knowledge worker, which is a field without a clear training philosophy. If you can figure out how to integrate deliberate practice into your own life, you have the possibility of blowing past your peers in your value, as you’ll likely be alone in your dedication to systematically getting better.

Even with the craftsman mindset, however, becoming “so good they can’t ignore you” is not trivial. To help these efforts I introduced the well-studied concept of deliberate practice, an approach to work where you deliberately stretch your abilities beyond where you’re comfortable and then receive ruthless feedback on your performance. Musicians, athletes, and chess players know all about deliberate practice. Knowledge workers, however, do not. This is great news for knowledge workers: If you can introduce this strategy into your working life you can vault past your peers in your acquisition of career capital. RULE #3 Turn Down a Promotion (Or, the Importance of Control) Chapter Eight The Dream-Job Elixir In which I argue that control over what you do, and how you do it, is one of the most powerful traits you can acquire when creating work you love.

By definition, if it’s rare and valuable, it’s not easy to get. This insight brought me into the world of performance science, where I encountered the concept of deliberate practice—a method for building skills by ruthlessly stretching yourself beyond where you’re comfortable. As I discovered, musicians, athletes, and chess players, among others, know all about deliberate practice, but knowledge workers do not. Most knowledge workers avoid the uncomfortable strain of deliberate practice like the plague, a reality emphasized by the typical cubicle dweller’s obsessive e-mail–checking habit—for what is this behavior if not an escape from work that’s more mentally demanding? As I researched these ideas, I became increasingly worried about the current state of my academic career. I feared that my rate of acquiring career capital was tapering off.


pages: 481 words: 120,693

Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else by Chrystia Freeland

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, assortative mating, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Basel III, battle of ideas, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Black Swan, Boris Johnson, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, BRICs, business climate, call centre, carried interest, Cass Sunstein, Clayton Christensen, collapse of Lehman Brothers, commoditize, conceptual framework, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, disruptive innovation, don't be evil, double helix, energy security, estate planning, experimental subject, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Flash crash, Frank Gehry, Gini coefficient, global village, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gordon Gekko, Guggenheim Bilbao, haute couture, high net worth, income inequality, invention of the steam engine, job automation, John Markoff, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, liberation theology, light touch regulation, linear programming, London Whale, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, Mikhail Gorbachev, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, NetJets, new economy, Occupy movement, open economy, Peter Thiel, place-making, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, postindustrial economy, Potemkin village, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, Rod Stewart played at Stephen Schwarzman birthday party, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, short selling, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Simon Kuznets, Solar eclipse in 1919, sovereign wealth fund, starchitect, stem cell, Steve Jobs, the new new thing, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tony Hsieh, too big to fail, trade route, trickle-down economics, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, wage slave, Washington Consensus, winner-take-all economy, zero-sum game

That means you can probably blame Drucker for far too many soul-destroying PowerPoint presentations, peppy but hollow business books, and inspirational corporate “coaches” with lots of energy but no message. But Drucker also, more than half a century ago, predicted the shift to what he dubbed a “knowledge economy” and, with it, the rise of the “knowledge worker.” Drucker made his name in America, but he was a product of the Viennese intellectual tradition—Joseph Schumpeter was a family friend and frequent guest during his boyhood—of looking for the big, underlying social and economic forces and trying to spot the moments when they changed. Accordingly, he saw the emerging knowledge worker as both the product and beneficiary of a profound shift in how capitalism operated. “In the knowledge society the employees—that is, knowledge workers—own the tools of production,” Drucker wrote in a 1994 essay in the Atlantic. That, he argued, was a huge shift and one that would, for the first time since the industrial revolution, shift the balance of economic power toward workers—or, rather, toward one very smart, highly educated group of them—and away from capital.

Hence the power of the robber barons and the complaints of the proletariat. But that logic collapses in the knowledge economy: “Increasingly, the true investment in the knowledge society is not in machines and tools but in the knowledge of the knowledge worker. . . . The market researcher needs a computer. But increasingly this is the researcher’s own personal computer, and it goes along where he or she goes. . . . In the knowledge society the most probable assumption for organizations . . . is that they need knowledge workers far more than knowledge workers need them.” Here, then, is another way that some of the highly talented are catapulted into the super-elite: when it becomes possible for them to practice their profession independently. Or, to put it another way, when the tool of their trade is a personal computer, rather than a steam engine.

The problem, he said, wasn’t that women weren’t as smart or even as numerate as men; he had hired many women in starting positions who were as skilled as their male counterparts. But they still didn’t have the royal jelly: “They don’t have the killer instinct, they don’t want to fight, they won’t go for the jugular.” By way of evidence, he described a subordinate who had cried when he told her she had made a mistake. You can’t do that and win, he said. THREE SUPERSTARS A society in which knowledge workers dominate is under threat from a new class conflict: between the large minority of knowledge workers and the majority of people, who will make their living traditionally, either by manual work, whether skilled or unskilled, or by work in services, whether skilled or unskilled. —Peter Drucker It is probably a misfortune that . . . popular writers . . . have defended free enterprise on the ground that it regularly rewards the deserving, and it bodes ill for the future of the market order that this seems to have become the only defense of it which is understood by the general public. . . .


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Smart and Gets Things Done: Joel Spolsky's Concise Guide to Finding the Best Technical Talent by Joel Spolsky

Build a better mousetrap, David Heinemeier Hansson, knowledge worker, linear programming, nuclear winter, Ruby on Rails, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, sorting algorithm, Superbowl ad, the scientific method, type inference, unpaid internship

My pet theory is that this problem can be fixed by teaching programmers to be less reluctant writers by sending them off to take an intensive course in writing. Another solution is to hire smart program managers who produce the written spec. In either case, you should enforce the simple rule “no code without spec.” The Joel Test 163 8. Do Programmers Have Quiet Working Conditions? There are extensively documented productivity gains provided by giving knowledge workers space, quiet, and privacy. The classic software management book Peopleware3 documents these productivity benefits extensively. Here’s the trouble. We all know that knowledge workers work best by getting into “flow,” also known as being “in the zone,” where they are fully concentrated on their work and fully tuned out of their environment. They lose track of time and produce great stuff through absolute concentration. This is when they get all of their productive work done. Writers, programmers, scientists, and even basketball players will tell you about being in the zone.

I’ve seen a company give a terrible review to a person who single handedly kept everyone on his team happy, cheerful, and productive. All because the metrics in place just didn’t have a way to recognize different types of contributors. If it wasn’t bad enough that metrics don’t measure, they also screw up perfectly happy, productive teams. True, Some Developers Just Don’t Pull Their Weight Even though metrics simply don’t work with knowledge workers, it’s still true that there are great developers and decent developers and crappy developers. Interestingly, everybody pretty much knows who is who. You just can’t quite measure it. Fixing Suboptimal Teams 129 You still need to triage the team into three categories: 1. Great developer 2. Needs specific improvements 3. Hopeless If you’re a new manager on a team, the fastest way to do this is by peer evaluation.

If a coworker asks you a question, causing a oneminute interruption, but this knocks you out of the zone badly enough that it takes you half an hour to get productive again, your overall productivity is in serious trouble. If you’re in a noisy bullpen environment like the type that caffeinated dotcoms love to create, with marketing guys screaming on the phone next to programmers, your productivity will plunge as knowledge workers get interrupted time after time and never get into the zone. With programmers, it’s especially hard. Productivity depends on being able to juggle a lot of little details in short-term memory all at once. Any kind of interruption can cause these details to come crashing down. When you resume work, you can’t remember any of the details (like local variable names you were using, or where you were up to in implementing The Joel Test 165 that search algorithm) and you have to keep looking these things up, which slows you down a lot until you get back up to speed.


pages: 372 words: 152

The End of Work by Jeremy Rifkin

banking crisis, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, blue-collar work, cashless society, collective bargaining, computer age, deskilling, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, employer provided health coverage, Erik Brynjolfsson, full employment, future of work, general-purpose programming language, George Gilder, global village, hiring and firing, informal economy, interchangeable parts, invention of the telegraph, Jacques de Vaucanson, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, land reform, low skilled workers, means of production, new economy, New Urbanism, Paul Samuelson, pink-collar, post-industrial society, Productivity paradox, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, strikebreaker, technoutopianism, Thorstein Veblen, Toyota Production System, trade route, trickle-down economics, women in the workforce, working poor, working-age population, Works Progress Administration

This small elite owns 37.4 percent of all corporate stocks and bonds and 56.2 percent of all U.S. private business assets. 39 Below the super rich is a slightly larger class consisting of 4 percent of the working population of the United States. Their ranks are made up largely of the new professionals, the highly trained symbolic analysts or knowledge workers who manage the new high-tech information economy. This small group, numbering fewer than 3.8 million individuals, earns as much as the entire bottom 51 percent of American wage earners, totaling more than 49.2 million. 40 In addition to the top 4 percent of American income earners who make up the elite of the knowledge sector, another 16 percent of the American workforce also consists mostly of knowledge workers. Altogether, the knowledge class, which represents 20 percent of the workforce, receives $1,755 billion a year in income, more than the other four fifths of the population combined. The incomes of this class continue to increase by 2 to 3 percent a year after inflation, even as the income of other American wage earners continues to decline. 41 The knowledge workers are a diverse group united by their use of state-of-the-art information technology to identify, process, and solve problems.

Now that labor's clout has Significantly diminished, the knowledge workers become the more important group in the economic equation. They are the catalysts of the Third Industrial Revolution and the ones responsible for keeping the high-tech economy running. For that reason, top management and investors have had increasingly to share at least some of their power with the creators of intellectual property, the men and women whose knowledge and ideas fuel the high-tech information society. It is no wonder, then, that intellectual-property rights has become even more important than finance in some industries. Having a monopoly over knowledge and ideas ensures competitive success and market position. Financing that success becomes almost secondary. In the high-tech automated world of the 1990S, the new elite of knowledge workers are emerging with critical skills that elevate them to center stage in the global economy.

A fair and equitable distribution of the productivity gains would require a shortening of the workweek around the world and a concerted effort by central governments to provide alternative employment in the third sector-the social economy-for those whose labor is no longer required in the marketplace. If, however, the dramatic productivity gains of the high-tech revolution are not shared, but rather used primarily to enhance corporate profit, to the exclusive benefit of stockholders, top corporate managers, and the emerging elite of high-tech knowledge workers, chances are that the growing gap between the haves and the have-nots will lead to social and political upheaval on a global scale. All around us today, we see the introduction of breathtaking new technologies capable of extraordinary feats. We have been led to believe that the marvels of modem technology would be our salvation. Millions placed their hopes for a better tomorrow on the liberating potential of the computer revolution.


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The Power of Pull: How Small Moves, Smartly Made, Can Set Big Things in Motion by John Hagel Iii, John Seely Brown

Albert Einstein, Andrew Keen, barriers to entry, Black Swan, business process, call centre, Clayton Christensen, cleantech, cloud computing, commoditize, corporate governance, creative destruction, disruptive innovation, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, future of work, game design, George Gilder, intangible asset, Isaac Newton, job satisfaction, Joi Ito, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, loose coupling, Louis Pasteur, Malcom McLean invented shipping containers, Maui Hawaii, medical residency, Network effects, old-boy network, packet switching, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, pre–internet, profit motive, recommendation engine, Ronald Coase, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart transportation, software as a service, supply-chain management, The Nature of the Firm, the new new thing, too big to fail, trade liberalization, transaction costs

Most jobs in Western corporations have been engineered (and we use this word advisedly) to become highly routinized, especially if they are not performed by “knowledge workers.” As we begin to realize that scalable efficiency cannot see us through a shift to near-constant disruption, we will begin to see that performance improvement by everyone counts, not just performance improvement for “knowledge workers.” We will begin to redefine all jobs, especially those performed at the “bottom of the institutional pyramid,” in ways that facilitate problem solving, experimentation, and tinkering. This will foster more widespread performance improvement. Everyone, even the most unskilled worker, will be viewed as a critical problem-solver and knowledge-worker contributing to performance improvement. One need only walk through the assembly lines of a Toyota plant to see highly motivated workers who are passionate about their jobs because they can tangibly see how they are making a difference by tackling challenging work problems and contributing to greater value.

The real opportunity is to rethink all aspects of the institution through the talent lens—what would the strategy, operations, and organization of the firm be like if talent development were the top priority of the firm? We’ve already talked about how institutional leaders have to focus on everyone in their organization—and not just the so-called knowledge workers. But let’s take it one step further, because there are yet more misunderstandings that arise on the topic of talent development, revealing some of the key assumptions that most executives bring to this topic. We have already noted in earlier chapters that Western executives tend to draw a firm line between “knowledge workers” and the rest of the workforce. If we are going to mobilize our entire workforce, we need to abandon this artificial distinction and recognize that everyone brings talent to the job that must be developed. With few exceptions, executives immediately narrow the scope of discussion around talent development to their own employees.

At minimal cost to SAP—relative to push models—SAP harnessed the collective power of hundreds of thousands of talented individuals to help achieve the company’s strategic goals. 10 For more about this crucial question, see John Hagel III and Marc Singer, “Un-bundling the Corporation,” Harvard Business Review, March 1, 1999, which asserts that most companies are an unnatural bundle of three very different types of businesses: They are customer-relationship businesses, infrastructure-management businesses, and product-development and innovation businesses. 11 See Thomas H. Davenport, Thinking for a Living: How to Get Better Performance and Results from Knowledge Workers (Cambridge: Harvard Business School Press, 2005). 12 Thomas B. Winans and John Seely Brown, “Cloud Computing: A Collection of Working Papers,” July 31, 2009, Deloitte Development. Chapter 7 1 Zoe Baird and James Barksdale et al., “Creating a Trusted Network for Homeland Security,” Markle Foundation, December 2, 2003, http://www.markle.org/down-loadable_assets/nstf_report2_overview.pdf. 2 See Saxby Chambliss, “Counterterrorism Intelligence Capabilities and Performance Prior to 9-11,” Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security, A Report to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Minority Leader, July 2002, http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/2002_rpt/hpsci_ths0702.html. 3 John Franke, “SAP CEO Heir-Apparent Resigns,” March 28, 2007, TechTarget.com, http://searchsap.techtarget.com/news/article/0,289142,sid21_gci1249379,00.html#. 4 This and other details are drawn from Daniel Roth, “Driven: Shai Agassi’s Audacious Plan to Put Electric Cars on the Road,” Wired, August 18, 2008, http://www.wired.com/cars/futuretransport/magazine/16-09/ff_agassi?


The Making of a World City: London 1991 to 2021 by Greg Clark

Basel III, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Boris Johnson, British Empire, business climate, business cycle, capital controls, carbon footprint, congestion charging, corporate governance, cross-subsidies, deindustrialization, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, East Village, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial innovation, financial intermediation, global value chain, haute cuisine, housing crisis, industrial cluster, intangible asset, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labour market flexibility, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Masdar, mass immigration, megacity, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, Pearl River Delta, place-making, rent control, Robert Gordon, Silicon Valley, smart cities, sovereign wealth fund, trickle-down economics, urban planning, urban renewal, working poor

In London: World City, rivals such as Tokyo, New York and Berlin were analysed for their initiatives in the soft economy and their active pursuit of the benefits of agglomeration (LPAC, 1991: 26–27). The report was, it turned out, prescient in identifying inter-urban competition around human capital and quality of life. Subsequently, however, more subtle understandings of the push-and-pull factors for mobile knowledge workers and international firms have prompted more refined and targeted attraction and retention strategies. Innovative solutions have been applied to the intricacy of negotiated and collaborative governance, both between tiers of government and between public and private sectors. London now has a much wider set of practices to learn from other cities, from Singapore to Seattle, from Seoul to São Paulo.

Partnerships with institutional investors, sovereign wealth funds, niche fund managers and syndicated investment clubs are under negotiation in cities everywhere. Finally, the new business cycle has brought into clarity the reality of demographic change that is profoundly shaping cities’ revenue capabilities and service delivery demands. As well as increased mobility, especially of younger knowledge workers and aspirational immigrants, cities are confronted with dramatically extended life expectancies often coupled with low birth rates. As a result, urban life is for the most part becoming more and more racially, socially and economically diverse. This produces greater heterogeneity in citizenry aspirations, and the need for world cities to provide distinctive services and representation to different population segments.

The top dozen cities by aggregate ranking in these five studies are compiled in Table 10.1. Key developments in the global system of cities in 2015 The composite of index results has indicated since at least 2011 that Singapore and Hong Kong form part of an expanded ‘big six’ of top-tier world cities. The pair, which possess distinct self-governing capacities, have continued to record exceptional results among executives, knowledge workers and tourists in 2013 and 2014, and have moved ahead of Paris and Tokyo as financial centres. Investment from Europe, North America and the Middle East still flows heavily into these two cities, not least because of their proximity to a rapidly expanding Asian middle class. Singapore is now a world-class research hub, and the only world city consistently positively evaluated for its commuting experience, health and security outcomes.


pages: 261 words: 16,734

Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams by Tom Demarco, Timothy Lister

A Pattern Language, cognitive dissonance, interchangeable parts, job satisfaction, knowledge worker, lateral thinking, Parkinson's law, performance metric, skunkworks, supply-chain management, women in the workforce

When you’re also doing sales and marketing support for the product you and your colleagues are designing, then you have to take every single call that comes in. Same with user support for another product. To the extent that knowledge workers are required to multitask, their managers need to take account of the flow requirements of the different tasks. Mixing flow and highly interruptive activities is a recipe for nothing but frustration. In particular, it assures that no reasonable telephone ethic (“Leave me alone. I’m working.”) can emerge. More important than any gimmick you introduce is a change in attitude. People must learn that it’s okay sometimes not to answer their phones, and their managers need to understand that as well. That’s the character of knowledge workers’ work: The quality of their time is important, not just its quantity. A cursory reading of this chapter might leave you thinking that the entire message is, telephone: bad; e-mail: good but it’s a bit more complicated than that.

What’s conveniently forgotten in this analysis is the investment in those people—paid for with real, hard-earned dollars and now thrown out the window as if it had no value. There is probably no hope of changing the view that Wall Street takes of treating investment in people as an expense. But companies that play this game will suffer in the long run. The converse is also true: Companies that manage their investment sensibly will prosper in the long run. Companies of knowledge workers have to realize that it is their investment in human capital that matters most. The good ones already do. Part IV: Growing Productive Teams Think back over a particularly enjoyable work experience from your career. What was it that made the experience such a pleasure? The simplistic answer is, “Challenge.” Good work experiences have always got a fair measure of challenge about them.

One of the first victims is the easy, effective peer-coaching that is ubiquitous in healthy teams. As a manager, you may have convinced yourself that you ought to be the principal coach to the team or teams that report to you. That certainly was a common model in the past, when high-tech bosses tended to be proven experts in the technologies their workers needed to master. Today, however, the typical team of knowledge workers has a mix of skills, only some of which the boss has mastered. The boss usually coaches only some of the team members. What of the others? We are increasingly convinced that the team members themselves provide most of the coaching. When you observe a well-knit team in action, you’ll see a basic hygienic act of peer-coaching that is going on all the time. Team members sit down in pairs to transfer knowledge.


pages: 353 words: 355

The Long Boom: A Vision for the Coming Age of Prosperity by Peter Schwartz, Peter Leyden, Joel Hyatt

American ideology, Asian financial crisis, Berlin Wall, centre right, computer age, crony capitalism, cross-subsidies, Deng Xiaoping, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, European colonialism, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial innovation, hydrogen economy, industrial cluster, informal economy, intangible asset, Just-in-time delivery, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, life extension, market bubble, mass immigration, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, new economy, oil shock, open borders, Productivity paradox, QR code, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, upwardly mobile, Washington Consensus, Y2K

Ordinary human beings, working hard and living their lives, also need to understand the magnitude of the changes taking place in the economy and through the new technologies. People have to understand how the way we work is being transformed, where this New Economy is heading, and how it will change our lives and the lives of our families. This is where the politics of the Long Boom conies in, A clear vision needs to be articulated by strong leaders to everyone, humanity at large, not just an elite of financial traders or knowledge workers. Everybody has to have a general understanding of the direction we're heading. That's the way through the anxiety and back onto the Long Boom. As if the anxiety over the turndown in the global economy weren't enough, there's the mounting anxiety over the state of our technology. As the new century approaches, the year 2000, or Y2K, problem looms large. Talk about a lack of historical perspective!

Although Americans might consider this a West Coast ideology, the rest of the world sees it as an American phenomenon, the New American Ideology. California tends to be the place to study this ideology because the people who embrace it tend to congregate in large numbers there. These people are the technologists and programmers and engineers who are building the new technologies in Silicon Valley. They are creators of new and old media based in Los Angeles. They are the entrepreneurs and knowledge workers of this New Economy. They are the business elite and global finance class chasing after the massive opportunities. They are the young people creating this new digital, wired culture. California attracts a lot of them—from all over the world. The draw of California has created the multicultural mix that has led to some of the key characteristics of the New American Ideology, such as its global mentality.

The expense The New AMERICAN Ideology 81 of adding one more person will be less than the overall value gained by the network, so there's an incentive to keep expanding the network. In that hypothetical town, everyone on the network benefits from the addition of every new member, and everyone will benefit most by having everyone wired. The same logic applies to the Internet of today. There's a strong incentive to get everyone into this emerging new network—not just the top quarter of the population, who fit the knowledge worker profile. Getting everyone on the Net is not just some philanthropic urge to be nice to all people. It makes good business sense. You want to sell your products over the Internet? The first step is getting every potential customer into that network to begin with. You want to streamlin costs by doing away with employee paperwork? Then all your employees have to be able to tie in on-line. Expand the network.


pages: 353 words: 91,520

Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing Our Kids for the Innovation Era by Tony Wagner, Ted Dintersmith

affirmative action, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Bernie Sanders, Clayton Christensen, creative destruction, David Brooks, en.wikipedia.org, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, immigration reform, income inequality, index card, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Joi Ito, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, new economy, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, pre–internet, school choice, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steven Pinker, TaskRabbit, the scientific method, uber lyft, unpaid internship, Y Combinator

The U.S. education system rose to the challenge of meeting the needs of the rising industrial economy and enabled the United States to gain world economic dominance.6 As the twentieth century rolled forward, the fundamentals of our economy changed. Midway through the last century, our industrial base began to contract, and low-wage routine jobs moved offshore. As growth in manufacturing jobs stalled, millions of new white-collar jobs for “knowledge workers” (a term coined by Peter Drucker in 1959) were created, fueling the next phase of U.S. economic growth and creating a robust middle class. The economic landscape was dominated by large organizations hungry for mid-level knowledge workers to produce, refine, and manage information. To keep pace with these changes, Americans put increasing priority on education, largely by extending the number of years students spent in school. The number of high school and college graduates soared. With some tweaks (such as including a college prep track in public high schools), the core of the Prussian-American education model—the transfer of basic literacy and numeracy skills and content knowledge from teachers to students—remained effective in preparing students for knowledge-worker jobs.

With some tweaks (such as including a college prep track in public high schools), the core of the Prussian-American education model—the transfer of basic literacy and numeracy skills and content knowledge from teachers to students—remained effective in preparing students for knowledge-worker jobs. Our education system and economy maintained their productive alliance. As we moved into the 1980s, a handful of people began voicing concerns about the state of education in the United States. They cited data questioning the international competitiveness of our students, reflected in lackluster performance on standardized tests. They expressed a concern that our slow-moving education system was incapable of adapting to a changing world. The prescient A Nation at Risk report, issued over thirty years ago, noted: “If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war.”7 As our nation headed into the twenty-first century, we faced an existential choice.

Since information is readily available to everyone, content knowledge is no longer valued in the workplace. What matters most in our increasingly innovation-driven economy is not what you know, but what you can do with what you know. The skills needed in our vastly complicated world, whether to earn a decent living or to be an active and informed citizen, are radically different from those required historically. Quite simply, the world has changed, and our schools remain stuck in time. “Knowledge workers” have become obsolete. What the world demands today are “smart creatives,” the term that Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg use to describe the kind of people Google needs to hire in their book How Google Works. In our efforts to “fix” education, we’ve taken a course of action that extirpates the creative spirit and confidence from our youth while drilling them on frivolous things, like memorizing the definition of extirpate for the SAT verbal exam.


pages: 346 words: 89,180

Capitalism Without Capital: The Rise of the Intangible Economy by Jonathan Haskel, Stian Westlake

"Robert Solow", 23andMe, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, bank run, banking crisis, Bernie Sanders, business climate, business process, buy and hold, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cloud computing, cognitive bias, computer age, corporate governance, corporate raider, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, dark matter, Diane Coyle, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, endogenous growth, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial innovation, full employment, fundamental attribution error, future of work, Gini coefficient, Hernando de Soto, hiring and firing, income inequality, index card, indoor plumbing, intangible asset, Internet of things, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, job automation, Kenneth Arrow, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, laissez-faire capitalism, liquidity trap, low skilled workers, Marc Andreessen, Mother of all demos, Network effects, new economy, open economy, patent troll, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pets.com, place-making, post-industrial society, Productivity paradox, quantitative hedge fund, rent-seeking, revision control, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Sand Hill Road, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Skype, software patent, sovereign wealth fund, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, survivorship bias, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, total factor productivity, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, urban planning, Vanguard fund, walkable city, X Prize, zero-sum game

Like many of the things in Handy’s and Leadbeater’s books—both of which have aged rather well—all of these predictions have to some extent come to pass. Drop into a coffee shop in any of the world’s major cities, and you will see peripatetic knowledge workers of the type that Handy described in the early 1990s. Look at the way people talk about the world’s most admired businesses (“What Would Google Do?”), and you will see praise for the kind of knowledge-intensive, collaborative, networked business innovation that would not have seemed out of place in 1990s California or Japan. But some things have turned out somewhat differently, either because they buck the trend of knowledge-intensive, modular businesses and the nomadic, entrepreneurial knowledge workers, or simply because they were less obvious back in 1999. A graphic illustration of this is the Amazon warehouse. Sarah O’Connor, writing in the Financial Times in 2013, painted a vivid portrait of working and managing in the Amazon warehouse in Rugeley, in the UK’s West Midlands.1 The word “autonomous knowledge work” is unlikely to figure on the employees’ job description.

Modern economists, displaying an admirable flair for taking something exciting and giving it a boring name, called this trend “skills-biased technical change.” Labor market economists, particularly Martin Goos, Alan Manning, and David Autor, have suggested a twist on this story that computers are especially good at replacing routine tasks. The twist is that computers don’t replace high-paid knowledge workers, but they are not necessarily replacing the low-paid either. The reason is that many currently low-paid tasks are distinctly nonroutine: waiting on a table, cleaning a bath, or looking after the elderly. Rather, the routine tasks that computers are good at tend to be middle-income jobs, and so they “hollow out” the labor market by replacing middle-income workers (Goos and Manning 2007; Autor 2013).

Back in the heady days of the late 1990s, when pundits began to be excited en masse about a new economy, there was something of a shared vision of what businesses would need to do to succeed in the new economy, and what that would mean for management and working life. Charles Handy’s 1994 book The Future of Work forecasted, presciently, a future of portfolio jobs and careers for the well-educated and precarious subcontracting for others. Charles Leadbeater’s Living on Thin Air, published at the height of the dot-com bubble, begins with a portrait of the author as a portfolio knowledge worker and then identifies eight characteristics that successful new economy companies would have: they would be cellular, self-managing, entrepreneurial, and integrative; they would offer their staff ownership stakes; and they would need deep reservoirs of knowledge, public legitimacy, and collaborative leadership. The view of how businesses succeed blends Japanese management theory such as Nonaka and Takeuchi’s concept of the “knowledge-creating” company (in a book of the same title, 1991) with studies of entrepreneurial innovation observed from the Silicon Valley firms of the day.


pages: 104 words: 34,784

The Trouble With Brunch: Work, Class and the Pursuit of Leisure by Shawn Micallef

big-box store, call centre, cognitive dissonance, David Brooks, deindustrialization, ghettoisation, Jane Jacobs, Joan Didion, knowledge worker, liberation theology, Mason jar, McMansion, new economy, post scarcity, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, Thorstein Veblen, urban sprawl, World Values Survey

Work happens everywhere now. Many of us work from home, or from actual cafés, freelance vagabonds who move from one rickety table to the next, renting the space with our coffee purchases, getting more wired as the day goes on. In January 2014, the Guardian reported that the first British branch of the Russian chain Ziferblat opened in Islington, a London neighbourhood well-known for its clusters of peripatetic knowledge workers. What makes Ziferblat (clock face in Russian) different is that it charges five pence per minute, and patrons get free snacks and coffee, and can make their own food in the kitchen. It’s essentially like renting an office on a micro, minute-by-minute basis. As permanent employment has slowly evaporated in favour of temporary and contract labour, many of us find ourselves with multiple jobs, sometimes spread over several different fields.

However, instead of something that could create a shared sense of common cause or, dare I say, solidarity, we’re left with brunch as it’s often practiced: a religion of aesthetic wastefulness and little else. The trouble with brunch is that it could be so much more, and a closer look at brunch itself reveals its potential. The brunching class, if it embraced a little Veblen and Florida, and took a critical look at how it spends its time, and how others around it do, a collective identity across heretofore loosely related kinds of knowledge workers could be formed. What’s more, that the brunching class exists in places with radically different economic circumstances demonstrates it’s a class consciousness that could be global in scope. The Transnational Buenos Aires Brunch It was nearly two o’clock on a Sunday afternoon and we were walking the near-deserted streets of Buenos Aires looking for a very particular brunch spot. In town for two weeks to attend an art symposium, I had made a new conference friend, Kate, also from Toronto and keen to find a place she had read about in her Wallpaper City Guide: Buenos Aires, an object she was a little sheepish about but one that was compact and listed just enough galleries and eating spots to suggest a few distractions for the spare hours during the busy week.

If the brunching class came around to seeing their own lifestyle and work life in a more critical way, understanding the nature of their own work, there’s potential for better relationships with adjacent, lower classes. A related reshaping of the tectonic plates of class are those knowledge- and creative-class workers who don’t identify with the traditional working class, even if their pay and lack of job security is commensurate with older forms of working-class life (Dickens’ famous Bob Cratchit, though a working-class icon of the early industrial revolution, was essentially a knowledge worker on a contract job with no security, no benefits and poor pay). Taste and sensibility get in the way of seeing the commonalities among the creative and working classes. Work is work, but even if a creative earns less money than a unionized worker, class becomes a kind of ideology that limits the perception of different kinds of work, failing to allow for cross-class identity, but also limits the conversation around a development like Walmart.


pages: 236 words: 67,953

Brave New World of Work by Ulrich Beck

affirmative action, anti-globalists, Asian financial crisis, basic income, Berlin Wall, collective bargaining, conceptual framework, Fall of the Berlin Wall, feminist movement, full employment, future of work, Gunnar Myrdal, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, income inequality, informal economy, job automation, knowledge worker, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, low skilled workers, McJob, means of production, mini-job, post-work, postnationalism / post nation state, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, rising living standards, Silicon Valley, working poor, working-age population, zero-sum game

Value is now created by ‘productivity’ and ‘innovation’, both applications of knowledge to work. The leading social groups of the knowledge society will be ‘knowledge workers’ – knowledge executives who know how to allocate knowledge to productive use; knowledge professionals; knowledge employees. Practically all these knowledge people will be employed in organizations. Yet unlike the employees under capitalism they own both the ‘means of production’ and the ‘tools of production’ – the former through their pension funds which are rapidly emerging in all developed countries as the only real owners, the latter because knowledge workers own their knowledge and can take it with them wherever they go. The economic challenge of the post-capitalist society will therefore be the productivity of knowledge work and knowledge worker.20 Many have objected that there is nothing new in this line of argument, since knowledge already played a central role in the industry and services era, perhaps in all epochs of work.

Just as, in the transition from traditional society to the first modernity, the agricultural sector contracted and industry and services expanded, so now, in the transition to the second modernity, it is necessary to make a bold leap from the industry and service society to the knowledge and information society. This transition – argue authors such as Daniel Bell, Peter F. Drucker, Scott Lash/John Urry and Manuel Castells – will fundamentally change not only the world of work but the very concept of work itself. The most prominent feature of this new society will be the centrality of knowledge as an economic resource. Knowledge, not work, will become the source of social wealth; and ‘knowledge workers’ who have the capacity to translate specialized knowledge into profit-producing innovations (products, technological and organizational innovations, etc.) will become the privileged group in society. The basic economic resource – the ‘means of production’ to use the economist's term – is no longer capital, nor natural resources (the economist's ‘land’), nor ‘labour’. It is and will be knowledge.


pages: 543 words: 147,357

Them And Us: Politics, Greed And Inequality - Why We Need A Fair Society by Will Hutton

Andrei Shleifer, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Blythe Masters, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, business cycle, capital controls, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, centre right, choice architecture, cloud computing, collective bargaining, conceptual framework, Corn Laws, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, debt deflation, decarbonisation, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of DNA, discovery of the americas, discrete time, diversification, double helix, Edward Glaeser, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, first-past-the-post, floating exchange rates, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, full employment, George Akerlof, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, Growth in a Time of Debt, Hyman Minsky, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, income inequality, inflation targeting, interest rate swap, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Dyson, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labour market flexibility, liberal capitalism, light touch regulation, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Pasteur, low cost airline, low-wage service sector, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, millennium bug, money market fund, moral hazard, moral panic, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, Neil Kinnock, new economy, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, open economy, plutocrats, Plutocrats, price discrimination, private sector deleveraging, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, railway mania, random walk, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Richard Thaler, Right to Buy, rising living standards, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Rory Sutherland, Satyajit Das, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, Skype, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, The Market for Lemons, the market place, The Myth of the Rational Market, the payments system, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, unpaid internship, value at risk, Vilfredo Pareto, Washington Consensus, wealth creators, working poor, zero-sum game, éminence grise

Another reason has been the rise of the knowledge economy and the accompanying decline of the traditional manufacturing and service sectors, which has radically changed the stratification of occupations and attitudes.29 The old class-based politics in which Labour had its roots in the unionised skilled and unskilled working class while the Conservatives had their roots in the professions, middle class and aspirational middle classes is decaying. The Tories cannot rely on knowledge workers to support them automatically. Indeed, it seems that knowledge workers are more liberal on most social issues and are willing to tolerate government action if they feel it might work. Equally, though, Labour cannot rely on the knowledge workers’ support, either. They tend to be more individualistic, suspicious of collectivism in the form of trade unions and resent micro-management by their employers and the state. This is now a much more fluid political market place. Only a fifth of the electorate is traditionally egalitarian and only a fifth is traditionally free market.

Britain boasts a burgeoning super-rich sector: there are 47,000 people in this country with an average pre-tax income of £780,000 a year. Another 420,000 have pre-tax incomes of between £100,000 and £350,000. Nearly all of them are male, white and live in the South East.10 There is a growing class of ‘knowledge workers’ who already constitute more than two-fifths of the working population and reflect the fact that the dynamic parts of the knowledge economy – high-tech manufacturing, the creative industries, health, business services, education and ICT – need well-qualified and skilled people. But below them are ten million adults who earn less than £15,000 a year. Few are knowledge workers, and their chance of self-improvement is minimal. Two million children live in low-income working families. Those at the top have enjoyed a world of excess. Financier-cum-retailer Sir Philip Green set the gold standard for conspicuous extravagance when he spent £4 million on his son’s bar mitzvah in a specially built temporary synagogue on the French Riviera and £5 million on his own fiftieth-birthday party in Cyprus.

In the private sector in particular trade unions have become weaker, partly because of labour market legislation requiring them to ballot workers over strike action and outlawing secondary picketing, but also because of deeper, underlying changes. Knowledge workers in a more knowledge-based economy feel more confident about their capacity to manage their careers proactively and individually. They have skills that employers need, and they have no desire to negotiate their pay and conditions collectively. Consequently, trade union membership in the knowledge-based private sector has plummeted. Equally, knowledge workers are more keenly aware of new workplace realities. Production is less for mass markets and more customised, with much closer relationships with clients and consumers.12 Today’s customers embed their wishes in the production process through service-level agreements, tight contract specifications, default clauses, key performance indicators and so on.


Cataloging the World: Paul Otlet and the Birth of the Information Age by Alex Wright

1960s counterculture, Ada Lovelace, barriers to entry, British Empire, business climate, business intelligence, Cape to Cairo, card file, centralized clearinghouse, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, Deng Xiaoping, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, European colonialism, Frederick Winslow Taylor, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, index card, information retrieval, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, Jane Jacobs, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Law of Accelerating Returns, linked data, Livingstone, I presume, lone genius, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, Norman Mailer, out of africa, packet switching, profit motive, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Scramble for Africa, self-driving car, semantic web, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the scientific method, Thomas L Friedman, urban planning, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog

“Our age has turned literature into a trade.”14 Still, Otlet held out hope for what he called the “disinterested task” of the writer, ultimately envisioning something akin to a gift economy of intellectual work (a notion that has attracted considerable currency among contemporary Internet pundits). He hoped— with perhaps a characteristic surfeit of optimism—that enlightened knowledge workers would one day see the benefits of embracing the monographic principle in their own work, using index cards for note taking, and making their finished work more accessible by breaking 231 C ATA L O G I N G T H E WO R L D it into index-able chunks of information that could move more ­fluidly through the global knowledge network. Still, he recognized that knowledge workers needed to be paid, at least in the here and now. In considering the financial implications of his scheme, Otlet saw a special role for bookstores, given their role as the primary gateways to knowledge for many readers (public libraries were far less common during his era).

Highly precise classification, coupled with the ability to “zoom out” on any subject by telescoping back through a series of numbers and expressions, allowed for a level of detail that would, in theory, allow the system to penetrate deep into the granular components of a book or article. In practical terms, Otlet initially envisioned this as a physical volume that would consist of loose-leaf pages, constantly updated by expert authors collecting and extrapolating information from a wide range of primary sources. A federation of knowledge workers around the globe would develop expertise in particular domains and assume responsibility, acting as institutional gatekeepers to knowledge produced within each area. These experts would evaluate each newly published document, assess its content to determine whatever new facts might be contained inside, then transcribe that data onto an index card and assign a code drawn from the Universal Decimal Classification.

Drawing on a central repository modeled on the Universal Bibliography, Ostwald and his partners hoped to produce collections of cards that would provide a comprehensive overview of available knowledge on any specific topic. To accomplish that, the Bridge would need to do more than build a large-scale catalog; it would also have to assemble the scholars to work on it. To that end, he envisioned creating a universal directory of scholars, “containing the addresses of all living knowledge workers,” along with pointers to the particular kinds of knowledge those individuals had produced. It would act as a contemporary social network in which both people and documents would serve as nodal points.3 Like Otlet, Ostwald also proposed establishing a transnational organization to coordinate all this. His approach differed from Otlet’s in several important respects, however. For one, he believed that scholarly communication should take place by means of a global language—a notion that harkens back to John Wilkins’s Universal Language and would later find expression in Zamenhof ’s 1887 p­ roposal for Esperanto.


pages: 284 words: 72,406

Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time by Jeff Sutherland, Jj Sutherland

Baxter: Rethink Robotics, business cycle, call centre, clean water, death of newspapers, fundamental attribution error, knowledge worker, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, minimum viable product, pets.com, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Shai Danziger, Silicon Valley, Tony Hsieh, Toyota Production System

The Foundation focuses on helping lift the world’s poor out of poverty, not by handouts but by harnessing the underappreciated strengths of the impoverished. In Uganda they decided to try to do just that, by giving the poor the ability to share and build knowledge. To do it, they recruited some 1,200 people in poor, rural areas—people they called “Community Knowledge Workers” (CKWs). The Foundation had already developed mobile applications for microfinance and payments, and they decided to give these knowledge workers not just banking information, but information they could use in their daily lives, which, in Uganda’s case, meant it would be applied to farming. The Foundation provided access to the best agricultural practices by giving the workers smartphones and conveying the information that way. Steve Bell, of the Lean Enterprise Institute and a Certified Scrum Master, recently visited two remote villages and described how it works.

If Scrum can help these individuals who’ve been working on the margins to get the same effect, a giant step will have been made toward achieving a broad social good. Not only will that “good” arrive sooner, it will also be measurable. Scrum gives people the ability to measure progress easily. At the Grameen Foundation they have what they call the “Progress Out of Poverty Index.” It measures just how effective each program is. They can poll and see exactly the impact those Community Knowledge Workers with cell phones in rural villages are having. They can experiment with different ways of doing things. They can help people innovate their way out of poverty. For me, it’s amazing to see Scrum returning to its roots. When I first started Scrum, I was inspired by the Grameen Bank and other microfinance institutions and how they helped teams of poor people work together to leverage themselves out of poverty.

., 1.1, 3.1, 3.2 Boston Celtics Bowens, Maneka Boyd, John, 8.1, 8.2 brain mapping, multitasking and Brooks, Fred Brooks, Rodney, 2.1, 9.1 Brooks’s Law Brown, Rachel bureaucracy, 9.1, 9.2 Burndown Chart, 8.1, 9.1, 9.2, app.1 cabals Cairo call center, Zappos cell phones, 5.1, 9.1 driving and, 5.1, 5.2 Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), 3.1, 6.1 Challenger disaster, 3.1, 3.2 Change Control Boards, 8.1, 9.1 Change for Free change orders Change or Die Chicago Tribune, churches, Scrum at Cohn, Mike Cold War collaboration, 7.1, 7.2 Colorado, Sunshine laws in Colorado, University of, Medical School communication saturation, 4.1, 4.2, 8.1 Community Knowledge Workers (CKWs) complacency, dangers of complex adaptive systems, 2.1, 2.2 Cone of Uncertainty, 119 “Constant Error in Psychological Ratings, A” (Thorndike) context switching, loss to continuous improvement Happiness Metric and happy bubbles and, 7.1 contracts Change for Free in government Coomer, Greg Copenhagen Coplien, Jim Coram, Robert corporate culture change in cost overruns Cowan, Nelson cross-functionality, 2.1, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 7.1, 8.1 Crozier, William customer-responsive models customers: external vs. internal wants of cynicism Daily Stand-Ups (Daily Scrum), 3.1, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 7.1, 7.2, 8.1, 8.2, app.1 Dalkey, Norman D-day DeAngelo, Michael Decide, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 8.1, 185 decision loop decision making Product Owner and self-control and Declaration of Independence Delivering Happiness (Hsieh), Delphi method, 6.1, 6.2 Deming, W.


pages: 271 words: 77,448

Humans Are Underrated: What High Achievers Know That Brilliant Machines Never Will by Geoff Colvin

Ada Lovelace, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Black Swan, call centre, capital asset pricing model, commoditize, computer age, corporate governance, creative destruction, deskilling, en.wikipedia.org, Freestyle chess, future of work, Google Glasses, Grace Hopper, industrial cluster, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, job automation, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, Marc Andreessen, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Narrative Science, new economy, rising living standards, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Skype, social intelligence, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, theory of mind, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs

The researchers show what every young job seeker of recent years already knows, that “in response to this demand reversal, high-skilled workers have moved down the occupational ladder and have begun to perform jobs traditionally performed by lower-skilled workers”—thus the widely noted upsurge in file clerks and receptionists with bachelor’s degrees, for example. The next step: “This de-skilling process, in turn, results in high-skilled workers pushing low-skilled workers even further down the occupational ladder and, to some degree, out of the labor force altogether.” That finding not only makes intuitive sense, it also helps explain America’s unusually low overall employment rate and the stagnation of wages. FROM KNOWLEDGE WORKERS TO RELATIONSHIP WORKERS It sounds as if smart, highly educated people will be scorned in the coming economy—but that is not necessarily the case. To see why not, consider again the situation of lawyers, whose work is increasingly being taken over by infotech. Average lawyers “face a bleak future,” believes Professor McGinnis of Northwestern. Their best chance of prospering may well lie in using interpersonal abilities, “by persuading angry and irrational clients to act in their self-interest,” he explains.

But important isn’t the same as high value or well paid. As infotech continues its advance into higher skills, value will continue to move elsewhere. Engineers will stay in demand, it’s safe to say, but tomorrow’s most valuable engineers will not be geniuses in cubicles; rather, they’ll be those who can build relationships, brainstorm, collaborate, and lead. Peter Drucker coined the term “knowledge worker” in the late 1950s to describe the most valuable workers as economies became increasingly information based. We can see that the term is no longer quite right. More people than ever will be working with knowledge, but knowledge won’t be the source of their greatest value. We need a new term: The most valuable people are increasingly relationship workers. THE MILITARY DISCOVERS “THE HUMAN DOMAIN” The growing importance of social interaction as the critical factor in effectiveness and value is far more than a business phenomenon.

It made sense that the groups with the best social skills would be most successful because what the “socially intelligent participants in our collective intelligence experiment may have been doing was enabling better idea flow by guiding the group toward briefer presentations of more ideas, encouraging responses, and ensuring that everyone contributed equally.” The operational value of social skills was explained. The mystery of how those skills make groups more effective was solved. The people who made teams most effective may or may not have been the best knowledge workers. They were definitely the best relationship workers. PUTTING THE DISCOVERIES TO WORK Human interaction is so powerful that increasing it just a little improves group performance a lot. For example, Pentland and his lab investigated a huge Bank of America call center where the emphasis was on productivity; reducing the average call handle time at that one call center by just 5 percent would save the company $1 million a year.


pages: 280 words: 82,623

What Got You Here Won't Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful by Marshall Goldsmith, Mark Reiter

business process, cognitive dissonance, financial independence, fixed income, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, knowledge worker, loss aversion, shareholder value, zero-sum game

To ignore them and resent them is to misunderstand them—and eventually lose them. You’re committing the corporate equivalent of a hate crime. 4. I can always get someone else. In the past, the key to wealth may have been control of land, materials, plants, and tools. In that environment, the worker needed the company more than the company needed the worker. Today the key to wealth is knowledge. As a result, the company needs the knowledge worker far more than the knowledge worker needs them. To make matters worse, the workers know this! They see themselves as fungible assets—no longer at the mercy of company whim—rather than dispensable commodities. The difference is subtle but real: As a fungible asset, the free agent sees himself as always getting a better job somewhere else; if he were merely a commodity, anyone could replace him (which, we know, is not true anymore).

When the issue is negativity, I prefer this form of observational feedback to mere monitoring of speech patterns. Checking what you say doesn’t automatically tell you what other people think of you. You may be overly negative, but your colleagues may be capable of living with it. But seeing how people relate to you provides proof that your flaw is serious, that it matters to people, that it’s a problem. Habit #9 Withholding information In the age of knowledge workers, the cliché that information is power is truer than ever—which makes withholding information even more extreme and irritating. Intentionally withholding information is the opposite of adding value. We are deleting value. Yet it has the same purpose: To gain power. It’s the same old need to win, only more devious. And it appears in more forms than merely playing our cards close to our vest.

Clearly, dangling the carrot of more money for meeting deadlines didn’t work. But that doesn’t mean that beating the writer with the stick of a salary deduction would appeal to him either. 2. I know what they know. The days when managers know how to do every job in the company better than anyone else are over. The reason Peter Drucker said that the manager of the future will know how to ask rather than how to tell is because Drucker understood that knowledge workers would know more than any manager does. Well, the future is here with a vengeance. And smart managers need to shed the overconfident bias that they know as much as their employees know in specific areas. It’s a blind spot that diminishes their employees’ abilities and enthusiasm, and ultimately shrinks the boss’s stature. 3. I hate their selfishness. How many times has an employee come to you complaining that he or she isn’t happy or fulfilled in a job, and the initial thought balloon hanging over your head is, “Quit griping, you selfish oaf!


pages: 254 words: 81,009

Busy by Tony Crabbe

airport security, British Empire, business process, cognitive dissonance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, fear of failure, Frederick Winslow Taylor, haute cuisine, informal economy, inventory management, Isaac Newton, job satisfaction, knowledge worker, Lao Tzu, loss aversion, low cost airline, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, placebo effect, Richard Feynman, Rubik’s Cube, Saturday Night Live, science of happiness, Shai Danziger, Thorstein Veblen, Tim Cook: Apple

It Will Not Help You Regain Control Personal organization can’t help you “get on top” of it all, because there is too much to do. Period. No matter how organized you are, you will not be able to time-manage your way back to control. All that happens through better organization is that you do more stuff. Since you are still failing to do most of the things you could, or even should do, doing more things won’t help you feel in control; you will just be busier. In fact, a study by Basex showed that 30 percent of knowledge workers were trying to do so much, they had no time for thought at all, and 58 percent had only between fifteen and thirty minutes to think a day!1 In addition, the usefulness of time management gets less and less by the day as the quantity of information, communication and expectation continues to increase. Rather than spiral into ever more organization-driven activity in search of an impossible goal, you are better off accepting once and for all that you will never, ever be in control again, and that not being in control is okay.

We have to learn not to mistake the buzz we get from multitasking for a rightly earned sense of effectiveness. This buzz perpetuates our illusion of efficiency; we delude ourselves into mistaking our ability to machine-gun disconnected tasks for working well. In fact, Jonathan B. Spira, an analyst at the business research firm Basex, highlighted the scale of the multitasking illusion. He estimated that the increased inefficiency and ineffectiveness of multitasking was wasting 28 billion hours of knowledge workers time a year in the US alone.14 Break your day into big chunks of activity. The more complex the task, the bigger the chunk of uninterrupted time it needs. Of course, life will intervene at times, the director will tap you on the shoulder and distract you, but your goal should be to maximize chunks of focused time. … And It’s Not Just a Question of Practice If you’re reading this and thinking quietly to yourself, “Okay, I get the general point, but I’ve multitasked for years… I’m an expert,” then I would ask you to think again.

Email: The TV of Work One of the most obvious domains in which rampant productivity is demonstrated is our response to email. One study of two thousand UK workers found that 77 percent of them would consider “a productive day in the office” to be clearing their inbox.2 Jonathan B. Spira found that reading and processing just one hundred emails (who only has one hundred emails!) uses up half of a knowledge worker’s time.3 I think email has become the TV of work. It offers little, but it asks little too. So rather than do the big work that will make a difference, we turn on the email and pass the time (productively of course). Transforming Our Success Strategy We may not want to be busy, but few of us are willing to let our career aspirations die to achieve a calmer existence. So if our desire to succeed remains as strong as ever, what alternative do we have to the “More” game?


pages: 322 words: 84,580

The Economics of Belonging: A Radical Plan to Win Back the Left Behind and Achieve Prosperity for All by Martin Sandbu

"Robert Solow", Airbnb, autonomous vehicles, balance sheet recession, bank run, banking crisis, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Boris Johnson, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, business cycle, call centre, capital controls, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, centre right, collective bargaining, debt deflation, deindustrialization, deskilling, Diane Coyle, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial intermediation, full employment, future of work, gig economy, Gini coefficient, hiring and firing, income inequality, income per capita, industrial robot, intangible asset, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labour market flexibility, liquidity trap, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Martin Wolf, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mini-job, mortgage debt, new economy, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open economy, pattern recognition, pink-collar, precariat, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Richard Florida, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, secular stagnation, social intelligence, TaskRabbit, total factor productivity, universal basic income, very high income, winner-take-all economy, working poor

They could also be set up to favour the sort of activities that traditional lending is biased against (see chapter 9), and target, for example, knowledge-intensive start-ups with intangible assets that normal bank lending struggles to use as collateral.32 Another example is to use planning laws to lower business costs—for example, by improving the use of land—or increase population density. The UK think tank the Centre for Cities argues, based on successes in the Netherlands and Germany, that making a region thrive depends on increasing the density of its cities to deepen the available pool of knowledge workers available and “make it easier for people and organisations to share information and come up with new ideas.”33 Fourth, a necessary ingredient for a critical mass of knowledge workers is a critical mass of knowledge-intensive jobs. Governments can (in many places, if not everywhere) provide that critical mass by supporting research environments of a certain size. These could be highly research-intensive private institutions, but more obviously they could be research universities (as opposed to educational institutions focused only on teaching), as the economic blogger Noah Smith has strongly advocated as a means of regional regeneration in the United States.34 The evidence supports such calls: research universities create striking economic benefits for the regions they are situated in by increasing the share of high-skilled workers who increase the productivity of local businesses.35 Fifth, and perhaps counterintuitively, aim to globalise the left-behind places.

The second political difficulty is that with divergence in terms of economic success came divergence in the real material interests of groups that were rapidly growing apart. That made traditional electoral coalitions harder to straddle. This has been a particularly acute problem for centre-left parties, which have struggled to stitch together policy programmes that appeal to both the liberal knowledge workers in cities and what remains of the more traditional working class. But in many European countries, the traditional centre-right has also struggled in a party landscape that continues to fragment. One might think that seeing a once-powerful voter coalition fragment would make a party that used to rely on it all the more alert to the underlying problem. But the more immediate consequence has been to make parties incapable of identifying policies that can both reverse the divergence between their traditional supporting groups and retain the votes of all of them—especially when we add in the psychological and intellectual blind spots divergence itself has caused.

See also United Kingdom Bulgaria, 219–20 business extension services, 205 Canada, 185, 223 capital: financial, 200–201; human, 199–200; physical, 200; taxation of, 170, 175–83 capital regions, 189, 191–92 carbon tax, 183–87 carbon taxes, 224 car washes, 96–98, 110 Case, Anne, 194 central bank policies, 63, 66–67, 89, 106, 133–34, 138–39, 143–44, 146, 163–66 Centre for Cities, 206–7 centrist politics: liberal order failed by, 229–33; programme of economics of belonging for, 233–39 China: as alternative to Western social order, 6; economic policies of, 6, 241n1; and globalisation, 72–73, 75; income growth in, 20, 21; manufacturing in, 25, 75; as shock to social market economy, 9, 77–78, 81, 249n8 cities: economic growth in, 29–31; income inequalities involving, 190; knowledge workers in, 29–30; role of, in new economies, 29–31; wealth concentration in, 153–54 climate change, 183–84, 223, 237 Clinton, Bill, 117 Clinton, Hillary, 33, 45 coal mining, 126 Cold War, 6 collective bargaining, 52, 54, 56–58, 61, 101, 103, 110, 121–23 communism, collapse of, 211, 231 community banks, 206, 268n25 comparative advantage, 74 competition, market, 5, 30, 112–13, 127–30 Contract with America, 40 corporate taxes, 178–83, 187, 218–19, 264n18 credit cycle, 160–62 credit financing, 155–60 cross-border supply chains, 74–75 cultural values: conflicts of, 15–16; economic factors vs., as driver of voter behaviour, 15–16, 37–49, 230–31; economic grievance expressed in, 48; economic inequality as influence on, 31; nationalism and, 14–15, 38; political significance of, 15–16, 37, 41–42, 47–49; populism and, 15, 38, 42–43; populist vs. elite, 14–15 deaths of despair, 36, 194 Deaton, Angus, 194 debt deflation, 156 debt financing, 155–60 debt restructuring, 159–60, 166 deindustrialisation, 29, 56–62 DeLong, Bradford, 145 demand management, 106, 132–33, 138–44, 146–47, 151, 216–17 Denmark: economic change as trigger for populism in, 42; education policy in, 108; egalitarianism and prosperity in, 99; employment in, 110; job mobility in, 107–8; job training programmes in, 108 digital revolution, market abuse facilitated by, 30, 113, 128–30 Dustmann, Christian, 47 eastern Europe, 191–92 Eatwell, Roger, 38 eBay, 69 economic change, 17–36; causes of, 18, 21; community-level effects of, 9–10, 29–31, 45–47, 49; cultural values elicited by, 48; cultural values vs., as driver of voter behaviour, 15–16, 37–49; gender as factor in, 33–34; government response to, 9, 11–13, 21, 51, 54–70; grievances about, 8, 18, 35–36, 48; harms suffered by the vulnerable in, 9, 35, 61–62, 68, 135, 137–38, 141; illiberalism linked to, 8, 15, 36, 38–49, 39; manufacturing sector and, 22–26; nationalism linked to, 8; populism linked to, 21, 26, 39–44; role of cognitive skills in, 27–29; structural change and, 55–62; usurpation story about, 18, 21–22, 26; Western income stagnation and, 19–21 economic insecurity: community-level effects of, 9–10; illiberal attitudes mobilised by, 48; income inequality linked to, 58–60; policy decisions exacerbating, 61; precarious employment and, 58–61; social contract undermined by, 58–62; in Sweden, 44.


pages: 352 words: 120,202

Tools for Thought: The History and Future of Mind-Expanding Technology by Howard Rheingold

Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, card file, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, combinatorial explosion, computer age, conceptual framework, Conway's Game of Life, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, experimental subject, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, interchangeable parts, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, Jacquard loom, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, pattern recognition, popular electronics, post-industrial society, RAND corporation, Robert Metcalfe, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, Turing machine, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, Von Neumann architecture

Norton worked closely with ARC to develop their experimental discoveries into a system that would be usable by people who were not computer experts but whose occupations involved the manipulation of information. Sometime in the early 1970s, Engelbart was inspired by a book, just as he had been enthused by magazine articles by Bush and Licklider in years past. This time, it was the theory proposed by business management expert Peter Drucker in the late 1960s. Knowledge, by Drucker's definition, is the systematic organization of information; a knowledge worker is a person who creates and applies knowledge to productive ends. The rapid emergence of an economy based primarily on knowledge, Drucker predicted, would be the most significant social transformation of the last quarter of the twentieth century. Drucker noted something about the future of knowledge in the American economy that seemed to converge, from an unexpected but not unpredictable direction, with the course Engelbart had plotted for the augmentation project at the beginning of its second decade.

Acknowledging their debt to Drucker's ideas, the authors pointed out that the special computer systems that had been evolving at ARC were designed to alleviate the problems associated with "the accelerating rate at which knowledge and knowledge work are coming to dominate the working activity of our society': In 1900 the majority and the largest single group of Americans obtained their livelihood from the farm. By 1940 the largest single group was industrial workers, especially semiskilled machine operators. By 1960, the largest single group was professional, managerial, and technical -- that is, knowledge workers. By 1975-80 this group will embrace the majority of Americans. The productivity of knowledge has already become the key to national productivity, competitive strength, and economic achievement, according to Drucker. It is knowledge, not land, raw materials, or capital, that has become the central factor in production. Noting Drucker's use of terms such as "knowledge organizations" and "knowledge technologies," Engelbart, Watson, and Norton specified an augmented knowledge workshop that was nothing less than a totally redesigned working environment for everybody in the "knowledge sector."

It is impossible to tell if there would have been a PARC if there hadn't been an ARC, and while the miniaturization revolution made personal computers inevitable in a technical sense, there is good reason to question whether the kind of personal computing that exists today would ever have been developed if it had not been for the pathfinding work accomplished by Engelbart and his colleagues. Doug Engelbart and the people who helped him build ARC did not succeed in building a knowledge workers' utopia. Some hackers do seem to be pathologically attached to computers. These facts might have very little to do with the way other people will use the descendants of the tools they created. In fact, if you think about it, some of the wildest and woolliest of the MAC and ARC hackers were following in a long tradition of people who weren't exactly run-of-the-mill citizens -- from Babbage and Lovelace to Turing and von Neumann.


pages: 204 words: 54,395

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink

affirmative action, call centre, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Dean Kamen, deliberate practice, Firefox, Frederick Winslow Taylor, functional fixedness, game design, George Akerlof, Isaac Newton, Jean Tirole, job satisfaction, knowledge worker, longitudinal study, performance metric, profit maximization, profit motive, Results Only Work Environment, side project, the built environment, Tony Hsieh, transaction costs, zero-sum game

Drucker coined the term knowledge worker, foresaw the rise of the nonprofit sector, and was among the first to stress the primacy of the customer in business strategy. But although he's best known for his thoughts on managing businesses, toward the end of his career Drucker signaled the next frontier: self-management . With the rise of individual longevity and the decline of job security, he argued, individuals have to think hard about where their strengths lie, what they can contribute, and how they can improve their own performance. The need to manage oneself, he wrote shortly before he died in 2005, is creating a revolution in human affairs. Type I Insight: Demanding of knowledge workers that they define their own task and its results is necessary because knowledge workers must be autonomous . . . workers should be asked to think through their own work plans and then to submit them.


pages: 519 words: 155,332

Tailspin: The People and Forces Behind America's Fifty-Year Fall--And Those Fighting to Reverse It by Steven Brill

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airport security, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, asset allocation, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Blythe Masters, Bretton Woods, business process, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carried interest, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, computerized trading, corporate governance, corporate raider, corporate social responsibility, Credit Default Swap, currency manipulation / currency intervention, Donald Trump, ending welfare as we know it, failed state, financial deregulation, financial innovation, future of work, ghettoisation, Gordon Gekko, hiring and firing, Home mortgage interest deduction, immigration reform, income inequality, invention of radio, job automation, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, laissez-faire capitalism, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, obamacare, old-boy network, paper trading, performance metric, post-work, Potemkin village, Powell Memorandum, quantitative hedge fund, Ralph Nader, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Bork, Robert Gordon, Robert Mercer, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, telemarketer, too big to fail, trade liberalization, union organizing, Unsafe at Any Speed, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, working poor

In the 1960s, colleges and universities, and then the country generally, began to apply a long-treasured, although usually ignored, American value—meritocracy—to challenge the old-boy network in determining who would rise to the top. That made those at the top smarter and better equipped to dominate what was becoming a knowledge economy. It was one of the twentieth century’s great breakthroughs for equality. As you will read, I was a beneficiary of the change and also played a role in embedding it in the legal industry. It had the unintended consequence, however, of entrenching a new aristocracy of rich knowledge workers who were much smarter and more driven than the old-boy network of heirs born on third base. From the 1970s on, they upended corporate America and Wall Street with inventions in law and finance that created an economy built on deals that moved corporate assets around instead of building new assets. They created exotic, and risky, financial instruments. They organized hedge funds that turned owning stock into a minute-by-minute bet rather than a long-term investment.

In that sense, one could call this great unraveling of American exceptionalism a perfect storm, but one that paradoxically featured what appeared to be bright skies all along the way—milestones in innovation in all the arenas that make America great. Although the chapters that follow each focus on one element of the breakdown, the elements were interrelated. For example, the rise of meritocracy that created a newly entrenched aristocracy of knowledge workers powered the transformation of America into a finance-dominated economy. That in turn created still more demand for financial engineers and lawyers, which further entrenched the meritocracy and widened income inequality. Similarly, the emergence of the First Amendment as a tool enabling unlimited money to finance campaign contributions and to pay for lobbyists to dominate Washington allowed business interests to prevail in multiple battles against the middle class, including fights over unionization.

They did it not only by following Jensen’s doctrine and making their compensation rise or fall with the stock price, but also by inventing ways to use shareholder democracy to achieve the ultimate in accountability: throwing managers out of their jobs and replacing them with those who would more single-mindedly boost the short-term price of the stock. The result would be the emergence of an economy where the most money was to be made not by building companies but by deploying thousands of the smartest knowledge workers of the new meritocracy to engineer new ways to rearrange who owned them and create new forms of debt and other financial instruments so that shareholders might score a quick win. THE TAKEOVER FIGHTER Joseph Flom was a pioneering soldier of the meritocracy. Long before meritocracy became the norm two decades later, Flom—short, obese, the son of struggling Jewish immigrants—talked his way into the Harvard Law School class of 1948.


pages: 603 words: 182,781

Aerotropolis by John D. Kasarda, Greg Lindsay

3D printing, air freight, airline deregulation, airport security, Akira Okazaki, Asian financial crisis, back-to-the-land, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, blood diamonds, borderless world, Boris Johnson, British Empire, business cycle, call centre, carbon footprint, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, Charles Lindbergh, Clayton Christensen, cleantech, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, conceptual framework, credit crunch, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, digital map, disruptive innovation, edge city, Edward Glaeser, failed state, food miles, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frank Gehry, fudge factor, full employment, future of work, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, George Gilder, global supply chain, global village, gravity well, Haber-Bosch Process, Hernando de Soto, hive mind, if you build it, they will come, illegal immigration, inflight wifi, intangible asset, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), intermodal, invention of the telephone, inventory management, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Joan Didion, Kangaroo Route, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, kremlinology, low cost airline, Marchetti’s constant, Marshall McLuhan, Masdar, mass immigration, McMansion, megacity, Menlo Park, microcredit, Network effects, New Economic Geography, new economy, New Urbanism, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, Pearl River Delta, Peter Calthorpe, Peter Thiel, pets.com, pink-collar, pre–internet, RFID, Richard Florida, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, savings glut, Seaside, Florida, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spice trade, spinning jenny, starchitect, stem cell, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, sustainable-tourism, telepresence, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Nature of the Firm, thinkpad, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, Tony Hsieh, trade route, transcontinental railway, transit-oriented development, traveling salesman, trickle-down economics, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, walkable city, white flight, white picket fence, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

(Golf courses would keep the expats happy, as would shopping malls, movie theaters, and schools that seem airlifted straight from Southern California.) Moving in from the residential rings, the next layer was slated for the manicured campuses of those same multinationals—the back offices, R & D labs, and regional headquarters of the Toyotas and Nokias per-suaded to relocate. Here, one would also find hotels, shopping malls, convention centers—anything and everything to sustain the knowledge workers laboring in the shadow of the airport. In the innermost rings, essentially abutting the runway fences, were the free-trade zones, factories, warehouses, and logistics hubs designed for the FedEx/UPS/DHL combine—the just-in-time manufacturers and suppliers for whom time and distance from the belly of a 747 equals, quite literally, cost. New six-lane highways would link the inner and outer rings, with semitrailers barreling down dedicated aerolanes while residents stroll along boulevards lining canals.

But it’s too much for my neighbors in Park Slope, another patch of brownstones down the hill to the east, where the typical approaching plane swoops so low you can clearly read the “Delta” painted on its sides. The brownstoners have lobbied unsuccessfully to have the flight paths moved over some less fortunate neighborhood. They’re much like my neighbors here—lawyers, writers, and financiers. “Knowledge workers” is what they would call them in New Songdo, where the item at the top of Stan Gale’s to-do list is to woo more of them there. A few blocks west are the docks of Red Hook, where a faint few ships unload containers by day and blow foghorns by night. It’s a rumble as startling as jet wash, though several degrees more romantic because their era seems farther removed. Walt Whitman lived here, hopping ferries to the city and back in the mornings and evenings, confronted each time with the simple, joyous fact that the city’s lifeblood was commerce.

Another is on-site employers any mayor (or governor) would kill for, including a film studio and a maker of solar cells that opened a $100 million factory there last year. But taking their cue from Stapleton’s tenants, the Ratners expect that nearly everyone here will work from home. As BusinessWeek put it, Mesa del Sol “will be the first place of its kind built from scratch and targeted at the creative class.” A big marketing push will be made to coastal knowledge workers looking to cash out of their million-dollar split levels, move inland, and work remotely for their companies. Mansionettes will carry price tags of up to $400,000, about the same as the average Manhattan studio. They’ll feature home offices sequestered from family foot traffic and fully wired for transnational connections. Business centers strewn throughout the community—all within a short walk or electric-cart ride—will offer rent-by-the-hour support staff plus state-of-the-art meeting rooms and seamless video-conference hookups to China and India.


pages: 196 words: 57,974

Company: A Short History of a Revolutionary Idea by John Micklethwait, Adrian Wooldridge

affirmative action, barriers to entry, Bonfire of the Vanities, borderless world, business process, Charles Lindbergh, Corn Laws, corporate governance, corporate raider, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, credit crunch, crony capitalism, double entry bookkeeping, Etonian, hiring and firing, industrial cluster, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, laissez-faire capitalism, manufacturing employment, market bubble, mittelstand, new economy, North Sea oil, race to the bottom, railway mania, Ronald Coase, Silicon Valley, six sigma, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strikebreaker, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transaction costs, tulip mania, wage slave, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

The Concept of the Corporation made a passionate plea for GM to treat workers as a resource rather than just as a cost. In “the assembly-line mentality,” warned Drucker, workers were valued purely in terms of how closely they resembled machines.15 In fact, the most valuable thing about workers was not their hands, but their brains. The importance of empowering workers became more important when Drucker identified a new class of “knowledge workers” (as he dubbed them in 1959). These were lessons that Japanese managers (who read Drucker’s work assiduously) learned rather more quickly than GM. The carmaker’s attempt at talking to its workers came down to suggesting they write an essay, “My Job and Why I Like It.” CORPORATE IMPERIALISM One sign of the success of managerial capitalism is the way that it co-opted its state equivalent after 1945.

By the turn of the millennium, it no longer seemed odd that, at least for a time, the biggest challenge to the world’s richest man, Bill Gates, should suddenly spring up in a Finnish university dorm or that its product—the new operating system, Linux—should be given away for free. Such uncertainty proved too much for the Sloanist idea of a company. It was too slow, too methodical, too hierarchical, too reliant on economies of scale that were withering away. It also proved too cumbersome when it came to husbanding knowledge. Brainpower had always mattered in business. But this truism became far more valid after 1975, as Peter Drucker’s knowledge workers finally began to make their weight felt. By the end of 2001, General Motors boasted net-book assets (tangible things like factories, cars, and even cash) of $52 billion, but its market value of $30 billion was only a fifth of that of Merck, a drug firm that could muster a balance sheet value of $7 billion, but had a far more valuable trove of knowledge. In 1999, America’s most valuable export was intellectual capital: the country raked in $37 billion in licensing fees and royalties, compared with $29 billion for its main physical export, aircraft.6 The story of the company in the last quarter of the twentieth century is of a structure being unbundled.

The third forecast is an offshoot of the second: that the discrete company is no longer the basic building block of the modern economy. It will be replaced by the “network.” Some economies have long centered on webs of interlocking businesses, such as Japan’s keiretsu and South Korea’s chaebol. But the models most commonly cited are the boundaryless firms of Silicon Valley. In theory, these loose-fitting alliances are the ideal homes for Peter Drucker’s knowledge workers. This sounds attractive. But the networking concept has (appropriately enough) bundled together too many contradictory ideas. The older sort of networks, like the keiretsu, which were largely attempts to shield member companies from the market, are now being pulled apart by it. The networks in Silicon Valley, which rely on their sensitivity to market movements, look far more modern, but they are still built around companies.


pages: 116 words: 31,356

Platform Capitalism by Nick Srnicek

3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cloud computing, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, deindustrialization, deskilling, disintermediation, future of work, gig economy, Infrastructure as a Service, Internet of things, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, liquidity trap, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, mittelstand, multi-sided market, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, offshore financial centre, pattern recognition, platform as a service, quantitative easing, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, self-driving car, sharing economy, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, software as a service, TaskRabbit, the built environment, total factor productivity, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, unconventional monetary instruments, unorthodox policies, Zipcar

Here we can find a number of interconnected but distinct claims. In Italian autonomism, this would be a claim about the ‘general intellect’, where collective cooperation and knowledge become a source of value.3 Such an argument also entails that the labour process is increasingly immaterial, oriented towards the use and manipulation of symbols and affects. Likewise, the traditional industrial working class is increasingly replaced by knowledge workers or the ‘cognitariat’. Simultaneously, the generalised deindustrialisation of the high-income economies means that the product of work becomes immaterial: cultural content, knowledge, affects, and services. This includes media content like YouTube and blogs, as well as broader contributions in the form of creating websites, participating in online forums, and producing software.4 A related claim is that material commodities contain an increasing amount of knowledge, which is embodied in them.

Microsoft, meanwhile, has built an artificial intelligence platform that gives businesses the software development tools to build their own bots (‘intelligence as a service’, in the contemporary lingo). And International Business Machines (IBM) is moving to make quantum cloud computing a reality.38 Cloud platforms ultimately enable the outsourcing of much of a company’s information technology (IT) department. This process pushes knowledge workers out and often enables the automation of their work as well. Data analysis, storage of customer information, maintenance of a company’s servers – all of this can be pushed to the cloud and provides the capitalist rationale for using these platforms. The logic behind them is akin to how utilities function. Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s chief executive officer, compares it to electricity provision: whereas early factories had each its own power generator, eventually electricity generation became centralised and rented out on an ‘as needed’ basis.


pages: 370 words: 105,085

Joel on Software by Joel Spolsky

AltaVista, barriers to entry, c2.com, commoditize, George Gilder, index card, Jeff Bezos, knowledge worker, Metcalfe's law, Mitch Kapor, Network effects, new economy, PageRank, Paul Graham, profit motive, Robert X Cringely, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, slashdot, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, thinkpad, VA Linux, web application

You can learn all about writing specs by reading Chapters 5 through 8. 8. Do programmers have quiet working conditions? There are extensively documented productivity gains provided by giving knowledge workers space, quiet, and privacy. The classic software management book Peopleware documents these productivity benefits extensively.8 __________ 6. See Chapter 24. 7. For example, the course Daily Themes at Yale University (see www.yale.edu/engl450b/) is famous for requiring students to write an essay every day. 8. Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister, Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams, Second Edition (Dorset House Publishing, 1999). Here's how it works. We all know that knowledge workers work best by getting into "flow," also known as being "in the zone," where they are fully concentrated on their work and fully tuned out of their environment.

If a coworker asks you a question, causing a one-minute interruption, but this knocks you out of the zone badly enough that it takes you half an hour to get productive again, your overall productivity is in serious trouble. If you're in a noisy bullpen environment like the type that caffeinated dotcoms love to create, with marketing guys screaming on the phone next to programmers, your productivity will plunge as knowledge workers get interrupted time after time and never get into the zone. With programmers, it's especially hard. Productivity depends on being able to juggle a lot of little details in short-term memory all at once. Any kind of interruption can cause these details to come crashing down. When you resume work, you can't remember any of the details (like local variable names you were using, or where you were up to in implementing that search algorithm) and you have to keep looking these things up, which slows you down a lot until you get back up to speed.

"Reps who spent more than 13 minutes talking to a customer didn't get their monthly bonuses," writes Katrina Brooker.2 "As a result, workers began doing just about anything to get customers off the phone: pretending the line wasn't working, hanging up, or often—at great expense—sending them new parts or computers. Not surprisingly, Gateway's customer satisfaction rates, once the best in the industry, fell below average." It seems like any time you try to measure the performance of knowledge workers, things rapidly disintegrate, and you get what Robert D. Austin calls measurement dysfunction. His book Measuring and Managing Performance in Organizations3 is an excellent and thorough survey of the subject. Managers like to implement measurement systems, and they like to tie compensation to performance based on these measurement systems. But in the absence of 100 percent supervision, workers have an incentive to "work to the measurement," concerning themselves solely with the measurement and not with the actual value or quality of their work. __________ 1.


pages: 585 words: 151,239

Capitalism in America: A History by Adrian Wooldridge, Alan Greenspan

"Robert Solow", 2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, air freight, Airbnb, airline deregulation, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Asian financial crisis, bank run, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business climate, business cycle, business process, California gold rush, Charles Lindbergh, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, Corn Laws, corporate governance, corporate raider, creative destruction, credit crunch, debt deflation, Deng Xiaoping, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, edge city, Elon Musk, equal pay for equal work, Everybody Ought to Be Rich, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fiat currency, financial deregulation, financial innovation, fixed income, full employment, George Gilder, germ theory of disease, global supply chain, hiring and firing, income per capita, indoor plumbing, informal economy, interchangeable parts, invention of the telegraph, invention of the telephone, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kitchen Debate, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, Louis Pasteur, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, market bubble, Mason jar, mass immigration, means of production, Menlo Park, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, minimum wage unemployment, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, Northern Rock, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, popular capitalism, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, price stability, Productivity paradox, purchasing power parity, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, refrigerator car, reserve currency, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, savings glut, secular stagnation, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Simon Kuznets, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strikebreaker, supply-chain management, The Great Moderation, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade route, transcontinental railway, tulip mania, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, union organizing, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, urban sprawl, Vannevar Bush, War on Poverty, washing machines reduced drudgery, Washington Consensus, white flight, wikimedia commons, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, women in the workforce, Works Progress Administration, Yom Kippur War, young professional

Even when the manufacturing sector boomed it didn’t create as many jobs as it had in the past: from 1983 to 1989, real value added by manufacturing grew by 30 percent, but employment only grew by 5.5 percent. Unforgiving competition from abroad forced manufacturing companies to reduce production costs by closing inefficient plants, adopting new technologies, or moving their operations abroad. Meanwhile, knowledge workers advanced rapidly, particularly knowledge workers in the IT and financial-services sectors. Brain-intensive companies such as Microsoft and Apple took over from Ford and General Motors as the symbols of modern times. Even old-line companies became more brain-intensive: manufacturers focused on producing highly engineered products for precise niches rather than on standardized products for mass markets. They also devoted ever more effort to shaping perceptions of their products than on their products themselves, spending lavishly on advertising and brand management.

This was one of only two times in American history when this had happened: the other was the mid-1970s, when a sharp economic downturn coincided with a flood of baby-boom graduates onto the market. And yet this was the manufacturing sector’s swan song: the 1956 census revealed that there were more Americans doing white-collar jobs than blue-collar ones, and the most far-sighted commentators asked whether manual workers would go the way of agricultural workers. Peter Drucker coined the phrase “knowledge worker” to describe the rising class. Daniel Bell spotted a “post-industrial society” emerging in the womb of industrial society. Americans began to regard their prowess in winning Nobel Prizes as a measure of the country’s economic virility—between 1943 and 1969, America won twenty-one Nobel Prizes in Physics, far more than any other country, though eleven of the winners were European refugees. Over the postwar period as a whole, it established a striking and sustained lead over every other country.

Mitchell would have been a familiar figure to the great entrepreneurs of the late nineteenth century: a man obsessed with using mechanical innovations to wrestle resources out of the unforgiving soil. But this era also saw two momentous developments that would have shocked Rockefeller and company far more than using water to extract oil out of rock: the replacement of blue-collar workers with knowledge workers at the heart of the economy and the advance of women in the workforce. Reagan, Bush, and Clinton didn’t just preside over a technological revolution. They also presided over a social revolution that reached into almost every American home. THE NEW WORKFORCE The America of the golden age had been dominated by men and machines. It was overwhelmingly a manufacturing economy: in 1950, 36 percent of nonfarm private-sector workers were employed in manufacturing.


pages: 325 words: 73,035

Who's Your City?: How the Creative Economy Is Making Where to Live the Most Important Decision of Your Life by Richard Florida

active measures, assortative mating, barriers to entry, big-box store, blue-collar work, borderless world, BRICs, business climate, Celebration, Florida, correlation coefficient, creative destruction, dark matter, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, demographic transition, edge city, Edward Glaeser, epigenetics, extreme commuting, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, happiness index / gross national happiness, high net worth, income inequality, industrial cluster, invention of the telegraph, Jane Jacobs, job satisfaction, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, megacity, new economy, New Urbanism, Peter Calthorpe, place-making, post-work, Richard Florida, risk tolerance, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Seaside, Florida, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, superstar cities, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, urban planning, World Values Survey, young professional

She makes great money—based on commission—and can work as much or as little as she wants. She loves her job. She’s excited every day. She likes the freedom; she’s mobile. She wasn’t looking for job security—at least not yet. Still, I had to imagine that at some point she would want—and need—the assurance that she could continue to do what she loved without risking her financial well-being. In her old life, this woman had been what the late Peter Drucker called a “knowledge worker.” She’d gotten a good education and scored a job in high-level information with a reputable agency of the federal government.2 And she ended up hating it. The key to her professional happiness, she realized, was not in applying the knowledge she had learned in school but in using her innate creative abilities. My point is not that her current line of work is objectively better than her old one—or the factory job my father held for so many years, for that matter—but that our society has an interest in making sure that these creative service jobs are stable and well paying because, among other things, they are the ones least likely to be outsourced.

Chapter 6 1 “The World Goes to Town,” The Economist, May 3, 2007. 2 Alfonso Hernandez Marin, “Cultural Changes: From the Rural World to Urban Environment,” United Nations Chronicle, November 4, 2006. 3 Kenneth Jackson, Crabgrass Frontier, Oxford University Press, 1987; Robert Bruegmann, Sprawl: A Compact History, University of Chicago Press, 2005. 4 Joel Garreau, Edge City, Anchor, 1992. 5 Alan Ehrenhalt, “Trading Places: The Demographic Inversion of the American City,” The New Republic, August 13, 2008. 6 David Brooks, Bobos in Paradise, Simon & Schuster, 2001; Brooks, On Paradise Drive, Simon & Schuster, 2004. 7 Edward Glaeser and Christopher Berry, The Divergence of Human Capital Levels Across Cities, Harvard Institute of Economic Research, August 2005. 8 Richard Florida, “Where the Brains Are,” Atlantic Monthly, October 2006, p. 34. 9 Joseph Gyourko, Christopher Mayer, and Todd Sinai, “Superstar Cities,” National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper no. 12355, July 2006. Chapter 7 1 Dan Pink, Free Agent Nation, Warner Books, 2001. 2 Peter Drucker, Post-Capitalist Society, Harper Business, 1993; Drucker, “Beyond the Information Revolution,” Atlantic Monthly, October 1999, pp. 47-57; Drucker, “The Next Society,” The Economist, November 1, 2001, pp. 1-20. Fritz Machlup is often credited with the term “knowledge worker” from his 1962 book The Production and Distribution of Knowledge in the United States, Princeton University Press, 1962. 3 See Richard Florida, The Rise of the Creative Class, Basic Books, 2002. Data updated by Kevin Stolarick. 4 “The World’s Richest People,” Forbes, March 8, 2007. 5 Richard Florida, Charlotta Mellander, and Kevin Stolarick, “Inside the Black Box of Economic Development: Human Capital, the Creative Class, and Tolerance,” Journal of Economic Geography, 8, 5, 2008. 6 The correlations between occupation and per capita income are as follows: computer and math (.659); business and finance (.549); arts, entertainment, and media (.511); sales (.480); engineering and architecture (.472); science (.393); law (.390); and management (.358). 7 The correlations with regional income are as follows: health care occupations (.052); education occupations (.055). 8 See for example, Alfred Weber, Theory of the Location of Industries, University of Chicago Press, 1929 (1st ed., 1909). 9 Michael Piore and Charles Sabel, The Second Industrial Divide, Basic Books, 1984. 10 Alfred Marshall, Principles of Economics, Cosimo Classics, abridged ed., 2006 (1st ed., 1890). 11 Michael Porter, “Clusters and the New Economics of Competition,” Harvard Business Review, November-December 1998; Porter, “Location, Clusters, and Company Strategy,” in Gordon Clark, Meric Gertler, and Mayrann Feldman, eds., Oxford Handbook of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, 2000; and Porter, “Location, Competition, and Economic Development: Local Clusters in a Global Economy,” Economic Development Quarterly 14, 1, February 2000, pp. 15-34. 12 Joseph Cortright and Heike Mayer, Signs of Life: The Growth of Biotechnology Centers in the US, Brookings Institution, Center for Metropolitan Policy, 2001. 13 Pui-Wing Tam, “New Hot Spot for High Tech Firms Is the Old One,” Wall Street Journal, October 5, 2006. 14 Ann Markusen and Greg Schrock, “The Distinctive City: Divergent Patterns in Growth, Hierarchy, and Specialization,” Urban Studies 43, 8, July 2006, pp. 1301-1323. 15 Maryann Feldman and Roger Martin, “Jurisdictional Advantage,” National Bureau of Economic Research, October 2004. 16 Dan Fitzpatrick, “Extreme Commuters at PNC Raise Eyebrows,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 7, 2005. 17 Robert D.

See Initial public offering Irrational Exuberance (Shiller) Israel Italy Ithaca, New York Jackson, Scott Jacobs, Jane Jagger, Mick Japan super-megaregions and Jihad Jobs, Steve Johns Hopkins University Jolliffe, Lynn Journal of Economic Literature Jurisdictional advantage Kahneman, Daniel Katsuyama Kefentse, Kwende Kenney, Martin Kingston, Ontario Knight Frank Knowledge workers Kodak Kuala Lumpur Lang, Robert Lansing, Michigan Las Vegas Latin America Leadership place choice and Leamer, Edward Leave It to Beaver (television series) Led Zeppelin Leeds Leonhardt, David Lexington Life decisions stages in Life partners Light-based regional product (LRP) Lisbon(fig.) Liverpool Location. See Place Location quotients (LQ) London housing in London, Ontario Lon-Leed-Chester(fig.)


pages: 791 words: 85,159

Social Life of Information by John Seely Brown, Paul Duguid

business process, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, cross-subsidies, disintermediation, double entry bookkeeping, Frank Gehry, frictionless, frictionless market, future of work, George Gilder, George Santayana, global village, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, information retrieval, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John Markoff, Just-in-time delivery, Kenneth Arrow, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, lateral thinking, loose coupling, Marshall McLuhan, medical malpractice, moral hazard, Network effects, new economy, Productivity paradox, Robert Metcalfe, rolodex, Ronald Coase, shareholder value, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Superbowl ad, Ted Nelson, telepresence, the medium is the message, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, Y2K

From within organizations come sounds of fighting between the IT (information technology) and HR (human resources) factions over who "owns" knowledge management. 2 Similarly, technology giants have entered a propaganda war over who best understands knowledge.3 Elsewhere, the management consultants are maneuvering for high ground in the knowledge stakes. In the process, knowledge has gained sufficient momentum to push aside not only concepts like reengineering but also information, whose rule had previously looked so secure. To be, in Peter Drucker's term, a "knowledge worker" now seems much more respectable than being a mere "information worker," though for a while the latter seemed very much the thing to be. Similarly, pundits are pushing "information economy" and the venerable ''information age" aside in the name of the more Page 119 voguish "knowledge economy" and "knowledge age." There's even a bit of alternative prefixation in such terms as knobot, which we talked about in chapter 2, where the buzz of bots and the buzz of knowledge meet.

Similarly, the sort of blind downsizing produced by business process reengineering has caused organizations to lose "collective memory."7 It's impossible to assess the value of such layoffs. But the business journalist Thomas Stewart estimated the cost of AT&T's last round as equivalent to an $8 billion capital write-off.8 In all, the job of knowledge management cannot involve just the protection and exploitation of patents. It must include the cultivation of knowledgeable workers. Focusing on information, however, makes this kind of cultivation difficult. Known Problems Curiously, if knowledge will go out of the door in the heads of people who have developed and worked with that knowledge, it seems reluctant to go out (or stay behind) in the heads of people Page 123 who have not been so involved. The CEO of the innovative steel manufacturer Chaparral Steel told Leonard-Barton that for this reason the firm has no problem with competitors touring their plant.

This process-without-people viewpoint may indeed account for what some critics regard as business process reengineering's callous disregard for human rather than economic capital. The maxim "Forget all you know" doesn't show much interest in accrued human capital. 17. Walsh and Bayma, 1995. 18. Orr, 1996. 19. As the workplace sociologist Stephen Barley (1996) of Stanford Page 268 University argues, these reps are in many ways models of the new knowledge worker. They work alone, with sophisticated technology, supported by extensive information resources. 20. Hammer also briefly discusses tech reps, but he gives little sense of how they develop understanding or deal with the unexpected. He primarily affirms that reengineering helps them. Hammer, 1996, pp. 26 28. 21. At the time, that documentation was mostly kept on paper. It was ripe, however, for digitization. 22.


pages: 394 words: 118,929

Dreaming in Code: Two Dozen Programmers, Three Years, 4,732 Bugs, and One Quest for Transcendent Software by Scott Rosenberg

A Pattern Language, Benevolent Dictator For Life (BDFL), Berlin Wall, c2.com, call centre, collaborative editing, conceptual framework, continuous integration, Donald Knuth, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, Dynabook, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, Ford paid five dollars a day, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Santayana, Grace Hopper, Guido van Rossum, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Howard Rheingold, HyperCard, index card, Internet Archive, inventory management, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Larry Wall, life extension, Loma Prieta earthquake, Menlo Park, Merlin Mann, Mitch Kapor, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Potemkin village, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Stallman, Ronald Reagan, Ruby on Rails, semantic web, side project, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, slashdot, software studies, source of truth, South of Market, San Francisco, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, Therac-25, thinkpad, Turing test, VA Linux, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, Y2K

We’re accustomed to thinking of management as the application of business school techniques that carry a scientific sheen: uniform measurements of productivity and metrics of return-on-investment. Drucker’s definition sounds awfully squishy; he could be talking about an orchestra conductor or a stage director. But in emphasizing the art of management over the science, the human realm over the quantitative dimension, Drucker—who first invented the term knowledge worker and then offered invaluable insights into its implications—was trying to remind us that numbers are only a starting point for management, not its ultimate goal. One great irony inherent in the management of software projects is that despite the digital precision of the materials programmers work with, the enterprise of writing software is uniquely resistant to measurement. Programming managers have struggled for decades to find a sensible way to gauge productivity in their field.

Furthermore, if the cost and schedule of the developers’ personal work is unpredictable, the cost and schedule of their teams’ work will also be unpredictable. And, of course, when a project team’s work is unpredictable, the entire project is unpredictable. In short, as long as individual developers do not plan and track their personal work, their projects will be uncontrollable and unmanageable.” On the other hand, here is Peter Drucker, the father of contemporary management studies: “Most discussions of the knowledge worker’s task start with the advice to plan one’s work. This sounds eminently plausible. The only thing wrong with it is that it rarely works. The plans always remain on paper, always remain good intentions. They seldom turn into achievement.” Drucker published those words in 1966. As it happened, that was just about the time that a young Watts Humphrey was taking over the reins of software management at IBM.

Chandler sat at an unusual midpoint between these approaches, leaving it without clear signposts to mark the moment of “done” or even to indicate the direction in which completion might lie. But there is another consequence of software development’s halting problem, one that is less pragmatic than existential. David Allen, the Getting Things Done guru, talked about the “gnawing sense of anxiety” suffered by knowledge workers who face mountains of open-ended tasks. Software developers always have more to do; the definition of “done,” even for an interim release or small milestone, is always somewhat arbitrary. In this their work is more like an author’s than a builder’s. “Done” isn’t something that is obvious to an observer. “Done” is something you must decide for yourself. Chandler, obviously, was not done, not even remotely.


pages: 455 words: 133,719

Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time by Brigid Schulte

8-hour work day, affirmative action, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, blue-collar work, Burning Man, business cycle, call centre, cognitive dissonance, David Brooks, deliberate practice, desegregation, DevOps, East Village, Edward Glaeser, epigenetics, fear of failure, feminist movement, financial independence, game design, gender pay gap, glass ceiling, helicopter parent, hiring and firing, income inequality, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, profit maximization, Results Only Work Environment, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, sensible shoes, sexual politics, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Thorstein Veblen, women in the workforce, working poor, Zipcar, éminence grise

And the nature of what we do and how we do it has been completely transformed in less than a century: We’ve morphed as a civilization from the hard physical labor of rural agricultural work to the sedentary chair sitting of urban knowledge workers. That’s a far more stressful life. “Think about the farmer,” Akil tells me. “The farmer can’t control and predict very much either. So why is that any better or worse than being on Wall Street? As a farmer, if there was a freeze that destroyed your crops, that might’ve stressed you, but it wasn’t your fault. But as a knowledge worker, you’re expected to be in charge of everything. And when things go wrong, it is your fault. The thinking is, you could have planned more, or you should have anticipated what went wrong. That combination of having a lot coming at you and of shifting away from physical work—which does help cope with stress—and not even being able to say, ‘It’s not my fault, I surrender to higher forces,’ whether you believe it’s weather or God—that’s been taken away

Factory workers in the United States and in the U.K. worked as many as sixty to seventy hours a week at the time.14 But Ford drew on in-house research that found that after eight hours of work, the typical manual laborer was spent—working less efficiently and making costly mistakes. When Ford cut hours, errors went down, efficiency, productivity, and employee satisfaction went up, as did the company’s profits. He shuttered factories on Saturdays in 1926 for the same reason, and the forty-hour workweek, enshrined in federal law since 1938, was born. But times and work have changed. Unlike manual laborers, knowledge workers have about six good hours of hard mental labor a day, futurist Sara Robinson found in a review of research on work and work hours. Work late for too long, she wrote, and “people get dull and stupid … They make mistakes that they’d never make if they were rested; and fixing those mistakes takes longer because they’re fried.”15 A study of medical interns found that those on long shifts made 36 percent more potentially serious errors than those who worked shorter shifts.16 Research by the Business Roundtable in the 1980s found that companies can get short-term gains by pushing employees to work sixty or seventy hours a week, Robinson reports.

As a working mother friend of mine said, “If there are on-ramps back into the workplace for disgraced politicians like Eliot Spitzer, then why not for parents?” • Understand the neuroscience of how humans work best: pulsing between periods of intense concentration of typically no more than ninety mintues, and breaks to completely change the channel. • Embrace the restorative power of vacation. Allow knowledge workers to daydream or noodle around with an idea without fear of failure. • Draw on the science of human motivation first by giving workers a fair salary and benefits, then allowing them to have greater autonomy, a sense of purpose, and the ability to become masterful at what they do. • Working in a new way does not mean working less. It means working smart. It means a healthier work environment and healthier employees, reduced health-care costs, reduced turnover costs, and reduced absenteeism.


pages: 305 words: 89,103

Scarcity: The True Cost of Not Having Enough by Sendhil Mullainathan

American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Andrei Shleifer, Cass Sunstein, clean water, computer vision, delayed gratification, double entry bookkeeping, Exxon Valdez, fault tolerance, happiness index / gross national happiness, impulse control, indoor plumbing, inventory management, knowledge worker, late fees, linear programming, mental accounting, microcredit, p-value, payday loans, purchasing power parity, randomized controlled trial, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, Richard Thaler, Saturday Night Live, Walter Mischel, Yogi Berra

firefighting organizations have several features in common: We owe our understanding of firefighting and several of the examples to Roger E. Bohn and Ramchandran Jaikumar, Firefighting by Knowledge Workers (Information Storage Industry Center, Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, University of California, 2000). “If you look at our resource allocation on traditional projects”: N. P. Repenning, “Reducing Cycle Time at Ford Electronics, Part II: Improving Product Development,” case study available from the author (1996). 28,000 known bugs: This number is cited in Bohn and Jaikumar, Firefighting by Knowledge Workers. It is actually part of a larger controversy about whether or not Microsoft shipped with 61,000 known bugs. See the terrific discussion at Gripes about Windows 2000, retrieved from http://www.computergripes.com/Windows2000.html#28000bugs.

Princeton undergraduates to play Family Feud in a controlled setting: These studies can be found in Anuj Shah, Sendhil Mullainathan, and Eldar Shafir, “Some Consequences of Having Too Little,” Science 338 (2013): 682–85. present bias: A nice overview of present bias and other models of time discounting can be found in Shane Frederick and George Loewenstein, “Time Discounting and Time Preference: A Critical Review,” Journal of Economic Literature (2002). Because machine uptime was important: R. E. Bohn and R. Jaikumar, Firefighting by Knowledge Workers (Information Storage Industry Center, Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, University of California, 2000), retrieved from http://isic.ucsd.edu/pdf/firefighting.pdf. Steven Covey finds it helpful to classify tasks: S. R. Covey, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (New York: Free Press, 2004). approximately one in four rural bridges: Bridges—Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, retrieved from http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/fact-sheet/bridges.


pages: 168 words: 50,647

The End of Jobs: Money, Meaning and Freedom Without the 9-To-5 by Taylor Pearson

"side hustle", Airbnb, barriers to entry, Ben Horowitz, Black Swan, call centre, cloud computing, commoditize, creative destruction, David Heinemeier Hansson, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, Google Hangouts, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, loss aversion, low skilled workers, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market fragmentation, means of production, Oculus Rift, passive income, passive investing, Peter Thiel, remote working, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, software as a service, software is eating the world, Startup school, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, telemarketer, Thomas Malthus, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, unpaid internship, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web application, Whole Earth Catalog

While the companies who pay the minimum possible wage and nickel and dime their employees may make a quick buck, they rarely seem to last. In Summary (a.k.a. TL;DR) Improved education standards are taking the implementation of existing best practices and globalizing them. Improved communication technology has made it easy for individuals and companies to find, hire, and manage not just industrial workers, but knowledge workers. The number of individuals looking for jobs, hoping to follow someone else’s orders, are growing exponentially. Could your job theoretically be done over an internet connection and phone line? Yet, your job being outsourced isn’t the only threat at hand. Even as globalization moves knowledge jobs overseas, there’s increasing pressure at home. Your Middle Class existence isn’t just being squeezed by overseas workers, it’s being squeezed by technology being developed just down the street. 2 The Acceleration of Technology All That Is Old Is New Again Venture capitalist firms are famous for their investment theses, the basic premise that fuels their investing strategy.

Entrepreneurship is a skill set, a resource that can be acquired and invested in, just like acquiring stock in a company or acquiring knowledge credentials. We think of acquiring knowledge or skills—like product management or sales or marketing—as resources, but we still don’t think of entrepreneurship that way. Right now, there’s no way to measure entrepreneurship. No one would ever write “two years’ experience in entrepreneurship” on their resume. If we imagine a knowledge worker trying to invest in entrepreneurship, there are clear paths to moving from doing knowledge work to doing entrepreneurial work. The chart is admittedly grossly oversimplified and based on a zero sum system indicating the amount each role operates in knowledge work as opposed entrepreneurship. It’s intent is not to necessarily categorize the roles, but to show potential paths into entrepreneurship.


pages: 362 words: 99,063

The Education of Millionaires: It's Not What You Think and It's Not Too Late by Michael Ellsberg

affirmative action, Black Swan, Burning Man, corporate governance, creative destruction, financial independence, follow your passion, future of work, hiring and firing, job automation, knowledge worker, lateral thinking, Lean Startup, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, mega-rich, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, Norman Mailer, Peter Thiel, profit motive, race to the bottom, Sand Hill Road, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, social intelligence, Steve Ballmer, survivorship bias, telemarketer, Tony Hsieh

These people, young and old, read books like The Four-Hour Workweek: Escape 9–5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Tim Ferriss, Escape from Cubicle Nation: From Corporate Prisoner to Thriving Entrepreneur by Pamela Slim, and Career Renegade: How to Make a Great Living Doing What You Love by Jonathan Fields. Daniel Pink, in Free Agent Nation: The Future of Working for Yourself, his 2001 book prophesying the current tidal wave of microentrepreneurialism, small business, and self-employment, calls them “self-employed knowledge workers, proprietors of home-based businesses . . . freelancers and e-lancers, independent contractors and independent professionals, micropreneurs and infopreneurs, part-time consultants . . . on-call troubleshooters, and full-time soloists.”9 These new kinds of opportunities, open to anyone who wants to pursue them, without any formal, traditional, or academic qualifications necessary to compete, have arisen largely because of technology.

Capital and labor, once so intertwined the distinction scarcely mattered, became separate entities. Capitalists owned the equipment. Laborers earned their money by receiving a sliver of the enormous rewards those giant machines produced.”10 Pink argues that in the last decade, in one area of the economy—called “knowledge work”—a shift has occurred as massive and with implications as far-reaching as those during the shift from an agrarian to an industrial society. For knowledge workers in the developed world, the tools of their trade have become so ridiculously cheap that the “means of production” have once again become affordable to individual workers. These workers no longer have to depend on bosses or large organizations to furnish them with the means of production. They can quit the factory-style organizations and become “butchers, bakers, and candlestick makers” once again—that is, digitally connected entrepreneurs and solo-preneurs.

See Meaningful work, creating Ilovemarketing.com Institute for Integrative Nutrition Intelligence, practical versus academic Internet marketing guru online presence, building and self-created business and self-education YourName.com, importance of Investments, bootstrapper’s method IQ, and success IronPort Iteration velocity John Paul Mitchell Systems Johnson, Cameron as college non-graduate success, evolution of Jong, Erica Kaufman, Josh Kawasaki, Guy Keillor, Garrison Kennedy, Dan as college non-graduate direct-response marketing Kerkorkian, Kirk Kern, Frank as college non-graduate direct-response marketing on power of selling success, evolution of Kiyosaki, Robert mentor of on power of selling Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers Knowledge workers, digital Marxism Komisar, Randy on safety versus risk La Flamme, Jena Cheng sales coaching as college non-graduate Deida relationship training direct-response marketing, use of success, evolution of Lalla, Annie and Eben Pagan Langan, Chris LaPorte, Danielle, success, evolution of Laugh-O-Gram Leadership definitions of and impact on many as new marketing as skill of success Lean Startup Machine Lerer, Ben Levchin, Max Leve, Brett Lifelong learning Linchpin concept Listening, importance of Loucks, Vernon Louis Marx and Company Luck, and success Lupton, Amber Lynda Limited McDermid, Hitch Mailer, Norman Maister, David Making a difference.


pages: 339 words: 57,031

From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism by Fred Turner

1960s counterculture, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, back-to-the-land, bioinformatics, Buckminster Fuller, business cycle, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, computer age, conceptual framework, Danny Hillis, dematerialisation, distributed generation, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, future of work, game design, George Gilder, global village, Golden Gate Park, Hacker Ethic, Haight Ashbury, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, market bubble, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, means of production, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, Mother of all demos, new economy, Norbert Wiener, peer-to-peer, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, Productivity paradox, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Richard Stallman, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Hackers Conference, theory of mind, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, Yom Kippur War

I became part of that statistic. I sold the ranch. I didn’t know what I would do for sure after that. But it did occur to me that there was a lot more money in bullshit than there had ever been in bulls and I would get into information. And here I am.69 Barlow’s shift from agricultural work to information work was abrupt, painful, and involuntary. “I did try my personal best to resist conscription as a Knowledge Worker,” he writes, “but I was as culturally doomed as the Tasaday of New Guinea. . . . Yanked from the 19th Century, I found myself . . . tossed unceremoniously onto the doorstep of the 21st.”70 For Barlow, this meant reaching out to his old friends in San Francisco. In 1986, while still in Pinedale, Barlow heard that David Gans, a Bay area disc jockey and connoisseur of the Grateful Dead, and hundreds of other Dead V i r t u a l i t y an d C o m m u n i t y o n t h e W E L L [ 167 ] Heads, were conversing on the WELL.

It’s the ultimate goal of building companies around networked computers, mobile communications, and self-managed teams: to marry the competitive demands of business with the desire for personal satisfaction and democratic participation; to achieve productive coordination without top-down control.” In the pages of Out of Control, the Long Hunter of the Whole Earth Catalog had become an entrepreneur. Journalists picked up on the point too. “The renegade competitor,” wrote the Harvard Business Review, “the lone knowledge worker equipped with a laptop, a modem, and an inspired idea—these are our heroes, the change agents who are reinventing industries, reshaping the economy, creating vast wealth.”63 Almost thirty years earlier, thousands of young, highly educated Americans had tromped off into the wilderness seeking to build an egalitarian, fun-loving world. Today, suggested Kelly, they should look to technology and the economy for satisfaction.

One of the earliest was James Beniger. In Control Revolution, Beniger traced to the late nineteenth century the increasing importance of information to economic life. James W. Cortada, in Making of the Information Society, has recently argued that information has been a key feature of Western and particularly American culture for N o t e s t o Pa g e s 2 4 1 _ 2 5 3 [ 289 ] hundreds of years. For similar arguments on the knowledge worker, see Chandler and Cortada, Nation Transformed by Information. Scholars of a Marxist orientation have been particularly aggressive in challenging the notion that the postindustrial, postmodern, or network society models actually represent a new era in capitalism. For critiques in this vein, see Slack and Fejes, Ideology of the Information Age; Lyon, Information Society; and Garnham, “Information Society Theory as Ideology.”


pages: 398 words: 108,026

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey

agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial independence, knowledge worker, the map is not the territory, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, zero-sum game

--to Rebecca Merrill for her invaluable editing and production assistance, for her inner commitment to the material, and for her skill, sensitivity, and carefulness in fulfilling that commitment, and to her husband, Roger, for his wise, synergistic help. --and to Kay Swim and her son, Gaylord, for their much appreciated vision which contributed to our organization's rapid growth. FOREWORD The world has changed dramatically since The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was first published. Life is more complex, more stressful, more demanding. We have transitioned from the Industrial Age into the Information Knowledge Worker Age - with all of its profound consequences. We face challenges and problems in our personal lives, our families, and our organizations unimagined even one and two decades ago. These challenges are not only of a new order of magnitude, they are altogether different in kind. These sweeping changes in society and rumbling shifts in the digitized global marketplace give rise to a very important question - one I'm asked fairly often: "Are The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People still relevant today?"

Schoolmates, work colleagues, even family members are seen as competitors-the more they win, the less there is for you. Of course we try to appear generous and cheer for others' successes, but inwardly, privately, so many of us are eating our hearts out when others achieve. Many of the great things in the history of our civilization have been achieved by the independent will of a determined soul. But the greatest opportunities and boundless accomplishments of the Knowledge Worker Age are reserved for those who master the art of "we." True greatness will be achieved through the abundant mind that works selflessly - with mutual respect,for mutual benefit. The hunger to be understood. Few needs of the human heart are greater than the need to be understood - to have a voice that is heard, respected, and valued - to have influence. Most believe that the key to influence is communication-getting your point across clearly and speaking persuasively.

They are different in kind--just as significance is different in kind, not indegree, from success. Tapping into the higher reaches of human genius and motivation--what we could call voice--requires a new mindset, a new skill-set, a new tool-set ... a new habit. The 8th Habit, then, is not about adding one more habit to the 7th--one that somehow got forgotten. It's about seeing and harnessing the power of a third dimension to the 7 Habits that meets the central challenge of the new Knowledge Worker Age. How does notoriety affect you? It affects me in different ways. From an ego standpoint, it's flattering. From a teaching standpoint it is humbling, but I must strongly acknowledge that I am not the author of any of these principles and deserve absolutely no recognition. I am not saying this because of a desire to be modest and humble. I am saying this because I believe it--that I, myself, believe it.


pages: 484 words: 104,873

Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future by Martin Ford

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, AI winter, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, artificial general intelligence, assortative mating, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bernie Madoff, Bill Joy: nanobots, business cycle, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Chris Urmson, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, computer age, creative destruction, debt deflation, deskilling, disruptive innovation, diversified portfolio, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, financial innovation, Flash crash, Fractional reserve banking, Freestyle chess, full employment, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gunnar Myrdal, High speed trading, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, liquidity trap, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, McJob, moral hazard, Narrative Science, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, optical character recognition, passive income, Paul Samuelson, performance metric, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post scarcity, precision agriculture, price mechanism, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, rent-seeking, reshoring, RFID, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Sam Peltzman, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, single-payer health, software is eating the world, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, strong AI, Stuxnet, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Future of Employment, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, uber lyft, union organizing, Vernor Vinge, very high income, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce

Big data and predictive algorithms have the potential to transform the nature and number of knowledge-based jobs in organizations and industries across the board. The predictions that can be extracted from data will increasingly be used to substitute for human qualities such as experience and judgment. As top managers increasingly employ data-driven decision making powered by automated tools, there will be an ever-shrinking need for an extensive human analytic and management infrastructure. Whereas today there is a team of knowledge workers who collect information and present analysis to multiple levels of management, eventually there may be a single manager and a powerful algorithm. Organizations are likely to flatten. Layers of middle management will evaporate, and many of the jobs now performed by both clerical workers and skilled analysts will simply disappear. WorkFusion, a start-up company based in the New York City area, offers an especially vivid example of the dramatic impact that white-collar automation is likely to have on organizations.

Watson—as well as the competing systems that are certain to eventually appear—have the potential to revolutionize the way questions are asked and answered, as well as the way information analysis is approached, both internal to organizations and in engagements with customers. There is no escaping the reality, however, that a great deal of the analysis performed by systems of this type would otherwise have been done by human knowledge workers. Building Blocks in the Cloud In November 2013, IBM announced that its Watson system would move from the specialized computers that hosted the system for the Jeopardy! matches to the cloud. In other words, Watson would now reside in massive collections of servers connected to the Internet. Developers would be able to link directly to the system and incorporate IBM’s revolutionary cognitive computing technology into custom software applications and mobile apps.

Even within these top-tier households, income is concentrated to a staggering degree; the number of genuinely wealthy households—those that can survive and continue spending entirely on the basis of their accumulated wealth—is far smaller. During the first year of recovery from the Great Recession, 95 percent of income growth went to just the top 1 percent.20 The top 5 percent is largely made up of professionals and knowledge workers with at least a college degree. As we saw in Chapter 4, however, many of these skilled occupations are squarely in the crosshairs as technology advances. Software automation may eliminate some jobs entirely. In other cases, the jobs may end up being deskilled, so that wages are driven down. Offshoring and the transition to big data–driven management approaches that often require fewer analysts and middle managers loom as other potential threats for many of these workers.


pages: 243 words: 59,662

Free to Focus: A Total Productivity System to Achieve More by Doing Less by Michael Hyatt

"side hustle", Atul Gawande, Cal Newport, Checklist Manifesto, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Frederick Winslow Taylor, informal economy, invention of the telegraph, Jeff Bezos, job automation, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Parkinson's law, remote working, Steve Jobs, zero-sum game

Factories experienced increased efficiency with workers getting more done in less time, but it came at a cost. By limiting employee discretion and freedom, Taylor effectively turned them into manufacturing robots. Taylor died more than a hundred years ago, but we’re still trying to follow the same basic efficiency model: working a lot of hours and doing as many tasks as possible as quickly as we can. The problem is most of us aren’t factory workers; we’re knowledge workers. We’re hired more for our mental output than our physical labor. As such, we often have tremendous discretion over our time and a great deal of autonomy as we go about our daily tasks. While twentieth-century factory workers did the same set of tasks all day every day throughout the week, we are constantly surprised by new challenges, opportunities, and problems. All these things require a tremendous amount of mental energy not only to figure out solutions but sometimes just to keep up.

., 67 Hardy, Benjamin, 218 Hastings, Reed, 71 health, 228 Heinemeier, David, 164 hobbies, 41, 79, 228 Holland, Barbara, 71 Ideal Week, 119, 162, 172–81, 226 Ideal Week template, 182 I Love Lucy (TV program), 25–26 impairment, 70 Information Economy, 13 innovation, and changing environment, 72 instant communication, 207–11 instant-gratification culture, 84 interruptions, 207–11, 226 Isolator, 205–6, 212 Jobs, Steve, 111 Johnson, Paul, 81–82 Jones, Charlie “Tremendous”, 50 journaling, 220 karoshi (death by overwork), 32 Kennedy, John F., 71 King, Stephen, 223 knowledge workers, 28 Koch, Jim, 200, 202 Lewis, Penelope A., 70 liberating truths, 59–63 lifestyle objectives, 38 limiting beliefs, 59–63 “loss of separation,” 184 lunch, 72 MacArthur, Douglas, 71 McCartney, Paul, 99 McKeown, Greg, 183 macro-processing software, 131–32 maintenance, 168, 169 margin, 33, 36, 52, 111, 157, 224, 225, 226 meals, and building relationships, 74 meetings, 197 MegaBatching, 162, 163–66, 172, 180–81 mental health, 83 mentoring, 153 Michel, Alexandra, 65–66 Michelangelo, 21, 100 micro-breaks, 82–83 micromanagers, 149 Miller, Megan Hyatt, 54 mindset, 54 Minor, Dylan, 78 morning ritual, 119 Mortimer, Ian, 223 movement (exercise), 74–77, 195 multitasking, 161–62, 212 music, 217 musicians, 46 Musk, Elon, 67–68 Naish, John, 161, 212 naps, 71 Nashville, 46 natural foods, 73 nature, 82–83 necessary routines, 147–48 Netflix, 71 Newport, Cal, 161–62, 164 Not-to-Do List, 93, 99–100, 113 Nozbe, 202 nutrition, 73 nutritional supplement protocol, 73 offloading tasks, 138, 225–26 Off Stage, 166, 170, 173, 176, 195 OneNote, 127 Opipari, Ben, 75 outdoors, 82–83 overgrowth.


pages: 57 words: 11,522

The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Benoit Mandelbrot, Black Swan, commoditize, knowledge worker, Republic of Letters

They are never the same. – People usually apologize so they can do it again. – Mathematics is to knowledge what an artificial hand is to the real one; some amputate to replace. – Modernity inflicts a sucker narrative on activities; now we “walk for exercise,” not “walk” with no justification; for hidden reasons. – Social media are severely antisocial, health foods are empirically unhealthy, knowledge workers are very ignorant, and social sciences aren’t scientific at all. – For so many, instead of looking for “cause of death” when they expire, we should be looking for “cause of life” when they are still around. – It is those who use others who are the most upset when someone uses them. – If someone gives you more than one reason why he wants the job, don’t hire him. – Failure of second-order thinking: he tells you a secret and somehow expects you to keep it, when he just gave you evidence that he can’t keep it himself


pages: 204 words: 67,922

Elsewhere, U.S.A: How We Got From the Company Man, Family Dinners, and the Affluent Society to the Home Office, BlackBerry Moms,and Economic Anxiety by Dalton Conley

assortative mating, call centre, clean water, commoditize, dematerialisation, demographic transition, Edward Glaeser, extreme commuting, feminist movement, financial independence, Firefox, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Home mortgage interest deduction, income inequality, informal economy, Jane Jacobs, Joan Didion, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, late capitalism, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, mass immigration, McMansion, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, off grid, oil shock, PageRank, Ponzi scheme, positional goods, post-industrial society, post-materialism, principal–agent problem, recommendation engine, Richard Florida, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, statistical model, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Great Moderation, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, transaction costs, women in the workforce, Yom Kippur War

Ditto for the coal miner of the nineteenth century and the farmer of the eighteenth. Yes, there was always pressure to keep up the speed and keep down the error rate, but contrast that with today’s knowledge worker, who needs to be able to multitask, constantly learn new computer programs, and generally adapt to a fluid work flow of highly variable tasks. It’s not that our jobs have necessarily gotten harder, but the increase in variance in our everyday tasks and the fact that they require more mental concentration and cognitive skills may be quite stress-inducing. There is always a new surprise just around the corner for the knowledge worker. The boring jobs that can be delegated to computers have been. Others that can’t have been outsourced to low-wage labor markets (the famous Indian call centers), thanks to telecommunications technologies.


pages: 224 words: 48,804

The Productive Programmer by Neal Ford

anti-pattern, business process, c2.com, continuous integration, database schema, domain-specific language, don't repeat yourself, Firefox, general-purpose programming language, knowledge worker, Larry Wall, Ruby on Rails, side project, type inference, web application, William of Occam

You probably suffer from lots of distractions at work, both from the computer itself and from the outside world. Here you will learn how to enhance your focus with specific tools and approaches to interacting with your computer, as well as ways to make your coworkers leave you alone so that you can quit banging rocks together and get some work done. The goal is to get you back to that dazed but happy state of just having scaled a virtual mountain. Kill Distractions You are a knowledge worker, meaning you are paid for the creative and innovative ideas you produce. Dealing with constant distractions, both at your desk and on your desktop, can threaten your best contributions to your projects. Developers crave a state known as flow, discussed in lots of places (it even has an entire book devoted to it, written by Csikszentmihalyi). All developers know this state: it’s when you are so focused that time disappears, you develop an almost symbiotic relationship with the machine and the problem you are attacking.

Use Project-Based Shortcuts 47 Place your project management folder under one of the Quick Launch buttons in Windows or on the dock in Mac OS X. These two areas don’t support a large number of items, but using them for just a few project consolidator folders makes sense. Multiply Your Monitors Monitors have gotten cheap, and developers can use the extra real estate. It is penny-wise and dollar foolish not to supply developers with ultra-fast computers and dual monitors. Every moment that a knowledge worker stares at an hourglass is pure wasted productivity. Having to work to manage all the overlapping windows on a cramped monitor also wastes time. Multiple monitors allow you to write code on one and debug on the other. Or keep documentation alongside your coding. Having multiple monitors is just the first step, though, because you can also segregate your dual workspaces into a bunch of specialized views using virtual desktops.


pages: 222 words: 74,587

Paper Machines: About Cards & Catalogs, 1548-1929 by Markus Krajewski, Peter Krapp

business process, continuation of politics by other means, double entry bookkeeping, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Gödel, Escher, Bach, index card, Index librorum prohibitorum, information retrieval, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, Jacques de Vaucanson, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, knowledge worker, means of production, new economy, paper trading, Turing machine

(From Institut International de Bibliographie 1914, p. 45.) 116 Chapter 7 Figure 7.2 Dewey’s scheme, displayed by The Bridge. (From Bührer and Saager 1912, p. 4.) May 1911 sees the publication of The Organization of Mental Labor by “The Bridge,” by Karl Wilhelm Bührer and Adolf Saager. The authors’ aim is unequivocal. “The principal purpose of our book was to win Ostwald for our cause”—namely, as a promising financier and mediator for knowledge workers.48 Encouraged by having read Wilhelm Ostwald’s book Energetic Bases of Cultural Studies, the journalist Saager succeeds in translating Bührer’s ideas, despite communicative difficulties, into a joint text, and to establish contact with Ostwald.49 In spring 1911, Saager sends printer’s proofs to Ostwald’s country house in Groß-Bothen.50 Ostwald responds Transatlantic Technology Transfer 117 immediately; they meet and found The Bridge as an International Institute for the Organization of Mental Labor.

Its organizational innovation movement pursues two strategic purposes: (1) An “archive that will introduce a comprehensive illustrated world encyclopedia on single sheets of uniform format.” At first, world knowledge is to be put down by professionals on standardized slips of paper and kept in standard boxes in a world format.60 (2) A “collection of addresses, containing the addresses of all living knowledge workers.”61 Furthermore, they aim to gather pointers to knowledge, which by virtue of their own addressing logic lead to new information. Maybe the ads for Library Bureau and the organizational achievements they promise encourage a belief that with the help of a suitable apparatus and thanks to the considerable time savings that ensue, everything can be stored.62 Operating an index card box tempts people to develop a euphoria of totality—and not only the The Bridge members.


pages: 255 words: 68,829

How PowerPoint Makes You Stupid by Franck Frommer

Albert Einstein, business continuity plan, cuban missile crisis, dematerialisation, hypertext link, invention of writing, inventory management, invisible hand, Just-in-time delivery, knowledge worker, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, new economy, oil shock, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, union organizing

It was better to be completely independent at one’s workplace, having acquired the requisite skills, mastering everything from design to execution. There is an underlying shift from ‘rational legal’ authority, based on the attribution of roles through rules, toward an authority of experts over other experts defined by their actions in the production process: one is judged not on status but by what one does. . . . The place and number of “knowledge workers” or “professional managers” . . . who are defined by their own work, not by supervising the work of others, is growing at the expense of middle management who seem to be the unproductive personnel in the organization of knowledge.22 Thus the sharing of information—still a major question of power for the hierarchy in some companies—in ordinary work meetings has been completely changed by the contribution of new tools fostering collective creation, exchange, collaboration, and debate.

See landscape format; slides: format How to Win Friends and Influence People (Carnegie), 23 human capital, 191, 212 human relations, 140 human resources, 175–80, 186, 188 Hussein, Saddam, 154 IBM, 9 illustration, 92–99 animation, 98 distracts students, 203 clip art, 97 polysemy, 93–95 teachers, 214–15 See also diagrams and graphs An Inconvenient Truth (Gore), 73, 118–24 Apple Macintosh, 120 awards and ticket sales, 119 biographical details, 121 information distraction, 226–27 processing, 10–12, 29 society, 126, 217, 227 Internet Gore, 120 military imagery, 157 Powell’s PowerPoint, 155 schools, 217 search engines, 65 security, 20 teachers and templates, 214–15 use in higher education, 199 iPad, iPhone, and iPod, 116–17, 226 Iran, 158, 161 Iraq, 154–55, 161–64 Israel, 161 Jaffe, Greg, 162 Jeanneret, Yves, 107 Jobs, Steve, 112–18, 227 Macworld Conference Expo, 113–17 Gates videoconference, 115–16 iPod and iPhone, 116–17 The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs, 117 jobs. See economization; education: employment Kawasaki, Guy, 85–86 Knoblauch, Herbert, 108, 126 knowledge society, 126–27, 227 transmission, 108–9, 126–27, 192, 205, 219 knowledge workers. See information processing Kodak, 25 landscape format, 6, 49, 78–79 See also slides: format language, 50–56, 66–75 advertising, 66–72 asyndeton, 69 ellipsis, 68 epideictic, 67 euphemism, 69–70 Anglo-influenced, 51–53 English, 53, 208 decontextualization, 55 impoverishment, 50–51, 223 indefinite article, 54 infinitive verb, 54–55, 59 Newspeak, 50–52, 70, 175, 188 nominalization, 52–53 propaganda, 66, 156, 161 quotation, 72–75 Laval, Christian, 210 layoffs.


pages: 272 words: 66,985

Hyperfocus: How to Be More Productive in a World of Distraction by Chris Bailey

"side hustle", Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Cal Newport, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, Clayton Christensen, correlation does not imply causation, deliberate practice, functional fixedness, game design, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Parkinson's law, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Skype, twin studies, Zipcar

Many of these strategies also work for other messaging apps, such as Slack. Check for new messages only if you have the time, attention, and energy to deal with whatever might have come in. This is a simple trigger that lets you make sure you can actually deal with new messages, instead of getting stressed by the new stuff to which you have to respond. Keep a tally of how often you check for messages. The average knowledge worker checks his email eleven times per hour—eighty-eight times over the span of a day. It’s hard to get any real work done with so many interruptions. The same study found that employees spend an average of just around thirty-five minutes on email per day—which means that email consumes much more attention than it does actual time. Once you become aware of how often you check for new messages, you’ll likely want to reduce that amount of time because of the high cost of interruptions.

When the experiment ended, participants described the experience as liberating, peaceful, and refreshing. While it would be impossible to get rid of email completely, try the tactics above and experiment with what works best for you. Meetings After email, meetings are one of the biggest distractions we face throughout the day. They also consume an inordinate amount of time. A recent study found that, on average, knowledge workers spend 37 percent of their time in meetings—which means that if you work an eight-hour day, you typically spend three hours daily in meetings. Meetings are remarkably costly—gather even a small group of people in a conference room for an hour, and you can easily lose an entire day’s worth of work. That’s not counting the time it takes everyone to switch his or her attention to and from what’s being discussed.


pages: 288 words: 64,771

The Captured Economy: How the Powerful Enrich Themselves, Slow Down Growth, and Increase Inequality by Brink Lindsey

"Robert Solow", Airbnb, Asian financial crisis, bank run, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, Build a better mousetrap, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, collective bargaining, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, endogenous growth, experimental economics, experimental subject, facts on the ground, financial innovation, financial intermediation, financial repression, hiring and firing, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, income inequality, informal economy, information asymmetry, intangible asset, inventory management, invisible hand, Jones Act, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, mass immigration, mass incarceration, medical malpractice, Menlo Park, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Network effects, patent troll, plutocrats, Plutocrats, principal–agent problem, regulatory arbitrage, rent control, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, smart cities, software patent, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, transaction costs, tulip mania, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, Washington Consensus, white picket fence, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce

Since the 1970s, by contrast, a whole host of developments unrelated to rent-seeking have united to widen pay and wealth gaps and to boost the economic returns that accrue to the very rich. Consider the wide range of factors implicated in the growing economic divide between the highly skilled (or, roughly speaking, the college educated) and everybody else. Skill-biased technological change, for instance, means that information technology serves as a valuable complement for skilled “knowledge workers” while substituting for less-skilled manual and clerical workers. The slowdown in the growth of workers’ average years of schooling completed means that the relative supply of skilled workers lags behind relative demand. Mass immigration expands the ranks of low-skill workers even as demand for them has flagged. People increasingly marry within their social class, reducing the marital pathway to social mobility.

In the rapidly growing information technology sector, the presence of strong network effects in information technology guarantees that some industries will feature “winner take all” markets with high levels of concentration. Lobbyists for strong copyright and patent protection for software have further amplified this dynamic by fortifying the winners’ market power with additional barriers to entry. Meanwhile, network effects have also led to geographic concentration, as highly skilled knowledge workers are increasingly congregating together in “human capital hubs.” As a result, a few big coastal cities have come to account for an outsized share of the nation’s productive capacity, as well as its opportunities for upward mobility. Homeowners in those cities would have profited handsomely in any event, but they have multiplied their winnings by pulling up the drawbridge with increasingly restrictive land-use regulations, The opportunistic parasitism of regressive rent-seeking has hit the twenty-first-century American economy at its most vulnerable points—namely, its twin susceptibilities to slowing growth and rising inequality.


pages: 413 words: 119,587

Machines of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robots by John Markoff

"Robert Solow", A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, AI winter, airport security, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bill Duvall, bioinformatics, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, call centre, cellular automata, Chris Urmson, Claude Shannon: information theory, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collective bargaining, computer age, computer vision, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, DARPA: Urban Challenge, data acquisition, Dean Kamen, deskilling, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, Dynabook, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, future of work, Galaxy Zoo, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Grace Hopper, Gunnar Myrdal, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hacker Ethic, haute couture, hive mind, hypertext link, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invention of the wheel, Jacques de Vaucanson, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Conway, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, labor-force participation, loose coupling, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, medical residency, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, Mother of all demos, natural language processing, new economy, Norbert Wiener, PageRank, pattern recognition, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Stallman, Robert Gordon, Rodney Brooks, Sand Hill Road, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, semantic web, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Singularitarianism, skunkworks, Skype, social software, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, strong AI, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tenerife airport disaster, The Coming Technological Singularity, the medium is the message, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, zero-sum game

In 1964 John McCarthy, a mathematician and computer scientist who had coined the term “artificial intelligence,” began designing a set of technologies that were intended to simulate human capabilities, a project he believed could be completed in just a decade. At the same time, on the other side of campus, Douglas Engelbart, who was a dreamer intent on using his expertise to improve the world, believed that computers should be used to “augment” or extend human capabilities, rather than to mimic or replace them. He set out to create a system to permit small groups of knowledge workers to quickly amplify their intellectual powers and work collaboratively. One researcher attempted to replace human beings with intelligent machines, while the other aimed to extend human capabilities. Of course, together, their work defined both a dichotomy and a paradox. The paradox is that the same technologies that extend the intellectual power of humans can displace them as well. In this book, I have attempted to capture the ways in which scientists, engineers, and hackers have grappled with questions about the deepening relationship between human and machine.

In the wake of the 2008 recession, there were indications of a new and broader technology transformation. White-collar employment had been the engine of growth for the U.S. economy since the end of World War II, but now cracks began to appear. What were once solid white-collar jobs began disappearing. Routinized white-collar work was now clearly at risk as the economy began to recover in 2009 in the form of what was described as a “jobless recovery.” Indications were that knowledge workers’ jobs higher up in the economic pyramid were for the first time vulnerable. Economists such as MIT’s David Autor began to pick apart the specifics of the changing labor force and put forward the idea that the U.S. economy was being “hollowed out.” It might continue to grow at the bottom and the top, but middle-class jobs, essential to a modern democracy, were evaporating, he argued. There was mounting evidence that the impact of technology was not just a hollowing out but a “dumbing down” of the workforce.

Today, with online conferences, support systems, and Google, the idea seems trivial, but at the time it was a breakthrough. It had been at the heart of Doug Engelbart’s original NLS system, but as the personal computer had emerged, much of Engelbart’s broader vision had been sidelined as first Xerox PARC and then Apple and Microsoft had cherry-picked his ideas, like the mouse and hypertext, while ignoring his broader mission for an intelligence augmentation system that would facilitate small groups of knowledge workers. Gruber created a software program that automatically generated a living document of the work done by a group of people. Over a couple of weeks he sat down and built a program named Hypermail that would “live” on the same computer that was running a mail server and would generate a threaded copy of an email conversation that could be retrieved from the Web. What emerged was a digital snapshot of the email conversation complete with permanent links that could be bookmarked and archived.


pages: 481 words: 125,946

What to Think About Machines That Think: Today's Leading Thinkers on the Age of Machine Intelligence by John Brockman

agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, clean water, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, constrained optimization, corporate personhood, cosmological principle, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, Danny Hillis, dark matter, discrete time, Douglas Engelbart, Elon Musk, Emanuel Derman, endowment effect, epigenetics, Ernest Rutherford, experimental economics, Flash crash, friendly AI, functional fixedness, global pandemic, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, information trail, Internet of things, invention of writing, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, job automation, Johannes Kepler, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, loose coupling, microbiome, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, natural language processing, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, planetary scale, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Republic of Letters, RFID, Richard Thaler, Rory Sutherland, Satyajit Das, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, social intelligence, speech recognition, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, strong AI, Stuxnet, superintelligent machines, supervolcano, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, Turing machine, Turing test, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y2K

The other is the fear that thinking machines will dominate and ultimately destroy humankind. Both distract from the fact that at the heart of the debate is a very real John Henry moment. In the folktale of the late nineteenth century, the mythical steel-driving man John Henry dies beating a steam-powered hammer during a competition to drill blast holes into a West Virginia mountainside. White-collar and knowledge workers now face a race against being outperformed by machines driven by artificial intelligence. In this case, AI is mainly a synonym for new levels of mainly digital productivity. Which is of course not quite as exciting as either waiting for the moment of Singularity or the advent of doom. At the same time, the reality of AI is not quite as comforting as the realization that machines, if properly handled, will always serve their masters.

Working masses have always been replaceable by efficiency measures or cheaper labor. And no labor is cheaper and more efficient than machine labor. Just like the steam hammer in John Henry’s tale, most digital tools will outperform humans at highly specialized tasks. So of course there will still be a demand for high skills and outstanding talent. No computer will ever replace a scientist, an artist, an innovator. It’s the midlevel white-collar or knowledge worker who will fall behind. As AIs’ efficiencies and skill sets increase, they also become tools of power. Surveillance, warfare, and torture are done much better by an entity not prone to emotions, conflicted values, or fatigue. Still, the danger that hostile or even lethal machines will develop an evil consciousness and turn against humankind is nil. The agency is in the institutions and organizations that will use them—for whatever benign or sinister objective.

The agency is in the institutions and organizations that will use them—for whatever benign or sinister objective. It won’t take the advent of a superior intelligence to turn abstract debates about AI into very real questions of power, values, and societal changes. Technology can initiate and advance historical shifts; it will never be the shift itself. The John Henry moment of the twenty-first century will be neither heroic nor entertaining. There are no grand gestures with which white-collar and knowledge workers can go down fighting. There will be no folk heroes dying in the office park. Today’s John Henry will merely fade into a sad statistic. Undoubtedly calculated by a skillfully thinking machine. MACHINES AREN’T INTO RELATIONSHIPS N. J. ENFIELD Senior staff scientist, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen, the Netherlands; professor of linguistics, University of Sydney; author, The Utility of Meaning When we think of machines that think, we usually think of thinking in the pocket-calculator sense of the word.


pages: 494 words: 116,739

Geek Heresy: Rescuing Social Change From the Cult of Technology by Kentaro Toyama

Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, blood diamonds, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, computer vision, conceptual framework, delayed gratification, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, end world poverty, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, fundamental attribution error, germ theory of disease, global village, Hans Rosling, happiness index / gross national happiness, income inequality, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Khan Academy, Kibera, knowledge worker, liberation theology, libertarian paternalism, longitudinal study, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, microcredit, mobile money, Nelson Mandela, Nicholas Carr, North Sea oil, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, pattern recognition, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, post-industrial society, Powell Memorandum, randomized controlled trial, rent-seeking, RFID, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, school vouchers, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, technoutopianism, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, Upton Sinclair, Walter Mischel, War on Poverty, winner-take-all economy, World Values Survey, Y2K

Anyone committed to supporting these communities must undo the damage of earlier efforts first, before being able to meaningfully engage. 15.In a study with its partner, Voluntary Association for Rural Reconstruction & Appropriate Technology, Digital Green was found to increase annual income by 68 percent, on average, from $144 a year to $242. Some households saw their incomes double. 16.It’s also possible for technology projects to build the institutional capacity required from scratch. Grameen Foundation (2014), a nonprofit I advise that seeks technological innovations for global poverty, did exactly that in its Community Knowledge Worker (CKW) project in Uganda. It identified, recruited, trained, and empowered local villagers to serve as CKWs in their communities. 17.Ramkumar (2008) includes a case study on social audits, including challenges of implementation, as written by a former MKSS member. 18.Veeraraghavan (2013). 19.“Vincent” is a pseudonym used here to protect the boy’s identity. 20.Gamification is a hot trend among tech-minded social activists, but it turns out to be incredibly difficult to design games that people voluntarily play that are also educational or productive.

Probing school success of Asian Americans. New York Times, Sept. 11, 1990, www.nytimes.com/1990/09/11/science/probing-school-success-of-asian-americans.html. ———. (1995). Emotional Intelligence. Bantam Books. GOP Doctors Caucus. (n.d.). Health information technology, http://doctorscaucus.gingrey.house.gov/issues/issue/?IssueID=9947. Grameen Foundation. (2014). Lessons learned, 2009–2014: Community Knowledge Worker Uganda Program. Oct. 2014, http://grameenfoundation.org/sites/grameenfoundation.org/files/resources/Grameen-Foundation_CKW-Lessons-Learned-%282009-2014%29_Executive-Summary_0.pdf. Green, Elizabeth. (2014). Why do Americans stink at math? New York Times Magazine, July 23, 2014, www.nytimes.com/2014/07/27/magazine/why-do-americans-stink-at-math.html. Grenfell, Michael, ed. (2008). Pierre Bourdieu: Key Concepts.

See also Self-help groups Collectivism, individualism and, 93 Colombia: One Laptop Per Child, 8 Communications Arab Spring suppression of, 33–34 cyberbalkanization, 47 history of technologies, 7–8 latent desires driving habits, 40–41 management, 44–46 personal and political interaction, 46–47 telecenters, 105 texting, 25, 56, 69, 235(n33) unintended consequences, 56 See also Mobile phones; Social media Community efforts. See Collective action; Mentorship Community Knowledge Worker (CKW) project, 247(n16) Compartamos Banco (Mexico), 58–60, 66–67, 236(n7) Compassionate class, 188–191, 270(n48). See also Self-transcendence Computer literacy, 9, 17–20, 27–28, 105, 122–124 Computer programming classes, 114–115, 120–121, 125–127, 248(n25) Computers and society. See Technology and society Confucianism, 96, 214, 266(n7) Consequentialist virtue ethics, 213–214, 274–275(n4) Consumer culture, 96–97, 177–178 Consumption capacity, 82–84 Consumption smoothing, 59.


Raw Data Is an Oxymoron by Lisa Gitelman

23andMe, collateralized debt obligation, computer age, continuous integration, crowdsourcing, disruptive innovation, Drosophila, Edmond Halley, Filter Bubble, Firefox, fixed income, Google Earth, Howard Rheingold, index card, informal economy, Isaac Newton, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, knowledge worker, liberal capitalism, lifelogging, longitudinal study, Louis Daguerre, Menlo Park, optical character recognition, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, peer-to-peer, RFID, Richard Thaler, Silicon Valley, social graph, software studies, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, text mining, time value of money, trade route, Turing machine, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, WikiLeaks

The best description of the dataverse from within precipitates nicely from the wonderful observation from Benjamin that Krajewski cites in chapter 6 (this volume): “And even today, as the current scientific method teaches us, the book is an archaic intermediate between two different card index systems. For everything substantial is found in the slip box of the researcher who wrote it and the scholar who studies in it, assimilated into its own card index.” We typically conceive of knowledge as passing from knowledge worker to knowledge worker via the intermediary of the datum. However, as Marx displayed so brilliantly with his M-C-M (money-commodity-money) cycle, we can achieve analytic purchase by looking at C-M-C (which in our era, felicitously, may refer to computer-mediated communication). We can start perhaps by refining the terms of the cycle. Much of our “knowledge” today surpasseth human understanding. Stephen Hawking, in his inaugural lecture for the Lucasian Chair of Physics at Cambridge—once held by Newton, who had all those giants standing on his shoulders—pointed to the day when physicists would not understand the products of their own work.4 With the world of string theory upon us, it is clear that we cannot “think” in the necessary 10+1 dimensions and the complex geometries they entail.


pages: 280 words: 75,820

Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life by Winifred Gallagher

Albert Einstein, Atul Gawande, Build a better mousetrap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, delayed gratification, epigenetics, Frank Gehry, fundamental attribution error, Isaac Newton, knowledge worker, longitudinal study, loss aversion, Mahatma Gandhi, McMansion, music of the spheres, Nelson Mandela, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, Walter Mischel, zero-sum game

The particular way Brown uses attention to organize yet limit his world by enhancing certain targets—hidden cameras—and suppressing competing stimuli is just one example of the complex relationship between identity and attention, from Martha Stewart’s focus on the home to Barack Obama’s concentration on politics. When discussing his favorite targets, Brown also describes the two expressions of the quintessential personality trait—often called “extraversion”—and the different attentional styles that tend to complement them. At one end of this continuum lies the introverted disposition and inward concentration typical of many “knowledge workers” drawn to the big cities where surveillance cameras abound. As Brown says, “Most of them are not really in the world. They’re just hooked into themselves, paying attention to their own thoughts and fears, as well as their cell phones, iPods, and BlackBerries. They walk very, very quickly with their eyes down diagonally, towards people’s shoes. They tunnel through urban space.” A person who has an extraverted personality and an outward focus behaves very differently when out and about.

James, Henry James, William on attentional styles cognitive therapy and on improving attention Langer compared with on length of focus on rapt attention on wisdom Japan, Japanese Jefferson, Thomas Jha, Amishi Johns Hopkins Hospital Johnson, Samuel joy Jung, Carl justice Kabat-Zinn, Jon Kahneman, Daniel bounded rationality and effects of adaptation and fortune cookie maxim and Nobel Prize of personality tests and Kaiping Peng Kant, Immanuel Kaplan, Rachel Kaplan, Stephen Karney, Benjamin kindness Kine, Starlee King, Martin Luther Kismet (robot) knowledge, previous, integration of new information with knowledge workers Kohut, Heinz Langer, Ellen language Lazarus, Richard learning explicit vs. implicit of language leisure decision-making and Leonard, Elmore leverage points Levertov, Denise life, as creation of what is focused on see also meaning; quality of life Limb, Charles Listening to Prozac (Kramer) Locke, John longevity “look for the silver lining” loss risk vs. lottery winners love unconditional LSD Lykken, David McCain, John McClelland, David McGinty, Joe MacLean, Paul magnetoencephalography (MEG) Marceau, Marcel Marcus Aurelius marriage attentional flexibility in balance of power in biased rose-colored vision in demand-withdraw pattern in fundamental attribution errors and housework and self-esteem differences in marriage counseling martial robots Maslow, Abraham Maugham, Somerset meaning meditation and virtues and meditation attentional training and health and mindfulness Meditations (Marcus Aurelius) memory as biased and unpredictable championship competition and improvement of orgasm and remembering vs. experiencing self and Mertz (robot) Merzenich, Michael Mesulam, Marsel meteoric mode of paying attention Meyer, David Michelangelo Michigan, University of Mies van der Rohe, Ludwig Milarepa Miller, Arthur Milton, John mind “mind/brain problem” mindfulness meditation and mindfulness-based stress reduction program (MBSR) Mindless Eating (Wansink) mind-wandering Mischel, Walter modafinil monks Morrison, Toni mothers motivation ADHD and dieting and emotions and grit and self-esteem and unconscious willpower and movies see also specific movies Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire (MPQ) multitasking Murray, Henry Murray, Sandra music, musicians alertness and childhood experience of creativity and leisure and mystery moods names, forgetting of narcissism National Institutes of Health nature motivation and see also genes, genetics negativity bias theory Neisser, Ulric Nelson, Horatio nervous system neurons, mirror neuroscience Newton, Isaac New York, N.Y.


pages: 267 words: 72,552

Reinventing Capitalism in the Age of Big Data by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, Thomas Ramge

accounting loophole / creative accounting, Air France Flight 447, Airbnb, Alvin Roth, Atul Gawande, augmented reality, banking crisis, basic income, Bayesian statistics, bitcoin, blockchain, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, centralized clearinghouse, Checklist Manifesto, cloud computing, cognitive bias, conceptual framework, creative destruction, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frederick Winslow Taylor, fundamental attribution error, George Akerlof, gig economy, Google Glasses, information asymmetry, interchangeable parts, invention of the telegraph, inventory management, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, land reform, lone genius, low cost airline, low cost carrier, Marc Andreessen, market bubble, market design, market fundamentalism, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, multi-sided market, natural language processing, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, offshore financial centre, Parag Khanna, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price anchoring, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, random walk, recommendation engine, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sam Altman, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, smart grid, smart meter, Snapchat, statistical model, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, The Future of Employment, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, transaction costs, universal basic income, William Langewiesche, Y Combinator

Some months earlier, halfway around the world, in Stuttgart, Germany, employees of the automobile manufacturer Daimler were asked to give up their customary offices—but for a very different reason. Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche announced a radical restructuring of his company, a symbol of German corporate conservatism, and its traditional top-down management culture. His goal was to have 60,000 employees—around 20 percent of Daimler’s global workforce—operate outside their former reporting lines and corporate silos within one year. Knowledge workers at Mercedes-Benz’s parent company weren’t laid off; they were asked to become part of a reshaped organization with flexible teams and less hierarchy. Zetsche is a tall, slim man with a background in electrical engineering. He is easy to recognize, thanks to his bushy mustache and his sense of humor. Confronted with potential disruption by new competitors such as Tesla and its Chinese counterparts, facing game-changing advances in technology, such as self-driving cars, and finding himself up against novel business models, such as ride-hailing services, the Daimler head ordered his organization to shift into start-up mode.

Their return on investment within two years is much faster than for heavy machine-based automation in manufacturing. Fukoku concedes that experienced employees will still have to check and approve the decisions the new system will suggest, but Fukoku is already looking into installing another machine learning system to do this double-checking. For decades, tech pundits have claimed that artificial intelligence will replace human knowledge workers. It always seemed possible, but it has rarely happened. Even routine clerical decisions at insurance companies weren’t standardized and simple enough to automate with artificial intelligence systems based on fixed rules. But artificial intelligence has evolved—from systems based on general rules to learning ones—trained on massive amounts of data. With Fukoku’s switch to Watson, automated decision-making for routine claims has reached its Kitty Hawk moment.


pages: 255 words: 75,172

Sleeping Giant: How the New Working Class Will Transform America by Tamara Draut

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, always be closing, American ideology, battle of ideas, big-box store, blue-collar work, collective bargaining, creative destruction, David Brooks, declining real wages, deindustrialization, desegregation, Detroit bankruptcy, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, ending welfare as we know it, Ferguson, Missouri, financial deregulation, full employment, immigration reform, income inequality, invisible hand, job satisfaction, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, mass incarceration, minimum wage unemployment, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, obamacare, occupational segregation, payday loans, pink-collar, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Powell Memorandum, profit motive, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, shared worldview, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trickle-down economics, union organizing, upwardly mobile, War on Poverty, white flight, women in the workforce, young professional

The rest of America’s largest occupations are retail salespeople, cashiers, food service and prep workers, and janitors.10 Contrary to popular opinion, most of these jobs are not filled by teenagers but by adults who are trying to support themselves and their families with this work. Despite the elite’s fixation on entrepreneurship and knowledge workers, America is powered by wage-earners who punch the clock, wear uniforms, and don’t remotely have any power to “lean in” to climb the corporate ladder. For decades now we’ve been sold the idea that a growing army of knowledge workers, innovating and ideating in amenity-rich office parks, hold the key to our nation’s prosperity. Column after column written by the likes of Thomas Friedman and David Brooks argue that the future success of our economy rests on cultivating skills such as creative problem-solving and critical thinking, with a special affinity for fields in science, technology, and engineering.


pages: 280 words: 71,268

Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World With OKRs by John Doerr

Albert Einstein, Bob Noyce, cloud computing, collaborative editing, commoditize, crowdsourcing, Firefox, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Google X / Alphabet X, Haight Ashbury, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, PageRank, Paul Buchheit, Ray Kurzweil, risk tolerance, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, subscription business, web application, Yogi Berra, éminence grise

He sought to “create an environment that values and emphasizes output” and to avoid what Drucker termed the “activity trap”: “[S]tressing output is the key to increasing productivity, while looking to increase activity can result in just the opposite.” On an assembly line, it’s easy enough to distinguish output from activity. It gets trickier when employees are paid to think. Grove wrestled with two riddles: How can we define and measure output by knowledge workers? And what can be done to increase it? Grove was a scientific manager. He read everything in the budding fields of behavioral science and cognitive psychology. While the latest theories offered “a nicer way to get people to work” than in Henry Ford’s heyday, controlled university experiments “simply would not show that one style of leadership was better than another. It was hard to escape the conclusion that no optimal management style existed.”

In nearly every respect, the new method negated the old: MBOs vs. OKRs MBOs Intel OKRs “What” “What” and “How” Annual Quarterly or Monthly Private and Siloed Public and Transparent Top-down Bottom-up or Sideways (~50%) Tied to Compensation Mostly Divorced from Compensation Risk Averse Aggressive and Aspirational By 1975, when I arrived at Intel, Grove’s OKR system was in full swing. Every knowledge worker in the company formulated monthly individual objectives and key results. Within days of the iOPEC seminar, my supervisor directed me to do the same. I’d been put to work writing benchmarks for the 8080, Intel’s latest entry in the 8-bit microprocessor marketplace, where it reigned supreme. My goal was to show how our chip was faster and generally beat the competition. My Intel OKRs are mostly lost to the pre-cloud sands of time, but I’ll never forget the gist of my first one: OBJECTIVE Demonstrate the 8080’s superior performance as compared to the Motorola 6800.


Howard Rheingold by The Virtual Community Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier-Perseus Books (1993)

Apple II, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, commoditize, conceptual framework, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, experimental subject, George Gilder, global village, Hacker Ethic, Haight Ashbury, Howard Rheingold, HyperCard, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, license plate recognition, loose coupling, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mitch Kapor, packet switching, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, profit motive, RAND corporation, Ray Oldenburg, rent control, RFC: Request For Comment, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, telepresence, The Great Good Place, The Hackers Conference, urban decay, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, young professional

Increasingly, many people who paint houses or build boats or work in an office or hospital or sell real estate, but who are curious about new cultural phenomena and not afraid of using a computer keyboard to express themselves, are mixing it up with the knowledge workers. People who work for themselves, whether it is with their hands or their symbols, have been plugging into the Net for the kind of tactical and emotional support others get at the office or factory. Since so many members of virtual communities are workers whose professional standing is based on what they know, virtual communities can be practical instruments. If you need specific information or an expert opinion or a pointer to a resource, a virtual community is like a living encyclopedia. Virtual communities can help their members, whether or not they are information-related workers, to cope with information overload. The problem with the information age, especially for students and knowledge workers who spend their time immersed in the info flow, is that there is too much information available and few effective filters for sifting the key data that are useful and interesting to us as individuals.

He has a wraparound audio console in front of him--the control center for his radio production. Studio speakers are on either side, focused on the one chair in the middle of all the equipment. A television is mounted at eye level, above the audio monitor. A telephone is at his right hand. And directly in front of him is the computer and modem. David Gans marinates himself in media for a living. Not exactly what Peter Drucker envisioned when he coined the term knowledge worker, I'd bet. David Gans, like a lot of others these days, is multitasking. The WELL is just part of the information flow. Then there is Mandel , who appears at first glance to better fit the image of the information-age specialist. He brought some kind 26-04-2012 21:42 howard rheingold's | the virtual community 15 de 27 http://www.rheingold.com/vc/book/2.html of intellectual respectability to the high-tech bull session.


pages: 72 words: 21,361

Race Against the Machine: How the Digital Revolution Is Accelerating Innovation, Driving Productivity, and Irreversibly Transforming Employment and the Economy by Erik Brynjolfsson

"Robert Solow", Amazon Mechanical Turk, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, autonomous vehicles, business cycle, business process, call centre, combinatorial explosion, corporate governance, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, hiring and firing, income inequality, intangible asset, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Loebner Prize, low skilled workers, minimum wage unemployment, patent troll, pattern recognition, Paul Samuelson, Ray Kurzweil, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, self-driving car, shareholder value, Skype, too big to fail, Turing test, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, wealth creators, winner-take-all economy, zero-sum game

Instead, it's an ongoing process of creative destruction; innovators use both new and established technologies to make deep changes at the level of the task, the job, the process, even the organization itself. And these changes build and feed on each other so that the possibilities offered really are constantly expanding. This has been the case for as long as businesses have been using computers, even when we were still in the front half of the chessboard. The personal computer, for example, democratized computing in the early 1980s, putting processing power in the hands of more and more knowledge workers. In the mid-1990s two major innovations appeared: the World Wide Web and large-scale commercial business software like enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) systems. The former gave companies the ability to tap new markets and sales channels, and also made available more of the world’s knowledge than had ever before been possible; the latter let firms redesign their processes, monitor and control far-flung operations, and gather and analyze vast amounts of data.


pages: 300 words: 79,315

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen

Albert Einstein, asset allocation, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, Everything should be made as simple as possible, George Santayana, index card, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Ralph Waldo Emerson, rolodex

The Real Work of Knowledge Work Welcome to the real-life experience of “knowledge work,” and a profound operational principle: You have to think about your stuff more than you realize but not as much as you’re afraid you might. As Peter Drucker has written, “In knowledge work . . . the task is not given; it has to be determined. ‘What are the expected results from this work?’ is . . . the key question in making knowledge workers productive. And it is a question that demands risky decisions. There is usually no right answer; there are choices instead. And results have to be clearly specified, if productivity is to be achieved.” The ancestor of every action is a thought. —Ralph Waldo Emerson Most people have a resistance to initiating the burst of energy that it will take to clarify the real meaning, for them, of something they have let into their world, and to decide what they need to do about it.

They were partial reminders of a lot of things that were unresolved and as yet untranslated into outcomes and actions—that is, the real outlines and details of what the list-makers had to “do.” We need to transform all the “stuff” we’re trying to organize into actionable stuff we need to do. “Stuff” is not inherently a bad thing. Things that command our attention, by their very nature, usually show up as “stuff.” But once “stuff” comes into our lives and work, we have an inherent commitment to ourselves to define and clarify its meaning. That’s our responsibility as knowledge workers; if “stuff” were already transformed and clear, our value, other than physical labor, would probably not be required. At the conclusion of one of my seminars, a senior manager of a major biotech firm looked back at the to-do lists she had come in with and said, “Boy, that was an amorphous blob of undoability!” That’s the best description I’ve ever heard of what passes for organizing lists in most personal systems.


pages: 252 words: 78,780

Lab Rats: How Silicon Valley Made Work Miserable for the Rest of Us by Dan Lyons

Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Apple II, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, business process, call centre, Clayton Christensen, clean water, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, cryptocurrency, David Heinemeier Hansson, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, full employment, future of work, gig economy, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, hiring and firing, housing crisis, income inequality, informal economy, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, job-hopping, John Gruber, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, loose coupling, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, Menlo Park, Milgram experiment, minimum viable product, Mitch Kapor, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, new economy, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Paul Graham, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, precariat, RAND corporation, remote working, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, Ruby on Rails, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, Skype, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, software is eating the world, Stanford prison experiment, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, TaskRabbit, telemarketer, Tesla Model S, Thomas Davenport, Tony Hsieh, Toyota Production System, traveling salesman, Travis Kalanick, tulip mania, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, universal basic income, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator, young professional

Some are business school professors who dabble on the side. Others make a living as management coaches, private gurus to powerful CEOs. After Frederick Taylor came Peter Drucker, an Austrian-born intellectual whose thirty-nine books, including Concept of the Corporation (1946) and The Practice of Management (1954), established him as “the father of modern management.” Drucker was a trained economist and respected academic who coined the term knowledge worker. He loved Taylor and ranked him above all other business thinkers. He shared Taylor’s love of quantification and data gathering. “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it” is perhaps Drucker’s most famous quote. Later came Michael Porter, a Harvard business professor who claimed to have developed a methodology that would enable companies to create sustainable advantages using his Five Forces Framework.

Management Science Meets the Information Age Twentieth-century Taylorite methodologies like Six Sigma, Lean Manufacturing, and the Toyota Production System were developed for manufacturing physical things—cars, airplanes, lawn furniture, whatever. But now we’re in the Information Age, and most of us work with our brains, not our hands. Of course, with the rise of the Internet, clever management consultants started wondering if you could create a system that would optimize the productivity of knowledge workers and impose rigor and discipline on tasks like writing software code. And hey, if you could develop a scientific system for writing software, why not apply that to every aspect of running a company? Two new forms of Taylorism attempt to do that. The biggest is Agile, a management fad that has swept the corporate world and morphed into what some call a movement but is more like widespread mental illness.


pages: 336 words: 83,903

The Refusal of Work: The Theory and Practice of Resistance to Work by David Frayne

anti-work, basic income, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, call centre, clockwatching, David Graeber, deindustrialization, deskilling, future of work, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, McJob, means of production, moral panic, new economy, post-work, profit motive, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, unpaid internship, working poor, young professional

Futurologists forecasted the advent of a new ‘knowledge economy’, which would see a shift away from the standardised manual work of old, towards a higher concentration of smart jobs in the service and computer-based industries (Bell, 1973). Now a political orthodoxy, the notion of a new ‘knowledge economy’ was first celebrated by economists and sociologists in the 1960s, when it was generally believed that the future prosperity of nations would depend on their ability to produce intelligent, knowledgeable workers for a new era of work. Post-industrial forms of employment would help reintroduce the ‘human factor’ into work, and jobs would no longer simply be about efficiency and obeying orders; they would draw on the more distinctively human qualities such as social competence, cognitive ability, practical experience, or consciousness of responsibility, offering workers new opportunities to feel morally invested in their work (Offe, 1985: 137–8).

Bain (1999) ‘“An Assembly-Line in the Head”: Work and Employee Relations in the Call Centre’, Industrial Relations Journal, 30, 2, pp 101–117. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1468-2338.00113 Terkel, S. (2004) Working, New York, London: The New Press. (Original work published 1972.) Thompson, E. P. (1967) ‘Time, Work-Discipline and Industrial Capitalism’, Past & Present, 38, 1, pp 56–97. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/past/38.1.56 Thompson, E. P. (1976) ‘Romanticism, Moralism and Utopianism: The Case of William Morris’, New Left Review, 99, pp 83–111. Thompson, P., C. Warhurst and G. Callaghan (2001) ‘Ignorant Theory and Knowledgeable Workers: Interrogating the Connections Between Knowledge, Skills and Services’, Journal of Management Studies, 38, 7, pp 923–942. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-6486.00266 Thoreau, H. (1962) ‘Life Without Principle’, in H. Thoreau, Walden and Other Writings, edited by J. Krutch, New York: Bantam Books. Toynbee, P. (2003) Hard Work: Life in Low-Pay Britain, London: Bloomsbury. Trade Union Congress (2013) ‘“Total” Unemployment in the UK is Nearly Five Million – Almost Double the Official Figures’, 5 September (available at: www.tuc.org.uk/economic-issues/economic-analysis/labour-market/%E2%80%98total-unemployment-uk-nearly-five-million-%E2%80%93-almost).


pages: 301 words: 89,076

The Globotics Upheaval: Globalisation, Robotics and the Future of Work by Richard Baldwin

agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, commoditize, computer vision, Corn Laws, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, declining real wages, deindustrialization, deskilling, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Downton Abbey, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, facts on the ground, future of journalism, future of work, George Gilder, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, hiring and firing, impulse control, income inequality, industrial robot, intangible asset, Internet of things, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, knowledge worker, laissez-faire capitalism, low skilled workers, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, mass incarceration, Metcalfe’s law, new economy, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, Ponzi scheme, post-industrial society, post-work, profit motive, remote working, reshoring, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, social intelligence, sovereign wealth fund, standardized shipping container, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, telepresence, telepresence robot, telerobotics, Thomas Malthus, trade liberalization, universal basic income

Thus there will be a lot of substitution of AI for humans, but since the amount of work is exploding, the number of humans employed in such operations will expand. Here AI shouldn’t be viewed as a straight-out job destroyer since, indeed, the only alternative to employing AI would be to ignore the data (as is often the case even today). “People who worry about job losses to automation tend to overlook the unprecedented data explosion businesses are experiencing, now accelerating out of knowledge workers’ control and demanding automation to deal with it,” write London School of Economics professors Leslie Willcocks and Mary Lacity.13 Many of the firms that the professors studied have already adopted RPA solutions, and yet they have promised their workers that the robots would not lead to any layoffs—even if the RPAs meant that there would be no new hires in the department. A British utility, studied by Willcocks and Lacity, “hired” more than three hundred RPAs to wade through three million transactions per quarter.

World Economic Forum, “The Future of Jobs Employment, Skills and Workforce Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” January 2016. 11. Masayuki Morikawa, “Who Are Afraid of Losing Their Jobs to Artificial Intelligence and Robots? Evidence from a Survey,” RIETI Discussion Paper 17-E-069, 2017. 12. Pew Research Center, “AI, Robotics, and the Future of Jobs,” August 2014. 13. Mary C. Lacity and Leslie Willcocks, “What Knowledge Workers Stand to Gain from Automation,” Harvard Business Review, June 19, 2015. 14. Rita Brunk, “The ABC of RPA, Part 5: What Is the Cost of Automation and How Do I Justify It to the Leadership Team?” Genfour.com, July 21, 2016. 15. Patrick Clark and Kim Bhasin, “Amazon’s Robot War Is Spreading,” Bloomberg, April 5, 2017. 16. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “May 2017 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates.” 17.


pages: 316 words: 87,486

Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People? by Thomas Frank

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, American ideology, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, blue-collar work, Burning Man, centre right, circulation of elites, Clayton Christensen, collective bargaining, Credit Default Swap, David Brooks, deindustrialization, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial innovation, Frank Gehry, full employment, George Gilder, gig economy, Gini coefficient, income inequality, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, mandatory minimum, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, mass immigration, mass incarceration, McMansion, microcredit, mobile money, moral panic, mortgage debt, Nelson Mandela, new economy, obamacare, payday loans, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, pre–internet, profit maximization, profit motive, race to the bottom, Republic of Letters, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, TaskRabbit, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, Travis Kalanick, Uber for X, union organizing, urban decay, women in the workforce, Works Progress Administration, young professional

This is why we still find advertising by lawyers and doctors somewhat off-putting, and why Americans were once shocked to learn that radio personalities took money to play records they didn’t genuinely like: because professionals are supposed to answer to a spirit more noble than personal gain.7 With the rise of the postindustrial economy in the last few decades, the range of professionals has exploded. To use the voguish term, these are “knowledge workers,” and many of them don’t fit easily into the old framework. They are often employees rather than independent practitioners, taking orders from some corporate manager instead of spending their lives in private practice. These modern professionals aren’t workers per se, and they aren’t capitalists either, strictly speaking. Some professions share certain features with these other groups, however.

The Boston area has all the ancillary advantages to show for it: a highly educated population, an unusually large number of patents, and more Nobel laureates than any other city in the country.7 Harvard University, the country’s oldest institution of higher learning, is actually mentioned in Massachusetts’s 1780 constitution, a document which quaintly declares the commonwealth’s interest in promoting “the republic of Letters.” These days, all Americans are interested in higher ed, but not because we want better poets and theologians. We love our universities because we believe they carry a straight-up payoff in dollars. Here, too, Massachusetts is the model. The Boston area has prospered fabulously as knowledge workers have become the country’s dominant cohort. In every sort of lab-coat and starched-shirt pursuit the city is well-represented: it has R&D; it has law firms; it has investment banks; it has management consulting; it has a remarkable concentration of life-science businesses. The coming of post-industrial society* has treated this most ancient of American cities extremely well. Massachusetts routinely occupies the number one spot on the previously mentioned State New Economy Index, a measure of how “knowledge-based, globalized, entrepreneurial, IT-driven and innovation-based” a place happens to be.


pages: 308 words: 84,713

The Glass Cage: Automation and Us by Nicholas Carr

Airbnb, Airbus A320, Andy Kessler, Atul Gawande, autonomous vehicles, Bernard Ziegler, business process, call centre, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Charles Lindbergh, Checklist Manifesto, cloud computing, computerized trading, David Brooks, deliberate practice, deskilling, digital map, Douglas Engelbart, drone strike, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Flash crash, Frank Gehry, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, global supply chain, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, High speed trading, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jacquard loom, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, natural language processing, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, place-making, plutocrats, Plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, software is eating the world, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, technoutopianism, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, turn-by-turn navigation, US Airways Flight 1549, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, William Langewiesche

In the workplace, automation’s focus on enhancing speed and efficiency—a focus determined by the profit motive rather than by any particular concern for people’s well-being—often has the effect of removing complexity from jobs, diminishing the challenge they present and hence the engagement they promote. Automation can narrow people’s responsibilities to the point that their jobs consist largely of monitoring a computer screen or entering data into prescribed fields. Even highly trained analysts and other so-called knowledge workers are seeing their work circumscribed by decision-support systems that turn the making of judgments into a data-processing routine. The apps and other programs we use in our private lives have similar effects. By taking over difficult or time-consuming tasks, or simply rendering those tasks less onerous, the software makes it even less likely that we’ll engage in efforts that test our skills and give us a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.

(quiz show), 118–19, 121 Jobless Future, The (Aronowitz and DiFazio), 27–28 jobs, 14–17, 27–33, 85, 193 automation’s altering of, 67, 112–20 blue-collar, 28, 109 creating, 31, 32, 33 growth of, 28, 30, 32 loss of, 20, 21, 25, 27, 28, 30, 31, 40, 59, 115–18, 227 middle class, 27, 31, 32, 33n white-collar, 28, 30, 32, 40, 109 Jobs, Steve, 194 Jones, Michael, 132, 136–37, 151 Kasparov, Garry, 12 Katsuyama, Brad, 171 Kay, Rory, 58 Kelly, Kevin, 153, 225, 226 Kennedy, John, 27, 33 Kessler, Andy, 153 Keynes, John Maynard, 26–27, 66, 224, 227 Khosla, Vinod, 153–54 killing, robots and, 184, 185, 187–93 “Kitty Hawk” (Frost), 215 Klein, Gary, 123 Knight Capital Group, 156 know-how, 74, 76, 115, 122–23 knowledge, 74, 76, 77, 79, 80–81, 84, 85, 111, 121, 123, 131, 148, 153, 206, 214, 215 design, 144 explicit (declarative), 9, 10–11, 83 geographic, 128 medicine and, 100, 113, 123 tacit (procedural), 9–11, 83, 105, 113, 144 knowledge workers, 17, 148 Kool, Richard, 228–29 Korzybski, Alfred, 220 Kroft, Steve, 29 Krueger, Alan, 30–31 Krugman, Paul, 32–33 Kurzweil, Ray, 181, 200 labor, 227 abridging of, 23–25, 28–31, 37, 96 costs of, 18, 20, 31, 175 deskilling of, 106–12 division of, 106–7, 165 intellectualization of, 118 in “Mowing,” 211–14 strife, 37, 175 see also jobs; work Labor and Monopoly Capital (Braverman), 109–10 Labor Department, U.S., 66 labor unions, 25, 37, 59 Langewiesche, William, 50–51, 170 language, 82, 121, 150 Latour, Bruno, 204, 208 lawn mowers, robotic, 185 lawyers, law, 12, 116–17, 120, 123, 166 learning, 72–73, 77, 82, 84, 88–90, 175 animal studies and, 88–89 medical, 100–102 Lee, John, 163–64, 166, 169 LeFevre, Judith, 14, 15, 18 leisure, 16, 25, 27, 227 work vs., 14–16, 18 lethal autonomous robots (LARs), 188–93 Levasseur, Émile, 24–25 Leveson, Nancy, 155–56 Levesque, Hector, 121 Levinson, Stephen, 101 Levy, Frank, 9, 10 Lewandowsky, Stephan, 74 Lex Machina, 116–17 Licklider, J.


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The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism by Jeremy Rifkin

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, active measures, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, autonomous vehicles, back-to-the-land, big-box store, bioinformatics, bitcoin, business process, Chris Urmson, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, Community Supported Agriculture, Computer Numeric Control, computer vision, crowdsourcing, demographic transition, distributed generation, en.wikipedia.org, Frederick Winslow Taylor, global supply chain, global village, Hacker Ethic, industrial robot, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), intermodal, Internet of things, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, longitudinal study, Mahatma Gandhi, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, mass immigration, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, natural language processing, new economy, New Urbanism, nuclear winter, Occupy movement, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, phenotype, planetary scale, price discrimination, profit motive, QR code, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Stallman, risk/return, Ronald Coase, search inside the book, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, social web, software as a service, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, the built environment, The Nature of the Firm, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, transaction costs, urban planning, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, WikiLeaks, working poor, zero-sum game, Zipcar

Perlow says that while brick-and-mortar retail will not disappear, in “ten years hence [the] retail footprint will be a shadow of its former self and heavy competition from online will allow only the strongest brick-and-mortar businesses to survive.”32 As in other industries where automation is quickly reducing human labor, virtual retailing is following suit. At best we can say that the future does not look good for the 4.3 million workers in brick-and-mortar retail as we move closer to near zero marginal labor costs and a near workerless world.33 Even Knowledge Workers are Expendable By 2005, the anecdotal evidence of automation replacing workers in the manufacturing and service industries was no longer an object of curiosity. Automation had become pervasive. Everywhere we turned, it seemed, workers had disappeared and we found ourselves surrounded by intelligent-machine surrogates talking to us, listening to us, directing us, advising us, doing business with us, entertaining us, and watching over us.

Bill Herr, an attorney at a U.S. chemical company who used to pack an entire army of lawyers in an auditorium to read documents for weeks at a time, says that “from a legal staffing viewpoint, it means that a lot of people who used to be allocated to conduct document review are no longer able to be billed out.”34 Mike Lynch, founder of Autonomy, another eDiscovery firm, calculated that with the new search software, one lawyer can do the work of 500 lawyers, and with greater accuracy. Using eDiscovery software, Herr found only 60 percent accuracy when attorneys were doing the research, leading him to gripe: “Think about how much money had been spent to be slightly better than a coin toss.”35 Very few professional skills are being spared the long arm of IT and Big Data–crunching by algorithms. Knowledge workers of every stripe and variety—radiologists, accountants, middle managers, graphic designers, and even marketers—are already feeling the heat as pattern-recognition software begins to penetrate every professional field. Mike McCready is the head of a startup company called Music Xray, a firm that uses Big Data and algorithms to identify potential musical hits. The company, which has secured recording contracts for more than 5,000 artists in less than three years, uses sophisticated software to compare the structure of a song to songs previously recorded to assess its potential to break out and hit the charts.

., 193–194 Frydman, Gilles, 242 Gaia hypothesis, 184 Gandhi, Mahatma, 104–108 Gates, Bill, 171, 174 GDP, 17, 20–22, 54, 74, 123, 129, 240, 266 General Electric (GE), 13, 14, 54, 73–74, 165, 210, 234 General Motors, 53, 54, 228–230 General Public Licenses (GPL), 94, 175–176 Germany and cooperatives, 213–216 flood in, 287 and Google, 201 and renewable energy, 82–83, 101, 141, 253, 257 and 3D printing, 101–102 Gershenfeld, Neil, 94 Gillespie, Tarleton, 203 Girsky, Stephen, 228–229 globalization versus reopening the global commons, 187–192 GM, teams up with RelayRides, 228–229 GNU operating system, 174–176 God of oil. see Hall, Andy Google cashes in on selling Big Data, 199–200 and control of the U.S. media market, 54 and driverless vehicles, 230 energy usage, 85 favors free Wi-Fi connection, 148 market share and revenue generated by, 201 as natural monopoly, 202–205 Ngram Viewer, 18 primary revenue stream is weakening, 251 as tracking tool, 245 Gore, Al, 219 Gorenflo, Neal, 238 Gou, Terry, 124 “The Governing of the Commons” (Ostrom), 158–162 Gram Power, 103–104 Green Button initiative, 146 Great Chain of Being, 30, 58–59, 61 Great Recession, 20, 122–129, 233, 255–262, 281–282 green feed-in tariff(s), 139, 206 Guardian, 104, 116 guilds by trade, 36–37 Gutenberg, Johannes, 35–37 hacker(s) connotations of the term, 93 and cyberterrorists, 291–292 and environmentalist(s), 170–172, 187–188 and the Free Culture Movement, 173–174 and the Makers Movement, 99–104 and 3D printing, 95 Hall, Andy, 87 Hansen, James, 287 Happiness: Lessons from a New Science (Layard), 277 Haque, Umair, 253 Hardin, Garrett, 155–159 Hazen, Paul, 213 healthcare, 13, 74, 130, 240–247 hedonistic treadmill, 276 Hegel, Georg Friedrich, 279, 301 Heilbroner, Robert, 5, 105 Herr, Bill, 129 higher education. see massive open online courses (MOOCs) The High Price of Materialism (Kasser), 277 high-tech Armageddon. see cyber attacks/cyberterrorism Hoch, Dan, 243–244 Hotelling, Harold, 136–137, 150, 206–211 how best to judge economic success, 20–21 Hoyt, Robert, 58 human race empathetic sensibility of, 278–286, 301 and Enlightenment, 60–65 and human nature through a capitalist lens, 57–65 liberating the, 7, 70 and ostracism, 163 rethinking salvation, 58–59 what makes us happy, 276–285 Hume, David, 62, 308 hybrid economy. see capitalism; Collaborative Commons IBM, 13, 14, 80, 130, 234, 250 infofacture vs. manufacture, 90 Infrastructure: The Social Value of Shared Resources (Frischmann), 193–194 Integrated Transportation Provider Services (ITPS), 228 Intel, 79, 148 Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), 195–196 the Internet of Everything, 14, 73 the Internet generation, 132, 145, 179, 226, 230 the Internet of Things (IoT), 11–16, 65 and Big Data. see Big Data and the chief productivity officer (CPO), 15 as a double-edged sword, 78, 267 and healthcare. see healthcare made up of, 11, 14–15 and near zero marginal cost society, 73–78 negatives associated with, 14 obstacles that slowed the deployment of, 74 and smart cities. see smart cities as source of employment, 267–268 and use of sensors, 11–13, 73–74, 143, 219, 230 Internet of Things European Research Cluster, 11 infrastructure, requirements of, 14 Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Cyber Fighters, 292 Jakubowski, Marcin, 102–103 James, William, 279–280 Jennings, Ken, 130 Jobs, Steve, 305, 308 Jumpstart Our Business Start Ups Act, 257 Kaku, Michio, 79 Kasser, Tim, 277 Keynes, John Maynard, 5–7, 105, 268 Khoshnevis, Dr. Behrokh, 96–97 Kickstarter, 256 Ki-moon, Ban 285 Koenig, Friedrich, 44 Konrath, Sarah, 280 Kuhn, Thomas, 9 Kümmel, Reiner, 71 Kurzweil, Ray, 84 Lamberth, Laurie, 74–75 Lange, Oskar, 5–7 last worker standing, 121–133 and the end of work, 121–128 even knowledge workers are expendable, 128–133 Latif, Majib, 288 laws of thermodynamics, govern all economic activity, 10–11 Layard, Richard, 277 Leontief, Wassily, 5, 105 Lessig, Lawrence, 175, 177–180, 185, 188 Lewis, James W., 281 Linux, 170, 175–176, 199, 309 live healthier lives, how to, 275 local exchange trading systems (LETS), 259–262 Locke, John, 60–62 Loescher, Peter, 14 The London Independent, 188 Lovelock, James, 184 L3C laws, 265 Luther, Martin, 58–59 Lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM), 241–242 Lynch, Mike, 129 Lynn, Mary Scott, 147 Makerbot Industries, 94 Makers Movement, 93–94, 99, 103 manufacture vs. infofacture, 90 marginal cost economy. see near zero marginal cost society Margulis, Lynn, 184 market economy, 4, 61 rise of the 32–38 Martin, Dean, 144 Marx, Karl, 33, 41, 105 massive open online courses (MOOCs), 4, 109–119, 247, 309–310 and the decline of the brick and mortar classroom, 113–119 negatives of, 117–118 the one-room schoolhouse with two billion students, 109–113 and peer-to-peer grading, 115–116 and service learning, 111–113, 264 and teachers as facilitators, 110 see also Coursera; edX; Udacity materialism/materialist(s), 276–279 mercantilist policies, 37 Mestrallet, Gérard, 141 microcurrencies, 259–262 microgrid(s), 103–104, 107, 294–295 microplot(s), 239 micropower plant(s), 69, 101, 102, 146, 267, 294–295 Millennial Generation, 19, 226, 230, 252, 264, 280–283 Mill, John Stuart, 63 Moglen, Eben, 175–176 monopoly or oligopoly, 6–8, 23, 198, 202, 307 and AT&T, 49–51 and effect on capitalism, 3 “natural monopoly,” 8, 50–51, 136–138, 203–204 temporary, 8 Montreuil, Benoit, 219–220 Moore, Gordon, 79–82 Moore’s Law, 79–80, 82, 147, 169 More, Sir Thomas, 31 Morgan Stanley, 54, 292 Mosaic, 146, 256–257 Moss, Frank, 242 music sharing, 232 Music Xray, 130 Myspace, 201 Napster, 170, 232 National Human Genome Research Institute, 169 Resources Defense Council (NRDC), 147 Science Foundation, 96 Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), 149 near zero marginal cost society, 68–151 ascent of the prosumer and the build-out of the smart economy, extreme productivity, the Internet of Things, and free energy, 69–87 getting closer to, 84–87 the last worker standing, 121–133 and marginal cost controversy, 135–138 MOOCs, 109–119 reluctance to come to grips with, 5 3D printing, 89–108 see also paradigm shift from market capitalism to Collaborative Commons network neutrality, 197–198, 203 The New Capitalist Manifesto (Haque), 253 Networked Commons, 119, 151, 173, 190, 194, 202, 212, 221, 222, 229–233, 237–241, 309 Newmark, Craig, 249 The New York Times, 5, 129, 251, 281 Noam, Eli, 151, 194 Northern Renaissance, 36, 300 Noubel, Jean-Francois, 262 Obama, President Barack, 71–72, 128 Occupy Movement, 57 oil cost of, 87, 137–138, 233 crude oil reserves are dwindling, 86–87 and infrastructure, 72 mass production of automobiles, effect on, 52–53 and the Second Industrial Revolution, 47–54 spills, 165, 290 Standard Oil Company, 48–49, 51 see also fossil fuel(s); Hall, Andy online higher education. see massive open online courses (MOOCs) Open Source Initiative (OSI), 176 “optimum general welfare,” 3 Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 21, 277 The Origin of Species (Darwin), 64 Ostrom, Elinor, 158–162, 175, 190 Paine, Thomas, 65 paradigm shift from market capitalism to Collaborative Commons, 1–25 and changing the economic paradigm, 9–11 and the Internet of Things, 11–16 and the rise of the Collaborative Commons, 16–25 Parkifi, 145–146 Patagonia, 263 patent(s), 138, 165–167, 170, 174–177, 180–181, 202 patient-driven research (PDR), 19, 240–247 peer-to-peer social lending, 255–257 Perens, Bruce, 176 Perlow, Jason, 128 Perry, Mark J., 122–123 Personal Genome Project, 180 The Philosophy of Money (Simmel), 259 phone, importance of, 49–51 population, key to stabilization of, 285 poverty, 21, 107–112, 209, 264, 275–278, 283–286 print, and the impact it had on the way we do business, 35–36, 178–179 printing press(es), 33–37, 44–45 privacy, age of, 75–77 property relations, notion of, 30–32 prosumer(s) ascent of the, 135–151 beyond governments and markets, 150–151 and the clean web, 144–147 definition of, 4, 90 and free wi-fi for everyone, 147–149 and power to the people, 138–144 protests to reclaim the public Commons, 187–188 QR code, 127 Quigg, Donald J., 166 rallying around free software, 174–177 Raspberry Pi, 80 Raymond, Eric S., 176–177 RelayRides, 228 rental(s)/renting. see social capital and the sharing economy reputation rankings on the web, 257–259 reviews, consumer-generated, 248–249 Rifkin, Milton, 305–306, 309 rise in collaborative innovation, 21 Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers, 212–213 Rockefeller, John D., 48–49 Rose, Carol, 157–158 Rowe, Jonathan 190 Royal Dutch Shell, 49, 54, 142 Ruben, Andy, 237–238 Rural Electric Administration (REA), 209–210 Say, Jean-Baptiste, 3 Say’s Law, 3 scarcity. see abundance Schelgel, Heather, 262 Scherzer, Norman, 243 Schlatter, Richard, 30, 62 Schor, Juliet, 280 Schumacher, E.


pages: 83 words: 26,097

Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations by Dan Ariely

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, always be closing, David Brooks, en.wikipedia.org, IKEA effect, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, science of happiness, Snapchat, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith

Nor is the link between motivation and output direct or clear. Sometimes I might be highly motivated to find a particular answer to a question, but the concept I am working on is not the right one. Sometimes I might not be terribly motivated, but I stumble on a good research topic. The challenges with measuring my productivity are not unique to professors; in fact, they are common to most knowledge workers. Your productivity is likely to be as complex, if not more so, than mine to measure. To test the effectiveness of different motivations, we needed to study a work environment in which employee output could be easily and accurately measured and where the tasks were more or less constant. I lucked out when Guy Hochman, then a Duke postdoctoral fellow, introduced me to Liad Bareket, who worked in the HR department at Intel in Israel.


pages: 336 words: 88,320

Being Geek: The Software Developer's Career Handbook by Michael Lopp

finite state, game design, job satisfaction, John Gruber, knowledge worker, remote working, rolodex, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, sorting algorithm, web application

What are you going to do about it? You're the boss. On Experience In order to appreciate this chapter, you need to make a leap—you need to believe that your boss's experience is valuable. You need to believe and accept that the fact he's been doing this 10 years longer than you means his opinion is more informed. His decisions are based on something more than gut feel and delusions of grandeur. We're knowledge workers, which is an awkwardly lame way of stating that we don't actually build physical things with our hands. We build nonphysical things with our minds. We create interesting arrangements of ones and zeros in the confines of our caves, coalescing our ideas into things that are, hopefully, useful enough that someone else is willing to pay for them. There are no sets of physical tools we need to collect and master to make our jobs easier.

See job changing, Measures Versus Content grades vs. content, as useful information, Measures Versus Content growth, Growth, Growth, Delivery, Simplifying the Infinite, Spend an Hour a Day on Each Req You Have career philosophy of, Growth, Delivery growing your team, Spend an Hour a Day on Each Req You Have H Handler, The Handler hate, professional, You Might Be Lying hatred of engineering, On Language healthy tension on teams, Circle Analysis help, asking for, On Experience High, the, Your Nerd Has Built Himself a Cave, Make It a Project hiring, Wanted Holy Shit, the, The Reveal HR departments, realities of, The Sanity Check humor and the nerd, Your Nerd Has Built Himself a Cave I I Quit response to bad news, My Bad ignorance, admission of, The Answer Process Illuminator, The Illuminator impossible requests from CEOs, The Impossible improvisation, Structured Improvisation, Improvise, Improvise during presentations, Improvise structured, Structured Improvisation inactivity, necessity of, An Essential Exercise in Inactivity inbox strategies, The Leaper industry, career choice considerations, Established information, On Experience, On Excuses, Sigh, Sigh, The Unspoken Royal We, Your Nerd Has an Amazing Appetite for Information, Bits, Our relationship is with the bits, Power and Influence: "Maestro", Network and Communication: "The Insider", This Sucks during times of crisis, Sigh flow of communication, Network and Communication: "The Insider" game of, in companies, On Excuses management's role with, Our relationship is with the bits movement of, and org charts, On Experience nerds' appetite for, Your Nerd Has an Amazing Appetite for Information tactical vs. strategic, This Sucks truth, locating, Bits when Insiders leave the company, Power and Influence: "Maestro" working in the Pond vs. remote, The Unspoken Royal We Insider team members, Power and Influence: "Maestro" inspiration, You're in a Hurry Internet bubble, first, Start-up Interrogator, The Interrogator interviewers, types of, Interview Creatures interviews, The Sanity Check, The Nerves, The Answer Process, The Answer Process, The Button answering questions, The Answer Process the Button, getting interviewers to talk, The Button the Nerves, handling, The Nerves vs. phone screens, The Sanity Check itches for change, types of, The Itch J job changing, The Itch, You Are the Business, Deliberate Want, The Taste of the Day, Three Choices, Three Choices, What's Next building a career strategy, Three Choices engineer to manager, The Taste of the Day growth and, You Are the Business itch for change, The Itch nonobvious reasons for, What's Next recruitment, Deliberate Want Jobs, Steve, Presentation or Speech? judgment, as source of the Nerves, The Nerves K keyboard support, My Tools Are Designed to Remove Repetitive Motion Keynote software, The Unforgivable Mistake knowledge, Delivery, The Gaps, The Gaps Alpha Knowledge team members, The Gaps as fundamental unit of growth, Delivery knowledge workers, On Experience L language, Apprenticeship, You Will Be a Multilingual Translator, You Will Be a Multilingual Translator in company groups, You Will Be a Multilingual Translator industry, Apprenticeship lawyers, calls from, The Itch leadership, People Lie, Some Are Evil, Others Just Want to Screw You, Circle of Comfort, Context Switcher, Context Switcher, Knowledge and Ability: "Alpha Knowledge" as composure under stress, Context Switcher evolution of roles, People Lie, Some Are Evil, Others Just Want to Screw You Maestro team members, Knowledge and Ability: "Alpha Knowledge" role of, Circle of Comfort listening, Bridge, Bridge, You Go to a Lot of Meetings detecting company culture, Bridge management responsibility for, You Go to a Lot of Meetings lists, The Taste of the Day, The Taste of the Day, The Trickle List taste of the day, The Taste of the Day Trickle List, The Trickle List lying, as skill, People Lie, Some Are Evil, Others Just Want to Screw You lynchpin departure, Why are they letting them go?


pages: 339 words: 88,732

The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies by Erik Brynjolfsson, Andrew McAfee

"Robert Solow", 2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, access to a mobile phone, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, British Empire, business cycle, business intelligence, business process, call centre, Charles Lindbergh, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, clean water, combinatorial explosion, computer age, computer vision, congestion charging, corporate governance, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, digital map, employer provided health coverage, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, falling living standards, Filter Bubble, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Freestyle chess, full employment, G4S, game design, global village, happiness index / gross national happiness, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, intangible asset, inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, law of one price, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, mass immigration, means of production, Narrative Science, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, pattern recognition, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, post-work, price stability, Productivity paradox, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, Robert Gordon, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, six sigma, Skype, software patent, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, telepresence, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, total factor productivity, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, winner-take-all economy, Y2K

A clue might ask, for example, for “A rhyming reminder of the past in the city of the NBA’s Kings.”16 To answer correctly, a player would have to know what the acronym NBA stood for (in this case, it’s the National Basketball Association, not the National Bank Act or chemical compound n-Butylamine), which city the NBA’s Kings play in (Sacramento), and that the clue’s demand for a rhyming reminder of the past meant that the right answer is “What is a Sacramento memento?” instead of a “Sacramento souvenir” or any other factually correct response. Responding correctly to clues like these requires mastery of pattern matching and complex communication. And winning at Jeopardy! requires doing both things repeatedly, accurately, and almost instantaneously. During the 2011 shows, Watson competed against Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, two of the best knowledge workers in this esoteric industry. Jennings won Jeopardy! a record seventy-four times in a row in 2004, taking home more than $3,170,000 in prize money and becoming something of a folk hero along the way.17 In fact, Jennings is sometimes given credit for the existence of Watson.18 According to one story circulating within IBM, Charles Lickel, a research manager at the company interested in pushing the frontiers of artificial intelligence, was having dinner in a steakhouse in Fishkill, New York, one night in the fall of 2004.

Whether or not he’s part of this mafia, Andy will vouch for the power of SOLEs. He was a Montessori kid for the earliest years of his schooling, and agrees completely with Larry Page that “part of that training [was] not following rules and orders, and being self-motivated, questioning what’s going on in the world, doing things a little bit differently.”12 Our recommendations about how people can remain valuable knowledge workers in the new machine age are straightforward: work to improve the skills of ideation, large-frame pattern recognition, and complex communication instead of just the three Rs. And whenever possible, take advantage of self-organizing learning environments, which have a track record of developing these skills in people. Failing College Of course, this is easier said than done. And it appears that it’s not being done very well in many educational environments.


pages: 389 words: 87,758

No Ordinary Disruption: The Four Global Forces Breaking All the Trends by Richard Dobbs, James Manyika

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, access to a mobile phone, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, autonomous vehicles, Bakken shale, barriers to entry, business cycle, business intelligence, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, cloud computing, corporate governance, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, demographic dividend, deskilling, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, distributed generation, Erik Brynjolfsson, financial innovation, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, global village, hydraulic fracturing, illegal immigration, income inequality, index fund, industrial robot, intangible asset, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, inventory management, job automation, Just-in-time delivery, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, low skilled workers, Lyft, M-Pesa, mass immigration, megacity, mobile money, Mohammed Bouazizi, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, old age dependency ratio, openstreetmap, peer-to-peer lending, pension reform, private sector deleveraging, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, recommendation engine, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, Snapchat, sovereign wealth fund, spinning jenny, stem cell, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, The Great Moderation, trade route, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, uber lyft, urban sprawl, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, working-age population, Zipcar

Between 1980 and 2010, 1.1 billion adults entered the twenty- to sixty-four-year-old age bracket and joined the world’s labor force.25 But due to a host of demographic factors, global labor force growth will fall by nearly one-third by 2030.26 At the same time, technology is roiling labor markets as never before. Computers, which historically replaced manual and clerical workers, such as stenographers and bank tellers, are now beginning to replace knowledge and skilled workers, like journalists and stock analysts. By 2025, in fact, computers could do the work of 140 million knowledge workers, and robots could do the work of another 75 million people.27 And yet there will still be high demand for skilled positions in engineering, software development, and health care. Four out of ten respondents in a McKinsey survey reported that they currently couldn’t find the talent they need. This means that we’re likely to see a strange dichotomy. By 2020, on our current trajectory, businesses could be short of 85 million workers with college degrees or vocational training; at the same time, 95 million lower-skilled workers could be unemployed.28 In the past, executives typically knew their main competitors at home and abroad, and they could often catch up to new competition that emerged.

For example, as part of a financial inclusion program, introduction of technology allowed twenty thousand less-skilled workers in southern India to work as rural banking agents, processing payments with smart cards, cell phones, and kiosks. Using technology to improve the productivity of professional and managerial work has traditionally not received as much attention as it has for more labor-intensive occupations. Research, however, is showing that organizations could realize improvements in knowledge-worker productivity by about 20 percent.19 Using social platforms as a primary way to communicate and collaborate would vastly reduce the time it takes to write and answer e-mails, eliminate lengthy searches for internal knowledge and expertise, and reduce other tasks that consume the equivalent of a day’s work per week. So far, few corporations have been willing to commit fully to social technologies, which require a level of open communication and information sharing that challenges existing norms.


Making It All Work: Winning at the Game of Work and the Business of Life by David Allen

cognitive dissonance, index card, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, shareholder value, Skype, telemarketer

Their real economic costs are hard to measure, but inferences can be drawn from documented statistics about the decrease in average concentration time and increase in interruptions. Companies have consequently tried to institute such policies as “no-e-mail Fridays” and “quiet hours” not only to curb the inefficiencies that result from the psychic noise, but also to give sufficient breathing room for the reflective, creative process that some are savvy enough to recognize as strategically important for their knowledge workers. Most of the studies of these issues and proposed remedies center on the external environment—too much e-mail, too many interruptions, too much or too little communication, too much change too fast, and so on. Solutions that focus only on decreasing the volume or speed of input will be temporary at best and artificially constricting and numbing at worst. We need to learn how to maneuver in the increasingly intermingled worlds of thinking and action, which will provide a lasting cure.

Ever wondered what opportunities you might be missing outside your predefined structures? If so, you are in an ideal position to take advantage of the models I will be sharing with you here. Making It All Work will give you a road map for life. Or for throwing your kid a birthday party. Or for arranging your home office. Or for hiring a VP of marketing. It will provide whatever you might need to get more in control or more appropriately focused. Feeling lost is a consistent knowledge-worker phenomenon. When you have to think and constantly rethink precisely to know what to do, given the slippery changing nature of work today, it is incredibly easy to lose your way. Ever find yourself wrapped around an unexpected e-mail for forty-five minutes and then wonder what happened, and what the heck to do now about all the other stuff you thought you needed to tackle, whose status has now changed, but you’re not sure exactly how to go about doing so?


pages: 323 words: 92,135

Running Money by Andy Kessler

Andy Kessler, Apple II, bioinformatics, Bob Noyce, British Empire, business intelligence, buy and hold, buy low sell high, call centre, Corn Laws, Douglas Engelbart, family office, full employment, George Gilder, happiness index / gross national happiness, interest rate swap, invisible hand, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, knowledge worker, Leonard Kleinrock, Long Term Capital Management, mail merge, Marc Andreessen, margin call, market bubble, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, Mitch Kapor, Network effects, packet switching, pattern recognition, pets.com, railway mania, risk tolerance, Robert Metcalfe, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Toyota Production System, zero-sum game

“I did some research in the ’50s and figured out there was a superscaling effect,” Doug said matter-of-factly. “But what do you mean by scale? What did you see back then?” “Two things. I did a scaling study in the ’50s that convinced me that components would keep getting cheaper and there was going to be all the bandwidth you could ever use—” Doug answered. “That was before the integrated circuit,” I interrupted. “So that every knowledge worker was going to be equipped.” Doug Engelbart rightly ignored me and kept talking. “The other scale was human scale—” “You mean, computers easy to use,” I interrupted again. “Well, that’s part of it. Yes, certainly there is scale from getting people to use complex systems, from hiding the complexity from them, so the hurdle is lowered.” 122 Running Money “That’s the human scale.” “No, the bigger thing I saw was that knowledge scales.”

See intellectual property IPOs, 3, 60, 97, 212–16, 248, 293 iron industry, 52–53, 55–57, 59, 125 IRR (internal rate of return), 170–71 Island, 207, 288 Janus, 229 Japan, 134, 175, 204, 257, 259–60, 261 consumer economy and, 68 economic output of, 234 U.S. debt and, 257 yen crisis, 162–65, 168, 292 Japanese Fair Trade Commission, 160 Java (programming language), 151 J-curve, 264–66 JetBlue, 292 job market, 241–45, 246, 261 305 Jobs, Steve, 118, 119, 121, 128 Johns-Manville, 236 Johnson & Johnson, 236 joint-stock companies, 92–93 Jones, Alfred Winslow, 10 JP Morgan, 11, 49, 144, 209 junk bonds, 11 Kapor, Mitch, 121 Karlgaard, Rich, 195 Kay, John, 64 Kaye, William, 9–13, 48, 153 Kessler, Kurt, 245 Kessler, Nancy, 117–18, 193, 194–95, 288 Kilby, Jack, 101 Kittler, Fred, 1–4, 6, 14–17, 29–31, 33–36, 47, 49, 60–62, 73–76, 81–82, 91, 96, 97, 104, 106–7, 138–43, 164, 167, 169, 172, 175, 203, 205, 206, 209–16, 219, 223–26, 246, 288, 295, 296 hedge fund partnership, 144, 151–52 Kleiner Perkins, 195, 197 Kleinrock, Leonard, 183, 184–86, 191 knowledge workers, 121–23 Korea, 1, 3, 134, 208, 234, 259–60 Kotick, Bobby, 50 Kramlich, Dick, 144, 194, 195, 197 labor costs. See outsourcing LANs. See local area networks laptops, 155, 259, 277 Lardner, Dionysius, 93 Larscom, 97 Larson, Bill, 18, 19 laser diode drivers, 81, 84 layer 4–7 switching, 140 306 LCDs, 2, 3, 155, 156–57 Lehman Brothers, 44 Lerner, Sandy, 191 Lewis, Michael, 25 Liar’s Poker (Lewis), 25 Liberate, 176, 177 limited liability corporations, 57 Lincoln Lab (MIT), 187 Linux operating system, 247 liquid crystal displays, 155, 156–57 literacy, 122 local area networks, 187, 188, 189–91, 197, 199 locomotives, 92–93 Logitech, 259 London Metal Exchange, 94 Long Term Capital Management, 11, 163, 166–69 looms, 64–65, 66 Lotus, 200 Lotus 1–2–3 spreadsheet, 66 Lotus Notes, 200 Lovitz, Jon, 262 LSI Logic, 130, 141 Lucent, 290 Lusitania (ocean liner), 95 Lynch, Peter, 27–28 Macromedia, 97 Malaysia, 1, 132, 175, 199, 252, 270, 281 management, 106–7 manufacturing capital investment in, 90–91 design vs., 99–100, 234, 268 intellectual property separated from, 128, 130–35, 136, 234–35, 238, 251, 271 inventions and, 55–56, 58, 89, 125–26, 272 Index job market and, 241–45, 246, 261 outsourced low costs of, 133–35, 175, 251, 258–59 second derivatives, 26–28, 72, 77, 226 See also industrial economy; Industrial Revolution margin surplus, 234, 259, 260, 262–63, 266, 270, 295 importance of, 275, 277, 279, 280–83 PC’s effect on, 258 MAR/Hedge, 169 market demand, 78 components of, 57–59 Marks, Art, 144 Matsushita, 134 Mauretania (ocean liner), 95 Mayfield, 194 MCI, 61, 62, 72 Mead, Carver, 183 Meeker, Mary, 228 memory chips, 124, 126, 127, 154–55, 156 Metcalfe, Bob, 183, 188–91, 202, 290 Metcalfe’s Law, 190, 226 Mexican debt crisis, 164 Michelson, Albert, 190 microchips, 11, 46–47, 102–3, 129–35, 154–55 company sales, 208 development of, 124–28 outsourced manufacture of, 130–35, 199, 252–55, 259 production costs, 141 See also microprocessors Microma, 127–28 Micron Technology, 19–21, 154 Index microprocessors, 101, 123–28 demand for faster, 66 significance of, 125, 183 Microsoft, 61, 69, 97, 128, 142, 194, 207, 260, 270 browser, 199–201 company value, 274 innovative process of, 278 tie-ins by, 197 as top market cap company, 111 See also Windows Microstrategy, 177 Microsystems, 44 Milken, Michael, 11 Miller, George, 223 mining industry, 53, 57–59 MIT, 184, 185, 187 MMC (chip company), 208 momentum funds, 207 Mondale, Walter, 187 Monetary Conference, 264–65 monster markets, 45, 46, 67, 248, 279, 295 Montgomery Securities Hedge Fund conference, 29–33 Moore, Gordon, 103, 124, 128 Moore, Nick, 18–21, 72, 162, 175–81, 188, 208, 217–19, 228–29, 293, 296 Moore’s Law, 103, 124 Morgan Stanley, 11, 24–25, 39–40, 45, 131, 153, 160, 224, 251 Morgan Stanley Tech Conference (2001), 228–29 Morgan Stanley Tokyo, 154 Morley, Edward, 190 Morse Chain, 110 Mosaic Communications, 193, 195, 196–97 Mostek, 127 Motorola, 11, 127 307 mouse inventor of, 118, 119 outsourced manufacture of, 259 MP3.com, 212–16, 226, 248, 293 MP3 files, 206 Mueller, Glenn, 194, 195, 197–98 Mueller, Nancy, 198 music downloading, 202, 205–8, 247 copyright violation, 293 domain rights, 212–16, 226, 248 piracy, 206–7, 263 See also Napster music software, 146–49 mutual funds, 290 nanotechnology, 296 Napoleonic Wars, 25, 271 Napster, 190, 202, 203, 205–7, 213, 248, 263 NASA, 101, 184 NASA/Ames, 187 NASDAQ, 223, 224, 225, 288 Nash, Jack, 14–17, 24, 29, 105, 278 National Center for Supercomputing Applications, 197 NCP, 185 Nelson, Ted, 118 NetApp.


pages: 552 words: 168,518

MacroWikinomics: Rebooting Business and the World by Don Tapscott, Anthony D. Williams

accounting loophole / creative accounting, airport security, Andrew Keen, augmented reality, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, Ben Horowitz, bioinformatics, Bretton Woods, business climate, business process, buy and hold, car-free, carbon footprint, Charles Lindbergh, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, clean water, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, cloud computing, collaborative editing, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, colonial rule, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, demographic transition, disruptive innovation, distributed generation, don't be evil, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, energy transition, Exxon Valdez, failed state, fault tolerance, financial innovation, Galaxy Zoo, game design, global village, Google Earth, Hans Rosling, hive mind, Home mortgage interest deduction, information asymmetry, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, Joseph Schumpeter, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Marc Andreessen, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, medical bankruptcy, megacity, mortgage tax deduction, Netflix Prize, new economy, Nicholas Carr, oil shock, old-boy network, online collectivism, open borders, open economy, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, scientific mainstream, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, social web, software patent, Steve Jobs, text mining, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, transfer pricing, University of East Anglia, urban sprawl, value at risk, WikiLeaks, X Prize, young professional, Zipcar

Billions of people can play active roles in their workplaces, communities, national democracies, and in global forums and institutions, too. At the same time, the new world of wikinomics gives organizations an opportunity to tap into new sources of insight and value. Closed, hierarchical corporations that once innovated in secret can now tap, and contribute to, a much larger global talent pool—one that opens up the world of knowledge workers to every organization seeking a uniquely qualified mind to solve their problem. Scientists can accelerate research by open sourcing their data and methods to offer every budding and experienced researcher in the world an opportunity to participate in the discovery process. Doctors can collaborate with self-organizing patient communities where people with similar medical conditions share insights, provide mutual support, and contribute to medical research.

Of course you still need a knowledge base, and you can’t Google your way through every activity and conversation. But what counts more is your capacity to learn lifelong, to think, research, find information, analyze, synthesize, contextualize, and critically evaluate; to apply research to solving problems; to collaborate and communicate. This is particularly important for students and employers who compete in a global economy. Labor markets are now global and given networked business models, knowledge workers face competition in real time. Workers and managers must learn, adapt, and perform like never before. The answer for educational establishments is not simply to expand distance learning offerings—though this would help. Nor is it about students being able to access lectures by some of the world’s leading professors from free online sites like Academic Earth—though this practice has proven popular and useful with both professors and students.

Next-generation faculty will create a context whereby students from around the world can participate in online discussions, forums, and wikis to discover, learn, and produce knowledge as a community of learners who are engaged directly in addressing some of the world’s most pressing problems. Of course, such open platforms could provide a means to address the needs of all learners, not just twenty-somethings. For today’s knowledge workers, remaining truly competitive in fast-moving fields of research and innovation means constant retraining and retooling to begin and/or continue their working lives in a modern, dynamic, and technology-focused environment. The cost of building new continuing education programs from scratch could be prohibitively high, but new models of collaborative education can help bring greater efficiency and creativity to the efforts to help graduating students and aging employees update their skills.23 Indeed, why not allow companies and governments to participate in this global network for higher learning too?


pages: 626 words: 167,836

The Technology Trap: Capital, Labor, and Power in the Age of Automation by Carl Benedikt Frey

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bernie Sanders, Branko Milanovic, British Empire, business cycle, business process, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Clayton Christensen, collective bargaining, computer age, computer vision, Corn Laws, creative destruction, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, demographic transition, desegregation, deskilling, Donald Trump, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, factory automation, falling living standards, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, full employment, future of work, game design, Gini coefficient, Hyperloop, income inequality, income per capita, industrial cluster, industrial robot, intangible asset, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, invention of agriculture, invention of movable type, invention of the steam engine, invention of the wheel, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, job satisfaction, job-hopping, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, labour mobility, Loebner Prize, low skilled workers, Malcom McLean invented shipping containers, manufacturing employment, mass immigration, means of production, Menlo Park, minimum wage unemployment, natural language processing, new economy, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, oil shock, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, Pareto efficiency, pattern recognition, pink-collar, Productivity paradox, profit maximization, Renaissance Technologies, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, social intelligence, speech recognition, spinning jenny, Stephen Hawking, The Future of Employment, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, total factor productivity, trade route, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, Turing test, union organizing, universal basic income, washing machines reduced drudgery, wealth creators, women in the workforce, working poor, zero-sum game

When Robert Reich surveyed the transformation of the labor market in his classic 1991 book, The Work of Nations, he found that work could be divided into three broad categories. A new class of what he called “symbolic analysts” had emerged, who were reaping the benefits of the new economy.21 Among these analysts, we find managers, engineers, attorneys, scientists, journalists, consultants, and other knowledge workers. In the age of computers, they had all become more productive analysts. Besides symbol-analytic services, Reich reckoned, there are also routine jobs and in-person services. As noted above, routine jobs have gradually been taken over by computers. But in-person service jobs have become more plentiful. Indeed, most Americans do not work in technology industries or professional services. Few are employed directly by software companies, law firms, or biotechnology start-ups.

Technology Shocks and the Geography of New Jobs,” Regional Science and Urban Economics 57 (March): 38–45; J. Lin, 2011, “Technological Adaptation, Cities, and New Work,” Review of Economics and Statistics 93 (2): 554–74. Note: These figures show the percentage share of each city’s workers that were employed in jobs that did not exist by the beginning of each respective decade against the initial share of “knowledge workers” in occupations that involve abstract tasks across 321 American cities. The location decisions of technology companies, which are at the forefront of digital technology, provide the best evidence of the value of in-person communication: “The fact that Silicon Valley is now the quintessential example of industrial agglomeration suggests that the most cutting-edge technology encourages, rather than eliminates, the need for geographic proximity.”34 The past two decades have supported that view, as geographic clusters like Silicon Valley remain strong, despite the abundance of long-range electronic communication tools.

., 183 Kettering, Charles, 166 Keynes, John Maynard, 332, 334 King, Gregory, 68 knowledge work, 235, 259 Komlos, John, 115 Korea, ascent of, 289 Korean War, 180 Krugman, Paul, 12 Kuznets, Simon, 5, 206–7 Kuznets curve, 207, 212 labor, division of, 228 labor multiplier, 347 Labor Party, rise of, 268 labor productivity, gap between worker compensation and, 244 labor unions, 212; bargaining power of, 201, 277; legalization in Britain, 190 laissez-faire regime, 25, 267 lamplighters, 1–2 Lancashire riots of 1779, 90 landed aristocracy, 83 Landes, David, 9, 112, 118, 134, 343 Land-Grant College Act of 1862, 364 Latin Church, oppression of science by, 79 laundress, vanishing of, 27, 160 Lee, William, 10, 54 Lefebvre des Noëttes, Richard, 43 Leonardo da Vinci, 38, 51, 73 Leontief, Wassily, 20, 338, 343 Levy, Frank, 237, 302, 323 liberal democracy, components of, 267 Lindert, Peter, 61, 68, 114, 207, 211, 269, 271 literacy, demand for, 76 Liverpool-Manchester Railway, 109 lobbying, corporate spending on, 275 Locke, John, 83 Lombe, John, 52, 99–100 Lombe, Thomas, 6, 100 London Steam Carriage, 109 longshoremen, vanishing of, 172 Louis XIV of France, King, 84 Luddites, 9, 18, 125–31, 341; imprisoned, 20; new, 286–92; riots, 89, 92; uprisings, 265 machinery question, 116, 174–88; adjustment problems, 177; automation, employment effects of, 180; computers, automation anxiety concerning, 183; elevator operators, 181–82; musicians, displaced, 177–78 machinery riots, 9, 265, 289; absence of (America), 190; Britain, 90 Maddison, Angus, 66 Magellan, Ferdinand, 51, 67 majority-rule voting system, 270 Malthus, Thomas Robert, 4, 64, 73, 316, 345 Malthusian logic, 345 Malthusian trap, escape of, 65 Manhattan Project, 74 Manpower Training and Development Act (MDTA), 353 Mantoux, Paul, 97, 101, 126 Manufacture des Gobelins, 84 Manufacture Royale de Glaces de Miroirs, 84 manufacturing: blue-collar jobs, disappearance of, 251, 254; American system of manufacturing, pioneers of, 149; factory electrification, 151–55; interchangeable parts, concept of, 149 Margo, Robert, 135, 145 markets, integration of, 86 Marx, Karl, 26, 47, 98, 239, 364 Massey, Douglas, 256 Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), 354 mass production, 147–73; American system of manufacturing, pioneers of, 149; containerization, 171–72; direct drive, 153; factory electrification, 151–55; horseless age, 164; household revolution, 156; industries, 18; installment credit, 159, 167; interchangeable parts, concept of, 149; Model T, 167; unit drive, 153 Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange, 59 Maybach, Wilhelm, 166 McAfee, Andrew, 303, 339 McCloskey, Deirdre, 70 McCormick, Cyrus, 149, 168 McLean, Malcom, 171 mechanics, Galileo’s theory of, 53 mechanization, age of automation vs. age of, 227 median voter theories, 270 medieval Christianity, 78 mercantilism, flawed doctrine of, 83 Mesopotamia, 35 metals, discovery and exploitation of, 35 Michigan Antitrust Reform Act of 1985, 359 Microsoft, 306 Middle Ages: agricultural technology in, 42; feudal order of, 57; onset of, 41; technical advances of, 50; traditional crafts of, 68 middle class, descent of, 223–25; artificial intelligence, 228; automation, adverse consequences of, 240; cognitive divide, 238–43; computer-controlled machines, jobs eliminated by, 228; computers, 228–38; corporate profits, 244; division of labor between human and machine, 228; earnings gap, 230; Engels’ pause, return of, 243–48; golden postwar years, 239; Great Recession, 244; high school graduates, employment opportunities for, 237; industrial organization, fundamental principle of, 229; in-person service jobs, 235; knowledge workers, 235; labor productivity, gap between worker compensation and, 244; mechanization, age of automation vs. age of, 227; multipurpose robots, 242; rule-based logic, 228; Second Industrial Revolution, elimination of jobs created for machine operators during, 228; “symbolic analysts,” 235 middle class, triumph of, 218–222; agriculture, mechanization of, 189; automotive industry, 202; baby boom, 221; blue-collar Americans, unprecedented wages of, 220; child labor, as opportunity cost to education, 214; collective bargaining, 192; corporate giants, 208; corporate paternalism, 200; education and technology, race between, 216; end of drudgery, 193–98; Engels’ pause, 219; factory electrification, 190, 195; farming jobs, decline of, 197, 203; Great Depression, 211; “great exception” in American political history, 200; Great Migration, 205; hazardous jobs, end of, 195, 198; high school movement (1910–40), 214; Jeffersonian individualism, 200; Kuznets curve, 207, 212; labor unions, 201, 212; leveling of American wages, 211; machinery riots, absence of, 190; middle class, emergence of, 192, 292; national minimum wage, introduction of, 211; new consumer goods, Americans’ growing appetite for, 203; New Deal, 200, 212; public schooling, 214; Second Industrial Revolution, 209, 217; skill-biased technological change, 213; tractor use, expansion of, 196; urban-rural wage gap, 209; Wall Street, depression suffered by, 211; welfare capitalism, 198, 200; welfare state, rise of, 221; white-collar employment, 197, 218 Middle East, 77 Milanovic, Branko, 217, 245 mining, 194, 197 Minoan civilization, 34 mobile robotics, 342 mobility, demands for, 348 mobility vouchers, 360 Model T, 167 modern medicine, rise of, 22 Mokyr, Joel, 19, 52, 76–77, 79 Moore’s Law, 107, 301, 304 Moravec’s paradox, 236 Moretti, Enrico, 258, 262–63, 360 Morgan, J.


pages: 377 words: 97,144

Singularity Rising: Surviving and Thriving in a Smarter, Richer, and More Dangerous World by James D. Miller

23andMe, affirmative action, Albert Einstein, artificial general intelligence, Asperger Syndrome, barriers to entry, brain emulation, cloud computing, cognitive bias, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Deng Xiaoping, en.wikipedia.org, feminist movement, Flynn Effect, friendly AI, hive mind, impulse control, indoor plumbing, invention of agriculture, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, Netflix Prize, neurotypical, Norman Macrae, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, phenotype, placebo effect, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, Skype, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, supervolcano, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, Turing test, twin studies, Vernor Vinge, Von Neumann architecture

Expensive von Neumann-level emulations would have the greatest wage-enhancing impact if they accelerated innovation. Only a minuscule number of people have the ability to do science at the level of Einstein or von Neumann, and these men’s accomplishments were undoubtedly limited by having to collaborate with lesser minds. By removing this genius bottleneck, emulations would create an explosion of innovation and scientific knowledge. Workers in rich countries have much higher salaries today than they did a century ago primarily because of better production technology. By improving production technology even further, the high-priced emulations would allow each worker to do more than he could before, and so would allow workers to command still higher salaries. What I’ve written so far about the economics of emulations probably seems correct to most readers.

This boredom premium only goes away if the drug equalizes the excitement level of different fields by making its user’s level of excitement solely a function of the drug. Overall, however, cognition enhancers would almost certainly raise the average worker’s wage because they would allow society as a whole to produce more. Even workers in professions where being smarter didn’t raise their wages would receive higher salaries because of the drugs. By increasing the wages of knowledge workers, these drugs would boost the amount these laborers paid for services performed by relatively unskilled laborers. They would spend more in restaurants, hire additional domestic servants, and consequently raise the salaries of the unskilled. Cognition enhancers would also allow some low-skilled workers who hadn’t been smart enough to become highly skilled professionals to find better jobs, which would benefit both them and those who remained in low-skill occupations (who would then face less competition).


pages: 261 words: 103,244

Economists and the Powerful by Norbert Haring, Norbert H. Ring, Niall Douglas

"Robert Solow", accounting loophole / creative accounting, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, asset allocation, bank run, barriers to entry, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, buy and hold, central bank independence, collective bargaining, commodity trading advisor, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, diversified portfolio, financial deregulation, George Akerlof, illegal immigration, income inequality, inflation targeting, information asymmetry, Jean Tirole, job satisfaction, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, knowledge worker, law of one price, light touch regulation, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, mandatory minimum, market bubble, market clearing, market fundamentalism, means of production, minimum wage unemployment, moral hazard, new economy, obamacare, old-boy network, open economy, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, pension reform, Ponzi scheme, price stability, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, Renaissance Technologies, rolodex, Sergey Aleynikov, shareholder value, short selling, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, transaction costs, ultimatum game, union organizing, Vilfredo Pareto, working-age population, World Values Survey

This means that firms employing high-commitment work practices perform better than others, and also implies that the stock market does not understand and appreciate this, even after the successful investments in human capital are made visible by a highly publicized award. Otherwise the THE POWER OF THE CORPORATE ELITE 129 stock price of the company in question would jump on the granting of the award. Instead, stock prices only gain over time as the better company performance becomes obvious in the bottom line (Edmans 2011). This is particularly unexpected given the ample theoretical and empirical evidence that very high-skilled and knowledgeable workers – exactly those most sensitive to workplace conditions and those most able and willing to relocate if they feel their employer is anything less than committed to them – are driving ever-increasing amounts of long-term company value as technology marches forward (Grant, 1996; Deeds and Decarolis 1999). It is probably no coincidence that in any given year approximately one-third of the best companies to work for are private (i.e. not listed on the stock market).

One such study from 2002 cites, as informal but impressive evidence, a survey of six fast food restaurants located within a one mile radius. The six restaurants made offers of starting wages to new employees that ranged from US$5.15 to US$6 per hour, a range of 16 percent. Getting a pay rise of 16 percent is a big deal for most employees, especially those close to minimum wage (Bhaskar, Manning and To 2002). Even for highly compensated, highly skilled and highly mobile knowledge workers such as top end IT workers earning well over US$100,000 a year, there is significant monopsonistic power employed to hold down compensation and work against the interests of employees: In 2010 the US Department of Justice ruled against Adobe, Apple, Google, Intel, Intuit and Pixar for entering into secret agreements not to solicit one another’s high-skilled employees, and a class action civil suit is due to be heard in the courts during 2012 (Forbes 23 January 2012).


pages: 407 words: 103,501

The Digital Divide: Arguments for and Against Facebook, Google, Texting, and the Age of Social Netwo Rking by Mark Bauerlein

Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Keen, business cycle, centre right, citizen journalism, collaborative editing, computer age, computer vision, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, disintermediation, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Howard Rheingold, invention of movable type, invention of the steam engine, invention of the telephone, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, late fees, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral panic, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, PageRank, peer-to-peer, pets.com, Results Only Work Environment, Saturday Night Live, search engine result page, semantic web, Silicon Valley, slashdot, social graph, social web, software as a service, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, technology bubble, Ted Nelson, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thorstein Veblen, web application

“Our software tools were essentially designed to compete with one another for our attention, like needy toddlers.”33 Even brief interruptions can be as disruptive as lengthy ones, if they involve tasks that are either complex in nature or similar to the original work (thus muddying recall of the main work), Donald Broadbent has found.34 In total, interruptions take up 2.1 hours of an average knowledge worker’s day and cost the U.S. economy $588 billion a year, one research firm estimated.35 Workers find the constant hunt for the lost thread “very detrimental,” Mark reports dryly. . . . Mary Czerwinski, an energetic Microsoft researcher designs a kind of high-tech “wallpaper” to better our age. Czerwinski is the manager of the Visualization and Interaction Research Group in the company’s thought ghetto, Microsoft Research Labs.

Examining the Nature of Fragmented Work,” proceedings of the Conference on Human Factors in Computer Systems (Portland, Oregon, 2005), pp. 321–30. Also interview with Gloria Mark, July 2006. 32 Ibid. 33 Thompson, “Meet the Life Hackers,” p. 42. 34 Tony Gillie and Donald Broadbent, “What Makes Interruptions Disruptive? A Study of Length, Similarity and Complexity,” Psychological Research 50 (1989), pp. 243–50. 35 Jonathan Spira and Joshua Feintuch, The Cost of Not Paying Attention: How Interruptions Impact Knowledge Worker Productivity (Basex, 2005), pp. 2 and 10. 36 Suzanne Ross, “Two Screens Are Better Than One,” Microsoft Research News and Highlights, http://research.microsoft.com/displayArticle.aspx?id=433&0sr=a. Also Tara Matthews et al., “Clipping Lists and Change Borders: Improving Multitasking Efficiency with Peripheral Information Design,” Proceedings of the Conference on Human Factors in Computer Systems (April 2006), pp. 989–98. 37 Scott Brown and Fergus I.


pages: 317 words: 101,074

The Road Ahead by Bill Gates, Nathan Myhrvold, Peter Rinearson

Albert Einstein, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Berlin Wall, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Bob Noyce, Bonfire of the Vanities, business process, California gold rush, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, Donald Knuth, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, glass ceiling, global village, informal economy, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of writing, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, medical malpractice, Mitch Kapor, new economy, packet switching, popular electronics, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, speech recognition, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, Turing machine, Turing test, Von Neumann architecture

If the population of a city were reduced by even 10 percent, the result would be a major difference in property values and wear and tear on transportation and other urban systems. If the average office worker in any major city stayed home one or two days a week, the decreases in gasoline consumption, air pollution, and traffic congestion would be significant. The net effect, however, is hard to foresee. If those who moved out of cities were mostly the affluent knowledge workers, the urban tax base would be reduced. This would aggravate the inner city's woes and encourage other affluent people to leave. But at the same time, the urban infrastructure might be less heavily loaded. Rents would fall, creating opportunities for a better standard of living for some of those remaining in the cities. It will take decades to implement all the major changes, because most people remain comfortable with whatever they learn early and are reluctant to alter familiar patterns.

Interesting rural communities with high marks for quality of life will deliberately set out to attract a new class of sophisticated urban citizen. Taken as a whole, urban areas will tend to get their connections before rural ones. The highway will spread information and opportunity across borders to developing nations, too. Cheap global communications can bring people anywhere into the mainstream of the world economy. An English-speaking Ph.D. in China will be able to bid against colleagues in London for consulting work. Knowledge workers in industrialized countries will, in a sense, face new competition—just as some manufacturing workers in industrialized countries have experienced competition from developing nations over the past decade. This will make the information highway a powerful force for international trade in intellectual goods and services, just as the availability of relatively inexpensive air cargo and containerized shipping helped propel international trade in physical goods.


pages: 572 words: 94,002

Reset: How to Restart Your Life and Get F.U. Money: The Unconventional Early Retirement Plan for Midlife Careerists Who Want to Be Happy by David Sawyer

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, asset allocation, beat the dealer, bitcoin, Cal Newport, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, David Attenborough, David Heinemeier Hansson, Desert Island Discs, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edward Thorp, Elon Musk, financial independence, follow your passion, gig economy, hiring and firing, index card, index fund, invention of the wheel, knowledge worker, loadsamoney, low skilled workers, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mortgage debt, passive income, passive investing, Paul Samuelson, pension reform, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart meter, Snapchat, stakhanovite, Steve Jobs, Tim Cook: Apple, Vanguard fund, Y Combinator

There was a brief attempt to turn the tide in the early years of the 20th century with working hours coming down from an average 60 in 1900 to 35, as workers successfully argued for the fruits of the spoils of the many gains from huge advances in trade and commerce. But the Depression put paid to that. And the post-war boom in consumerism and a world run by advertising has sealed the pact, creating a society where we define ourselves by the job we do, not who we are. Our aim? Instant, easy gratification by earning more money to use more resources. Although by no means as bad as the 1900s, long working days are not unusual with managers and knowledge workers worst affected. A recent survey found that 80% of white-collar employees work more than 40 hours a week with a third clocking more than 50[29]. All this toil leads to what British writer Oliver James calls: “The Affluenza Virus…a set of values which increase our vulnerability to emotional distress.” He adds: “It entails placing a high value on acquiring money and possessions, looking good in the eyes of others and wanting to be famous… [increasing] your susceptibility to the commonest emotional distresses: depression, anxiety, substance abuse and personality disorder (like ‘me, me, me’ narcissism, febrile moods or confused identity[30]).”

Change will come and you better be ready Change will transform what employers look for in their recruits. Although it is commonplace to hire locally now, by the end of the twenties it will be different. According to a 2018 report by management consulting firm McKinsey[37], artificial intelligence, automation and robotics[38] will have made many unskilled jobs redundant, and there’ll be a bigger pool of knowledge workers for employers to choose from. Whether you’re a PR consultant, accountant, or lawyer it won’t matter if you’re in Glasgow, Gothenburg or Ganzhou. All that will matter, in the words of Deep Work author Cal Newport, is: “Your ability to quickly master hard things.” “The ability to produce at an elite level, in terms of both quality and speed[39].” You think your job’s in danger now. Try ten years down the line.


pages: 340 words: 97,723

The Big Nine: How the Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity by Amy Webb

Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Airbnb, airport security, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, autonomous vehicles, Bayesian statistics, Bernie Sanders, bioinformatics, blockchain, Bretton Woods, business intelligence, Cass Sunstein, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, cognitive bias, complexity theory, computer vision, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Deng Xiaoping, distributed ledger, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Filter Bubble, Flynn Effect, gig economy, Google Glasses, Grace Hopper, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Inbox Zero, Internet of things, Jacques de Vaucanson, Jeff Bezos, Joan Didion, job automation, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, natural language processing, New Urbanism, one-China policy, optical character recognition, packet switching, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, Rubik’s Cube, Sand Hill Road, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, SETI@home, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, smart cities, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, strong AI, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, theory of mind, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, Turing machine, Turing test, uber lyft, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero day

We were prepared for unemployed truck drivers, factory workers, and laborers, but our projections were wrong. We kept assuming that robots would take over all the blue-collar jobs, but it turns out that building physical robots capable of doing all that physical labor was a far more difficult task than we’d ever imagined, while cognitive tasks were easier to program and replicate. Ironically, it is the knowledge workers who are no longer needed. As a result, America and its allies have an immediate and critical need for the all the blue-collar jobs we said would be gone. We simply don’t have enough highly skilled plumbers, electricians, and carpenters. Robots can’t provide the human touch we desire, so we also have an immediate need for massage therapists, nail technicians, estheticians, and barbers. We’re experiencing a backlash against automation, too.

With the American workforce in crisis, students are divided into two categories during their kindergarten entrance exams: vocational or executive. Vocational students are trained for agility across disciplines, while executive students are trained in critical thinking and management. There is no need for the kinds of skills possessed by middle managers, since most middle managers and entry-level knowledge workers are now AIs. With unemployment in unexpected sectors; crime is up—but not for the reasons you think. AI-powered policing software didn’t work as promised, so our crime statistics don’t accurately represent the real world. The algorithms built by AI’s tribes and trained on a limited set of data never learned how to correctly identify and classify a gender-nonconforming person—someone who identifies neither as female nor male and might look completely androgynous, or who might have both a beard and eyelash extensions.


pages: 321 words: 97,661

How to Read a Paper: The Basics of Evidence-Based Medicine by Trisha Greenhalgh

call centre, complexity theory, conceptual framework, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, deskilling, knowledge worker, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, New Journalism, p-value, personalized medicine, placebo effect, publication bias, randomized controlled trial, selection bias, the scientific method

When I wrote the first edition of this book in 1995, a minority of hospitals had a rule that staff nurses couldn't go into the medical library or dial up an Internet connection. The role of the knowledge manager is to blow this sort of nonsense away and ensure that (in the case of EBM) everyone who needs to practice it has links to the relevant knowledge base, protected time to access it and appropriate training. 2. Knowledge workers: These individuals have it on their job description to help the rest of us find and apply knowledge. The person on the computer helpdesk is a kind of knowledge worker, as is a librarian or a research assistant. To use some contemporary jargon, the tools of EBM should be offered as an ‘augmented product’ with designated members of staff hired to provide flexible support to individuals as and when they ask for it. 3. Champions: Adoption of a new practice by individuals in an organisation or professional group is more likely if key individuals within that group are willing to back the innovation.


pages: 132 words: 31,976

Getting Real by Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson, Matthew Linderman, 37 Signals

call centre, David Heinemeier Hansson, iterative process, John Gruber, knowledge worker, Merlin Mann, Metcalfe's law, performance metric, post-work, premature optimization, Ruby on Rails, slashdot, Steve Jobs, web application

Or make the first or the last half of the day the alone time period. Just make sure this period is contiguous in order to avoid productivity-killing interruptions. A successful alone time period means letting go of communication addiction. During alone time, give up instant messenging, phone calls, and meetings. Avoid any email thread that's going to require an immediate response. Just shut up and get to work. Get Into the Groove We all know that knowledge workers work best by getting into "flow", also known as being "in the zone", where they are fully concentrated on their work and fully tuned out of their environment. They lose track of time and produce great stuff through absolute concentration...trouble is that it's so easy to get knocked out of the zone. Noise, phone calls, going out for lunch, having to drive 5 minutes to Starbucks for coffee, and interruptions by coworkers — especially interruptions by coworkers — all knock you out of the zone.


pages: 364 words: 99,897

The Industries of the Future by Alec Ross

23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, algorithmic trading, AltaVista, Anne Wojcicki, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, bioinformatics, bitcoin, blockchain, Brian Krebs, British Empire, business intelligence, call centre, carbon footprint, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, connected car, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, David Brooks, disintermediation, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, distributed ledger, Edward Glaeser, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, fiat currency, future of work, global supply chain, Google X / Alphabet X, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, Joi Ito, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, lifelogging, litecoin, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Mikhail Gorbachev, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Nelson Mandela, new economy, offshore financial centre, open economy, Parag Khanna, paypal mafia, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, precision agriculture, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rubik’s Cube, Satoshi Nakamoto, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, social graph, software as a service, special economic zone, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, technoutopianism, The Future of Employment, Travis Kalanick, underbanked, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, young professional

They have transformed from countries where famines killed tens of millions of people during the 20th century to two of the largest and most vibrant economies in the world. Their futures will see transformative change every bit as exceptional as the past three decades have. For decades, China demonstrated that a somewhat open economy and a closed political system can achieve growth by being home to knowledge workers and manufacturing centers. But it is now seeking to prove that it can provide the conditions for innovation of its own. To this end, the core question for China’s future is whether its model of relative economic openness but tight political control can foster real innovation. Thus far, it seems that its knowledge economy has been hampered. For example, China’s successes in the Internet economy have all come from either building Chinese versions of technologies previously invented in the United States or Canada (and often stealing the intellectual property to do it) or from providing low-cost manufacturing to build the hardware for non-Chinese companies.

Roubini observes that “in India you see the bypass of infrastructure. In Mumbai, flyovers go over shantytowns. A homeless person may have the right to not be moved from the little place he sleeps on the street. It can take years, then, to move stuff forward. This is why infrastructure is superdeveloped in China and is underdeveloped in India.” What India lacks in central planning for manufacturing it has made up for in producing knowledge workers. India trains around 1.5 million engineers every year, which is more than the United States and China combined. India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, focused significant resources on IT and higher education. His government oversaw the establishment of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, the Indian Institutes of Technology, and the Indian Institutes of Management, which are among the best professional training centers in any emerging market—indeed, in any market at all.


pages: 407 words: 109,653

Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing by Po Bronson, Ashley Merryman

Asperger Syndrome, Berlin Wall, Charles Lindbergh, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, delayed gratification, deliberate practice, Edward Glaeser, experimental economics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fear of failure, game design, industrial cluster, Jean Tirole, knowledge worker, longitudinal study, loss aversion, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, phenotype, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, school choice, selection bias, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Steve Jobs, zero-sum game

According to University of North Carolina professor Bradley Staats, productivity per person can drop 40% even on a small team. It eats up a lot of time to coordinate a team’s efforts—making sure everyone has replaced the April 10, 5:00 P.M., draft with the April 10, 6:00 P.M—no, wait—6:15 draft. Magic is supposed to happen when a group of people are united in their dedication to a singular purpose. But modern, corporate teams aren’t remotely like that: estimates are that up to 90% of knowledge workers are on multiple teams, each team fighting for its members’ time and attention. No project gets singular devotion. And with the rise of technology-assisted “virtual teams,” where coworkers are spread around the country or world, people may have no real relationship with teammates; often, they don’t even meet. In studies of thousands of companies that have implemented teamwork, there’s no firm evidence that, on average, they make any more money, or are even more productive, after instituting a team-based structure.

One economic incongruity the researchers had observed: most highly educated East Germans did not pursue new careers in engineering or technology, despite being qualified to do so. Instead, they took low-paying jobs in the construction industry, as laborers. This perpetuated the productivity gap between East and West, because so many college grads in the East took jobs beneath their intellectual capabilities. They had the education of a modern knowledge worker, but not the mindset. Over time, researchers started to see a pattern. Those who succeeded—those who became competitive and innovative—were higher in agency. Agency is the capacity to act independently, to make one’s own free choices, and to make decisions quickly. Agency is the core inside self-starters, the trait that grows into personal initiative. Those low in agency don’t trust themselves, and they are more reliant on others’ leadership.


pages: 518 words: 107,836

How Not to Network a Nation: The Uneasy History of the Soviet Internet (Information Policy) by Benjamin Peters

Albert Einstein, American ideology, Andrei Shleifer, Benoit Mandelbrot, bitcoin, Brownian motion, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, computer age, conceptual framework, continuation of politics by other means, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Graeber, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Davies, double helix, Drosophila, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, hive mind, index card, informal economy, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Jacquard loom, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, linear programming, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, Pareto efficiency, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, Peter Thiel, Philip Mirowski, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, scientific mainstream, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, stochastic process, technoutopianism, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, transaction costs, Turing machine

In its initial proposals, the OGAS Project estimated that it would take over thirty years to be fully online, that it would need a labor transfer of some 300,000 personnel, that costs would be upward of 20 billion rubles for the first fifteen years, and that tens of thousands of computing center and interactive access points would be distributed across the Soviet population. All this would prove net efficient, promised Glushkov. The 300,000 knowledge workers would constitute an enormous labor transfer, as well as a net reduction in the ever-rising number of people who were employed in economic planning. The 20 billion rubles would be distributed over three five-year plans, with the first requiring a seemingly modest 5 billion rubles. Acutely aware of the advantages of the well-regulated financial management that was enjoyed by the successful military nuclear and space programs, Glushkov insisted to Prime Minister Kosygin that, if the OGAS were to be developed, this civilian program would require a similarly well-managed funding stream, even though it would prove more complicated and expensive than both military programs combined.

The OGAS, for Glushkov, was to be a national communication network, countless local paperless offices, and a dynamic management system that connected them—a global-local network. A proper economic reform, in his mind, must benefit the factory worker, the general secretary, and the whole populace. The OGAS sought to pole-vault socialism toward communism at the Hegelian level of historical progress and to usher in a better work life for the knowledge worker: in the command economy, everyone needed to work knowledgably with economic plans. The OGAS would grant both at once, automatically storing relevant digital files on every local actor while granting remote access anywhere else in the country. The origins of the ideas behind the OGAS computing network also point to a preexisting academic network, including the circulation of a 1955 Academy of Sciences proposal by Nemchinov to erect large but unconnected state computer centers in Moscow, Kiev, Novosibirsk, Riga, Kharkov, and other major cities.


pages: 602 words: 177,874

Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist's Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations by Thomas L. Friedman

3D printing, additive manufacturing, affirmative action, Airbnb, AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, autonomous vehicles, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, Bob Noyce, business cycle, business process, call centre, centre right, Chris Wanstrath, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, demand response, demographic dividend, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Erik Brynjolfsson, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Ferguson, Missouri, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Flash crash, game design, gig economy, global pandemic, global supply chain, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, indoor plumbing, intangible asset, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, invention of the steam engine, inventory management, Irwin Jacobs: Qualcomm, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, land tenure, linear programming, Live Aid, low skilled workers, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Nelson Mandela, pattern recognition, planetary scale, pull request, Ralph Waldo Emerson, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, South China Sea, Steve Jobs, supercomputer in your pocket, TaskRabbit, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Thomas L Friedman, transaction costs, Transnistria, uber lyft, undersea cable, urban decay, urban planning, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, Y2K, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

But they also need to understand that to thrive as a country we need a steady flow of legal immigration. Our ability as a country to embrace diversity is one of our greatest competitive advantages. We need to control low-skilled immigration so our own low-skilled workers are not priced out of jobs, while removing all limits on H-1B visas for foreign high-skilled knowledge workers. We should also double the research funding for all of our national labs and institutes of health to drive basic research. Nothing would spin off more new good jobs and industries than that combination of more basic research and more knowledge workers. 7. To ensure that next-generation Internet services are developed in America, she would put in place new accelerated tax incentives and eliminate regulatory barriers to rapidly scale up the deployment of superfast bandwidth—for both wire line and wireless networks.

The Brilliant Janitor Intelligent assistants are not simply websites you can access. They are also portable tools that can turn AI into IA in remarkable new ways so that so many more people, no matter how educated or dexterous, can live above the average adaptability line—and even thrive there. Consider what it is to be a janitor today at the Qualcomm campus in San Diego. Hint: thanks to intelligent assistants, it’s become a knowledge worker job. Ashok Tipirneni, director of product management for Qualcomm’s Smart Cities project, explained to me why: Qualcomm has created a business in showing companies how they can retrofit wireless sensors to every part of their buildings in order to generate a real-time, nonstop sort of EKG or MRI of what is going on deep inside every one of their buildings’ systems. To create a demonstration model, Tipirneni started with six buildings at Qualcomm’s Pacific Center Campus in San Diego, which included parking garages, office spaces, and food courts; the area was about a million square feet in total and used by about 3,200 people.


Data Mining: Concepts and Techniques: Concepts and Techniques by Jiawei Han, Micheline Kamber, Jian Pei

bioinformatics, business intelligence, business process, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, computer vision, correlation coefficient, cyber-physical system, database schema, discrete time, distributed generation, finite state, information retrieval, iterative process, knowledge worker, linked data, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Occam's razor, pattern recognition, performance metric, phenotype, random walk, recommendation engine, RFID, semantic web, sentiment analysis, speech recognition, statistical model, stochastic process, supply-chain management, text mining, thinkpad, Thomas Bayes, web application

They cover most of the day-to-day operations of an organization such as purchasing, inventory, manufacturing, banking, payroll, registration, and accounting. Data warehouse systems, on the other hand, serve users or knowledge workers in the role of data analysis and decision making. Such systems can organize and present data in various formats in order to accommodate the diverse needs of different users. These systems are known as online analytical processing (OLAP) systems. The major distinguishing features of OLTP and OLAP are summarized as follows:■ Users and system orientation: An OLTP system is customer-oriented and is used for transaction and query processing by clerks, clients, and information technology professionals. An OLAP system is market-oriented and is used for data analysis by knowledge workers, including managers, executives, and analysts. ■ Data contents: An OLTP system manages current data that, typically, are too detailed to be easily used for decision making.

A data warehouse is also often viewed as an architecture, constructed by integrating data from multiple heterogeneous sources to support structured and/or ad hoc queries, analytical reporting, and decision making. Based on this information, we view data warehousing as the process of constructing and using data warehouses. The construction of a data warehouse requires data cleaning, data integration, and data consolidation. The utilization of a data warehouse often necessitates a collection of decision support technologies. This allows “knowledge workers” (e.g., managers, analysts, and executives) to use the warehouse to quickly and conveniently obtain an overview of the data, and to make sound decisions based on information in the warehouse. Some authors use the term data warehousing to refer only to the process of data warehouse construction, while the term warehouse DBMS is used to refer to the management and utilization of data warehouses.

Other features that distinguish between OLTP and OLAP systems include database size, frequency of operations, and performance metrics. These are summarized in Table 4.1. Table 4.1 Comparison of OLTP and OLAP Systems Note: Table is partially based on Chaudhuri and Dayal [CD97]. FeatureOLTPOLAP Characteristic operational processing informational processing Orientation transaction analysis User clerk, DBA, database professional knowledge worker (e.g., manager, executive, analyst) Function day-to-day operations long-term informational requirements decision support DB design ER-based, application-oriented star/snowflake, subject-oriented Data current, guaranteed up-to-date historic, accuracy maintainedover time Summarization primitive, highly detailed summarized, consolidated View detailed, flat relational summarized, multidimensional Unit of work short, simple transaction complex query Access read/write mostly read Focus data in information out Operations index/hash on primary key lots of scans Number of records accessed tens millions Number of users thousands hundreds DB size GB to high-order GB ≥ TB Priority high performance, high availability high flexibility, end-user autonomy Metric transaction throughput query throughput, response time 4.1.3.


Fortunes of Change: The Rise of the Liberal Rich and the Remaking of America by David Callahan

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, American Legislative Exchange Council, automated trading system, Bernie Sanders, Bonfire of the Vanities, carbon footprint, carried interest, clean water, corporate social responsibility, David Brooks, demographic transition, desegregation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Thorp, financial deregulation, financial independence, global village, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, high net worth, income inequality, Irwin Jacobs: Qualcomm, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, medical malpractice, mega-rich, Mitch Kapor, Naomi Klein, NetJets, new economy, offshore financial centre, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, profit maximization, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ralph Nader, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Florida, Robert Bork, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, short selling, Silicon Valley, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, stem cell, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, unpaid internship, Upton Sinclair, Vanguard fund, War on Poverty, working poor, World Values Survey

For instance, 63 percent of Colorado voters with postgraduate degrees—who made up more than a fifth of the electorate in 2008—went for Obama, helping to compensate for his loss among voters who had only attended high school or some college. In North Carolina, Obama won only among high school dropouts and voters with postgraduate degrees—which was enough to take the state. A year later, as Republicans swept gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey in 2009, voters with postgraduate degrees stuck with Democrats in both elections.14 Beyond the pragmatic reasons for knowledge workers to be liberal, the educated usually trend left for other reasons. In their 2002 book The Emerging Democratic Majority, John Judis and Ruy Teixeira describe how professionals have long been the strongest supporters of “civil rights and feminist causes.” And there is a reason for this: the more educated you are, the more likely you are to question rigid hierarchy, be tolerant of cultural differences, and reject traditional values.

Besides, half of a giant compensation package is still pretty huge, and most of our motivation is the sheer challenge of the job anyway. Instead of trying to shame companies and executives, the president should take advantage of our success by using our outsized earnings to pay for the needs of our nation.”12 This suggestion was not surprising, coming from Hastings, who epitomizes today’s rich progressives. Like many, he is a second-generation knowledge worker—his father was a big-time lawyer—who grew up in deep-blue America, around Boston. He went to private school in Cambridge; attended Bowdoin, an elite liberal arts college in Maine; spent two years in the Peace Corps; and then got a master’s degree in computer science from Stanford. After making a fortune in software during the 1990s, Hastings decided that he wanted to do something important.


pages: 429 words: 114,726

The Computer Boys Take Over: Computers, Programmers, and the Politics of Technical Expertise by Nathan L. Ensmenger

barriers to entry, business process, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, deskilling, Donald Knuth, Firefox, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, Grace Hopper, informal economy, information retrieval, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, job satisfaction, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, loose coupling, new economy, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, performance metric, Philip Mirowski, post-industrial society, Productivity paradox, RAND corporation, Robert Gordon, Shoshana Zuboff, sorting algorithm, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, the market place, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thorstein Veblen, Turing machine, Von Neumann architecture, Y2K

By this point the rhetoric of crisis had become so commonplace in the computer industry literature that for many young programmers the software crisis was “less a turning point than a way of life.”16 This comes back to some of the central questions of this book: How can we explain the continued existence of a seemingly perpetual crisis in what is generally considered to be one of the most successful and profitable industries of all time? How can we understand the role of computer specialists—in many respects the paradigmatic “knowledge workers” of post-industrial society—within this troubled framework of crisis, conflict, and contested identity? If, as Shoshona Zuboff has suggested, computer-based technologies are not simply neutral artifacts, but rather “embody essential characteristics that are bound to alter the nature of work within factories and offices, and among workers, professionals, and managers,” then what are the “essential characteristics” of software and software development that shape our understanding of work, identity, and power in the information technology industry (and the many industries that rely on information technology)?

His analysis was remarkably comprehensive, covering such issues as training and education, structured programming techniques (“the software manager’s answer to the conveyor belt”), the social organization of the workplace (aimed at reinforcing the fragmentation between “head” planning and “hand” labor), and careers, pay, and professionalism (encouraged by managers as a means of discouraging unions). Greenbaum followed Kraft’s conclusions and methodology closely in her book In the Name of Efficiency: Management Theory and Shopfloor Practice in Data-Processing Work in 1979. More recently, she has defended their application of the Braverman deskilling hypothesis: “If we strip away the spin words used today like ‘knowledge’ worker, ‘flexible’ work, and ‘high tech’ work, and if we insert the word ‘information system’ for ‘machinery,’ we are still talking about management attempts to control and coordinate labor processes.”30 There is validity to both interpretations of the changing attitude of managers toward programmers that occurred in the late 1960s. Certainly there were numerous technical innovations in both hardware and software that prompted managerial responses.


pages: 377 words: 115,122

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain

8-hour work day, Albert Einstein, Asperger Syndrome, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, call centre, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, delayed gratification, deliberate practice, game design, hive mind, index card, indoor plumbing, Isaac Newton, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, longitudinal study, Mahatma Gandhi, mass immigration, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, new economy, popular electronics, Ralph Waldo Emerson, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rosa Parks, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, telemarketer, The Wisdom of Crowds, traveling salesman, twin studies, Walter Mischel, web application, white flight

They’re often subject to loud and uncontrollable noise, which raises heart rates; releases cortisol, the body’s fight-or-flight “stress” hormone; and makes people socially distant, quick to anger, aggressive, and slow to help others. Indeed, excessive stimulation seems to impede learning: a recent study found that people learn better after a quiet stroll through the woods than after a noisy walk down a city street. Another study, of 38,000 knowledge workers across different sectors, found that the simple act of being interrupted is one of the biggest barriers to productivity. Even multitasking, that prized feat of modern-day office warriors, turns out to be a myth. Scientists now know that the brain is incapable of paying attention to two things at the same time. What looks like multitasking is really switching back and forth between multiple tasks, which reduces productivity and increases mistakes by up to 50 percent.

., Environmental Psychology (Lawrence Erlbaum, 2005), 162. (8) Davis, “The Physical Environment of the Office.” 38. people learn better after a quiet stroll: Marc G. Berman et al., “The Cognitive Benefits of Interacting with Nature,” Psychological Science 19, no. 12 (2008): 1207–12. See also Stephen Kaplan and Marc Berman, “Directed Attention as a Common Resource for Executive Functioning and Self-Regulation,” Perspectives on Psychological Science 5, no. 1 (2010): 43–57. 39. Another study, of 38,000 knowledge workers: Davis et al., “The Physical Environment of the Office.” 40. Even multitasking … a myth: John Medina, Brain Rules (Seattle, WA: Pear Press, 2008), 87. 41. Backbone Entertainment: Mike Mika, interview with the author, July 12, 2006. 42. Reebok International: Kimberly Blanton, “Design It Yourself: Pleasing Offices Laid Out by the Workers Who Use Them Can Be a Big Advantage When Companies Compete for Talent,” Boston Globe, March 1, 2005. 43.


pages: 385 words: 118,314

Cities Are Good for You: The Genius of the Metropolis by Leo Hollis

Airbnb, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Boris Johnson, Broken windows theory, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, car-free, carbon footprint, cellular automata, clean water, cloud computing, complexity theory, congestion charging, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, Deng Xiaoping, digital map, East Village, Edward Glaeser, Enrique Peñalosa, Firefox, Frank Gehry, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, Gini coefficient, Google Earth, Guggenheim Bilbao, haute couture, Hernando de Soto, housing crisis, illegal immigration, income inequality, informal economy, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Long Term Capital Management, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, Masdar, mass immigration, megacity, negative equity, new economy, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, openstreetmap, packet switching, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, place-making, Ray Oldenburg, Richard Florida, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, spice trade, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Great Good Place, the High Line, The Spirit Level, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Malthus, trade route, traveling salesman, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, walkable city, white flight, Y2K, Yom Kippur War

But when I visited, as my taxi drove me away from the new shiny terminal I was warned that it might take three hours to get to my hotel. They were still building the road between the city and the airport. The fabric of the city was failing to keep up with the demands of the burgeoning creative economy it has spawned. The economist Enrico Moretti has been charting the new geography of jobs in America and his research reveals that the new knowledge workers have a multiplier effect wherever they work. Creative jobs often attract other creative workers; in addition they increase employment and salaries for those who are providing local services: ‘for each new high-tech job in a city, five additional jobs are ultimately created outside of the high-tech sector in that city’.10 The creative economy has a powerful impact on its host city, but not all cities are equal.

This brand new, hypermobile vision of the future comes with a warning: things are not as fluid, open and fresh as the economists would have us believe. Richard Florida was the first to coin ‘the creative class’ as a new, dynamic social and economic group who were having a profound impact on urban regeneration. The new human economy, he proposes, will be split between those who are mobile and those who are stuck. Knowledge workers will move around the world in search of places of excellence: ‘The mobile possess the means, resources and inclination to seek out and move to locations where they can leverage their talents.’12 It was this creative class that David Cameron had in mind when he launched Tech City in 2010. It is these burgeoning ‘hi-tech nomads’ that are causing congestion in gridlocked Bangalore. The ‘creative class’ is the human equivalent of the ‘Bilbao effect’, developing a place where small start-ups and multinational companies can share the same car park, attracting talent from around the world.


Decoding Organization: Bletchley Park, Codebreaking and Organization Studies by Christopher Grey

call centre, computer age, glass ceiling, index card, iterative process, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, old-boy network

This in a way is a variant on the theme of showing how BP entailed more than the received image of the ‘genius codebreaker’, being instead a much more varied and interdependent set of activities. One reason why this was obvious at BP was that it existed at the cusp of computerization and so many work processes which are nowadays largely invisible could be discerned. For example, the modern-day ‘knowledge worker’ might be imagined tapping away at a laptop computer, but the tasks being performed might be understood as no more than the mundane filing and clerical work which at BP was performed by human labour (cf. Lilley, Lightfoot and Amaral, 2004: 141). Not just this last point but all of the insights summarised in this section are aided by the fact that this is an historical study. The visibility of organizational processes and of the societal context of organization and work is made easier by historical distance.

Another instance would be the parallels between the ‘instinctive’ ability of an intelligence analyst or cryptanalyst to spot tiny hints – as discussed in Chapter 6 – and Weick and Roberts’ (1993) observation of the way that flight crews need to be alert to small things which might have large consequences. Or, to give a final example, Stuart Milner-Barry’s stress on ‘listening’ as central to his management of Hut 6, again described in Chapter 5, is echoed in contemporary practices of the management of knowledge workers as outlined by Alvesson and Svengisson (2003). No doubt many such parallels could be enumerated. They require careful handling, of course, because they carry the danger of anachronism. Equally, there are many aspects of BP which are highly unusual and will have very limited resonance, if any at all. In particular, the extreme secrecy, both internal and external, is hardly commonplace. This may indeed be a point of interest in that, by definition, studies of secret organizations are extremely rare and really feasible only when conducted historically (cf.


pages: 141 words: 40,979

The Little Book That Builds Wealth: The Knockout Formula for Finding Great Investments by Pat Dorsey

Airbus A320, barriers to entry, business process, call centre, creative destruction, credit crunch, discounted cash flows, intangible asset, knowledge worker, late fees, low cost airline, low cost carrier, Network effects, pets.com, price anchoring, risk tolerance, risk/return, rolodex, shareholder value, Stewart Brand

It’s hard to argue that Windows is the acme of PC operating systems, but its massive user base means that you pretty much have to know how to operate a Windows-based PC to survive in corporate America. Word and Excel are similar. Even if a competitor showed up on the scene next week with a word processor or spreadsheet that was five times easier to use and half the price, it would have a hard time gaining traction in the market because Excel and Word have become (like it or not) the common language of knowledge workers around the world. In fact, there has been an Office competitor called “OpenOffice” on the market for several years, selling for a lot less than Excel and Word—it’s actually free, which is a tough price to beat. The word-processing and spreadsheet programs look and feel a lot like Word and Excel, and the files are (largely) compatible with their Microsoft analogs. I’ve tried OpenOffice, and it’s pretty good.


pages: 428 words: 121,717

Warnings by Richard A. Clarke

active measures, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, anti-communist, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, Bernie Madoff, cognitive bias, collateralized debt obligation, complexity theory, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, data acquisition, discovery of penicillin, double helix, Elon Musk, failed state, financial thriller, fixed income, Flash crash, forensic accounting, friendly AI, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, knowledge worker, Maui Hawaii, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, money market fund, mouse model, Nate Silver, new economy, Nicholas Carr, nuclear winter, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, phenotype, Ponzi scheme, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, Sam Altman, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart grid, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Stuxnet, technological singularity, The Future of Employment, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, Tunguska event, uranium enrichment, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce, Y2K

A 2013 Oxford University study claimed that 47 percent of all U.S. jobs are at high risk of being automated within twenty years.24 In addition to blue-collar jobs, the study suggests that an increasing number of knowledge workers will also be at risk. Ever-improving weak AI married with large bodies of data will obviate the need for stockbrokers, medical diagnosticians, information technology support staff, and travel agents. It suggests that even lawyers, doctors, and investment managers will soon find themselves competing and losing to weak-AI software that can more rapidly assess the relevant data and make decisions with “deep, specialized, and often tacit knowledge.”25 A 2013 McKinsey Global Institute study predicts that weak AI will depose 140 million full-time knowledge workers worldwide.26 The idea is certainly not new. In 1933, John Maynard Keynes predicted widespread unemployment “due to our discovery of means of economising the use of labour outrunning the pace at which we can find new uses for labour.”27 Technological evolution is part and parcel of the history of humanity; the introduction of the wheel, gunpowder, the steam engine, the car, the adding machine, have all led to systemic societal transformation.


pages: 312 words: 93,504

Common Knowledge?: An Ethnography of Wikipedia by Dariusz Jemielniak

Andrew Keen, barriers to entry, Benevolent Dictator For Life (BDFL), citation needed, collaborative consumption, collaborative editing, conceptual framework, continuous integration, crowdsourcing, Debian, deskilling, digital Maoism, en.wikipedia.org, Filter Bubble, Google Glasses, Guido van Rossum, Hacker Ethic, hive mind, Internet Archive, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, job satisfaction, Julian Assange, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Menlo Park, moral hazard, online collectivism, pirate software, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, selection bias, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, social software, Stewart Brand, The Hackers Conference, The Nature of the Firm, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, WikiLeaks, wikimedia commons, zero-sum game

Everybody on Wikipedia knows that this measure is flawed (in Wikipedia jargon, obsession with edit count is called “editcountitis”; see [[WP:Editcountitis]]), but in the absence of other quantified indicators, it is used nevertheless. Many editors routinely check the volume of edits of other editors (O’Neil, 2010). The situation resembles the amount of time spent at work as a measure of effectiveness of programmers and other knowledge workers: even though everybody agrees that it does not signify anything, many managers of software companies use it anyway since there is no better alternative (D. Jemielniak, 2009). Similarly, it creates pathologies, as organizational actors understand how the system works and act accordingly (for example, by working late to create a better impression). Moreover, even though Wikipedia is a voluntary community and geared to collaboration rather than playing a zero-sum game, the problem with editcountitis is exacerbated by friendly competition.

Journal of Organizational Change Management, 20(4), 491–508. Jemielniak, D. (2008). Software engineers or artists: Programmers’ identity choices. Tamara Journal for Critical Organization Inquiry, 7(1), 20–36. Jemielniak, D. (2009). Time as symbolic currency in knowledge work. Information and Organization, 19, 277–293. Jemielniak, D. (2010). W obronie biurokracji. Master of Business Administration, 2(103), 72–79. Jemielniak, D. (2012). The new knowledge workers. Cheltenham, England: Edward Elgar. Jemielniak, D. (2013a). Netnografia, czyli etnografia wirtualna: Nowa forma badań etnograficznych. Prakseologia, 153, 97–115. Jemielniak, D. (2013b). Życie wirtualnych dzikich. Warsaw, Poland: Poltext. Jemielniak, D., & Gorbatai, A. (2012). Power and status on Wikipedia. Unpublished manuscript, Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.


pages: 402 words: 126,835

The Job: The Future of Work in the Modern Era by Ellen Ruppel Shell

3D printing, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, big-box store, blue-collar work, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collective bargaining, computer vision, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, deskilling, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, follow your passion, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, game design, glass ceiling, hiring and firing, immigration reform, income inequality, industrial robot, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, labor-force participation, low skilled workers, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, new economy, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, precariat, Ralph Waldo Emerson, risk tolerance, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, Thomas L Friedman, Thorstein Veblen, Tim Cook: Apple, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, urban renewal, white picket fence, working poor, Y Combinator, young professional, zero-sum game

As we’ve seen, this “Do now, think later” strategy is not exclusive to IT, but has become pervasive even in fields like journalism and medicine, where increasingly workers are judged not by the depth of their thinking and the weight of their judgment, but by their productivity, as measured by “content” in the case of journalists, and by “caseload” in the case of medical professionals. Many of these “knowledge workers” are left to wonder what real value they offer beyond corralling customers in service to their employers. Some organizations try to maximize productivity and encourage “disruptive” innovation by gathering workers in teams. But among the Finnish group’s most striking conclusions is that our faith in the power of teamwork may be misplaced. Indeed, studies stretching back decades reveal that brainstorming rarely leads to novel solutions, and in fact can discourage innovative thinking.

But this “winner take most” strategy also threatens innovation of the sort that creates and sustains stable middle-class jobs. Manufacturing is the largest contributor to spending on research and development in the United States, and the largest employer of engineers. And the manufacturing process is critical to the successful commercialization of scientific discoveries and technological innovation. The production process is—in its own right—a driver of innovation, and production workers are—in their own right—knowledge workers. In other words, invention and production are complementary processes, and sending production abroad risks cramping innovation at home. As economist Paul Samuelson once wryly observed: “Invention abroad that gives to [other countries] some of the comparative advantage that had belonged to the United States can induce for the United States permanent lost per capita real income.” Innovation tends to bubble up from a synergy of research, development, and production, and an ongoing conversation among engineers, designers, factory managers, and the customers they serve.


pages: 170 words: 46,126

The 1% Rule: How to Fall in Love With the Process and Achieve Your Wildest Dreams by Tommy Baker

"side hustle", Cal Newport, delayed gratification, deliberate practice, Elon Musk, knowledge worker, Parkinson's law, passive income, Steve Jobs

However, there’s one, undeniable motivational force unlike any other: Progress—even the perception of it. When we feel we’re moving the needle forward in life, even a seemingly insignificant amount, we stay motivated. Progress keeps us inspired and on track. In 2011, Harvard Business Review (Amabile and Kramer, 2011) performed an extensive study on motivation in the workforce and what truly makes people tick. Researchers concluded: “Through exhaustive analysis of diaries kept by knowledge workers, we discovered the progress principle: Of all the things that can boost emotions, motivation, and perceptions during a workday, the single most important is making progress in meaningful work. And the more frequently people experience that sense of progress, the more likely they are to be creatively productive in the long run. Whether they are trying to solve a major scientific mystery or simply produce a high-quality product or service, everyday progress—even a small win—can make all the difference in how they feel and perform.”


pages: 532 words: 139,706

Googled: The End of the World as We Know It by Ken Auletta

23andMe, AltaVista, Anne Wojcicki, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Ben Horowitz, bioinformatics, Burning Man, carbon footprint, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, commoditize, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, death of newspapers, disintermediation, don't be evil, facts on the ground, Firefox, Frank Gehry, Google Earth, hypertext link, Innovator's Dilemma, Internet Archive, invention of the telephone, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Long Term Capital Management, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, PageRank, Paul Buchheit, Peter Thiel, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, semantic web, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, social graph, spectrum auction, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, strikebreaker, telemarketer, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Upton Sinclair, X Prize, yield management, zero-sum game

Management, said Bowman, pushed to “reduce each decision to a simple logic problem. Remove all subjectivity and just look at the data.... And that data eventually becomes a crutch for every decision, paralyzing the company and preventing it from making any daring design decisions.” Google honors its engineers as creators, treating them the way the legendary management consultant Peter Drucker suggested a half century ago that companies should treat “knowledge workers,” said Hal R. Varian, Google’s chief economist. But an engineering-dominated culture has drawbacks. “In some ways, they have not done enough to communicate what they are doing internally or externally,” said Paul Buchheit, Google’s twenty-third employee, the one who coined their “Don’t be evil” motto and who left with three other Googlers to launch a social network, FriendFeed, in 2006. “Part of the culture is not to communicate.

Fortune, May 26, 2008, and confirmed by Google. 18 conveys a sense of freedom: author interview with Krishna Bharat, September 12, 2007. 18 Burning Man’s ten stated principles: Burning Man Web site. 18 “Google is a cross”: author interview with Peter Norvig, August 21, 2007. 18 She described the culture as “flat”: author interview with Stacy Savides Sullivan, August 21, 2007. 19 the best U.S. company to work for: Fortune, January 2008. 19 salaries are modest: SEC 14-A filing, March 24, 2009. 19 stock option grants: Google 10-K filed with the SEC for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2008. 19 more applicants are accepted by Harvard... packet about each: author interviews with Lazslo Bock, August 22, 2007, Leesa Gidaro, September 12, 2007, and David Drummond, March 25, 2008, and Google orientation for new employees, October 8, 2007, attended by author. 20 consisted of 130 people: author interview with David Krane, August 22, 2007. 20 a total of eight hours of his time: author interview with a senior executive at Google. 20 a blog explaining why he left: “Why Designer Doug Bowman Quit Google,” Google Blogoscope, March 21, 2009. 20 “knowledge workers”: author interview with Hal Varian, March 28, 2008. 20 “In some ways”: author interview with Paul Buchheit, June 9, 2008. 21 user experience matters most: author interview with Matt Cutts, August 20, 2007. 21 “church/state wall”: author interview with Larry Page, March 25, 2008. 21 four thousand dollars a day: Jason Calacanis blog from AdSense, July 28, 2008. 21 one thousand employees have received this subsidy: supplied to the author by Google. 22 “moral force”: author interview with Eric Schmidt, June 11, 2008. 22 “great values”: author interview with Al Gore, June 10, 2008. 23 “How can you”: author interview with Eric Schmidt, September 12, 2007. 23 Winograd . . . recounted a discussion at a TGIF: author interview with Dr.


pages: 464 words: 127,283

Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia by Anthony M. Townsend

1960s counterculture, 4chan, A Pattern Language, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, anti-communist, Apple II, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Burning Man, business process, call centre, carbon footprint, charter city, chief data officer, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, computer age, congestion charging, connected car, crack epidemic, crowdsourcing, DARPA: Urban Challenge, data acquisition, Deng Xiaoping, digital map, Donald Davies, East Village, Edward Glaeser, game design, garden city movement, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, George Gilder, ghettoisation, global supply chain, Grace Hopper, Haight Ashbury, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, interchangeable parts, Internet Archive, Internet of things, Jacquard loom, Jane Jacobs, jitney, John Snow's cholera map, Joi Ito, Khan Academy, Kibera, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, load shedding, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, mobile money, mutually assured destruction, new economy, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, off grid, openstreetmap, packet switching, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Parag Khanna, patent troll, Pearl River Delta, place-making, planetary scale, popular electronics, RFC: Request For Comment, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, social software, social web, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, technoutopianism, Ted Kaczynski, telepresence, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, too big to fail, trade route, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, undersea cable, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, working poor, working-age population, X Prize, Y2K, zero day, Zipcar

Starting with an analysis of risk factors, a piece of software could prioritize each day’s inspections instead of just working through a sequential list of addresses on some rigid calendar. Then, during the actual inspection, another analysis would point out the most likely trouble spots that needed scrutiny by the inspector’s expert eye. Goldsmith wanted to turn city workers from automatons into knowledge workers. The stated goal of this approach was an increase in productivity and effectiveness. But as with his privatization efforts in Indianapolis, it was also a Trojan horse for an assault on the city’s powerful labor unions. Fully implemented, Goldsmith’s reforms would make redundant an entire swath of middle managers, the supervisors and dispatchers who jockeyed line workers through their daily procedural paces.

He understood that it is nothing more than a diagnostic tool: “A single data point that does not tell you that a house is going to fall into blight but [the index could signal] that there is a higher than normal probability that it will be in disrepair.”33 The data could then be used as an input when allocating revitalization funds or directing social workers to trouble spots. It was a strategy cut from the same cloth as Goldsmith’s vision for transforming bureaucrats and civil servants into knowledge workers, but without the union busting. As a triage tool for stretching scarce city resources, it’s hard to argue against this kind of data-driven management. But as data becomes more central to how we measure government performance, it can create perverse incentives. One of the largest and longest-running data-driven management systems of any American city is the New York City Police Department’s CompStat program.


pages: 223 words: 52,808

Intertwingled: The Work and Influence of Ted Nelson (History of Computing) by Douglas R. Dechow

3D printing, Apple II, Bill Duvall, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, Claude Shannon: information theory, cognitive dissonance, computer age, conceptual framework, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Snowden, game design, HyperCard, hypertext link, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Jaron Lanier, knowledge worker, linked data, Marc Andreessen, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, pre–internet, RAND corporation, semantic web, Silicon Valley, software studies, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, the medium is the message, Vannevar Bush, Wall-E, Whole Earth Catalog

Thus, mechanisms for finding and transcluding material need to be efficient, as generally speaking whatever is inefficient is done much less often and therefore is not as valuable in practice as it sounds in theory. A recommendation: the more developers might collaborate to create common models of transclusion, as opposed to the endless one-upmanship now practiced—the more transclusion can come out of the closet, and be seen as a core capability that helps all knowledge workers lift their game across all their work, creating greater value for their organizations and clients. Open Access This chapter is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License, which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited. References 1. Akscyn RM, McCracken DL, Yoder EA (1988) KMS: a distributed hypermedia system for managing knowledge in organization.


pages: 215 words: 56,215

The Second Intelligent Species: How Humans Will Become as Irrelevant as Cockroaches by Marshall Brain

Amazon Web Services, basic income, clean water, cloud computing, computer vision, digital map, en.wikipedia.org, full employment, income inequality, job automation, knowledge worker, low earth orbit, mutually assured destruction, Occupy movement, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, Stephen Hawking, working poor

So the printing plant at the FAA will close, along with all of the related jobs at the plant. All of the shops selling paper maps lose that source of revenue and lay off hundreds of workers. The demand for paper, ink, printing presses and fork lifts goes down, so jobs are lost there too. And there is far less shipping involved. Yes, a jobs do get created at tiny iPad app companies. These are the knowledge worker jobs, primarily for computer programmers. None of the people who used to run presses, forklifts, cutters, trucks or shops will ever be writing code for apps, and the compression rate is 10 to 1 or more. In other words, something like 10 jobs are lost for every new job created. That same kind of job compression is happening through so many sectors right now - newspapers, magazines, books, etc.


pages: 209 words: 53,175

The Psychology of Money: Timeless Lessons on Wealth, Greed, and Happiness by Morgan Housel

"side hustle", airport security, Amazon Web Services, Bernie Madoff, business cycle, computer age, coronavirus, discounted cash flows, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, financial independence, Hans Rosling, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, index fund, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, new economy, Paul Graham, payday loans, Ponzi scheme, quantitative easing, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Stephen Hawking, Steven Levy, stocks for the long run, the scientific method, traffic fines, Vanguard fund, working-age population

You might be on the clock for fewer hours than you would in 1950. But it feels like you’re working 24/7. Derek Thompson of The Atlantic once described it like this: If the operating equipment of the 21st century is a portable device, this means the modern factory is not a place at all. It is the day itself. The computer age has liberated the tools of productivity from the office. Most knowledge workers, whose laptops and smartphones are portable all-purpose media-making machines, can theoretically be as productive at 2 p.m. in the main office as at 2 a.m. in a Tokyo WeWork or at midnight on the couch.²⁹ Compared to generations prior, control over your time has diminished. And since controlling your time is such a key happiness influencer, we shouldn’t be surprised that people don’t feel much happier even though we are, on average, richer than ever.


pages: 527 words: 147,690

Terms of Service: Social Media and the Price of Constant Connection by Jacob Silverman

23andMe, 4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Airbnb, airport security, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, basic income, Brian Krebs, California gold rush, call centre, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, don't be evil, drone strike, Edward Snowden, feminist movement, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, game design, global village, Google Chrome, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, late capitalism, license plate recognition, life extension, lifelogging, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, Marshall McLuhan, mass incarceration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Minecraft, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, national security letter, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Occupy movement, optical character recognition, payday loans, Peter Thiel, postindustrial economy, prediction markets, pre–internet, price discrimination, price stability, profit motive, quantitative hedge fund, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent control, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Snapchat, social graph, social intelligence, social web, sorting algorithm, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, TaskRabbit, technoutopianism, telemarketer, transportation-network company, Travis Kalanick, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, universal basic income, unpaid internship, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, Zipcar

He could work from home and see his family, and he was writing about an important topic, perhaps the central issue of our time. He was respected as a climate change expert and had 37,000 Twitter followers, and he loved being able to turn to them for conversation, to answer questions, or just idle chatter: “It was like this really erudite, diverse cocktail party that was always going on and that I could always wander into and just get into a chat.” But still the routine, the never-ending labor of the contemporary knowledge worker, got to him. After almost ten years of this, he wasn’t sure how much more he could handle. Part of that was the onslaught of information with which he had to deal. “There’s so much coming in all the time,” he said. “By the time I got to my computer, there’s this mass of stuff waiting.” He’d dispatch that in time, but this kind of informational busywork—e-mail, social media, keeping up with mailing lists and news sources, talking with his colleagues—would crop up constantly throughout the day.

My situation differs from Roberts’s in a few particulars, but as a freelance journalist, one who theoretically could always be working, finding new assignments, searching for stories, tracking invoices, or simply building up social capital and connections on social media, it can seem as if there is no distinction between work and not-work. There is always more information to consume, more work to be done, more pitches to write, or colleagues’ work to catch up on. Especially when one’s income is variable and contingent, it seems that the knowledge worker’s job is never done. More challenging is the sense of guilt and nagging anxiety that can come with putting the devices away and trying to carve out time to be alone or with friends. Like Roberts’s wife, my partner works mostly conventional hours at an office. When she comes home, we want to see each other, compare notes on the day, clean up, cook, read together, watch The X-Files—all those shared tasks and felicities that constitute domestic life.


pages: 187 words: 55,801

The New Division of Labor: How Computers Are Creating the Next Job Market by Frank Levy, Richard J. Murnane

Atul Gawande, business cycle, call centre, computer age, Computer Numeric Control, correlation does not imply causation, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deskilling, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Gunnar Myrdal, hypertext link, index card, information asymmetry, job automation, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, pattern recognition, profit motive, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, speech recognition, talking drums, telemarketer, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, working poor

The second is that computers will largely do high-level work, leaving most people no alternative but menial jobs. Peter Drucker, the management theorist, has been an enthusiastic member of the first school. In Drucker’s mind, computerization subsumes routine work, and so the real danger is a shortage of trained managers to direct what computers should do. Writer Jeremy Rifkin is a member of the second school. In The End of Work, Rifkin argues that the economy’s requirements for high-level knowledge workers can never compensate for the number of jobs computers will eliminate. The result will be a large concentration of workers in low-level dead-end jobs. Apparent support for this prediction comes from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which projects that food preparation and serving workers—a low-paying occupation requiring little training—will gain more jobs in the decade from 2000 to 2010 than any other occupation.8 In his 1960 essay Herbert Simon made a set of predictions about the job mix in a typical corporation in 1985.


pages: 523 words: 61,179

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

3D printing, AI winter, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, blockchain, business process, call centre, carbon footprint, cloud computing, computer vision, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, digital twin, disintermediation, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, friendly AI, future of work, industrial robot, Internet of things, inventory management, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, knowledge worker, Lyft, natural language processing, personalized medicine, precision agriculture, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Rodney Brooks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sensor fusion, sentiment analysis, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, software as a service, speech recognition, telepresence, telepresence robot, text mining, the scientific method, uber lyft

The effect is that you can have the administrative and operational support that’s more common for a CEO than a one-person show. Shivon Zilis, investor at Bloomberg Beta writes in a 2016 article: “Agents will make this possible, using a blend of learning algorithms and distributed labor to perform an ever-widening range of tasks at low cost. With help from these agents, we’ll be able to look as smart as those CEOs do today.” Zilis continues: “We’ll also become more productive. Most knowledge workers spend less than half their time doing things they’re really good at (i.e., what they’ve been hired to do). The rest is spent doing research, arranging meetings, coordinating with other people, and performing other minutia of office life. These tasks could easily be done just as well by a machine or intelligent service.”14 Myriad bots are available to help people become better at their work.


pages: 598 words: 172,137

Who Stole the American Dream? by Hedrick Smith

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbus A320, airline deregulation, anti-communist, asset allocation, banking crisis, Bonfire of the Vanities, British Empire, business cycle, business process, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, commoditize, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Brooks, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, family office, full employment, global supply chain, Gordon Gekko, guest worker program, hiring and firing, housing crisis, Howard Zinn, income inequality, index fund, industrial cluster, informal economy, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kitchen Debate, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, laissez-faire capitalism, late fees, Long Term Capital Management, low cost airline, low cost carrier, manufacturing employment, market fundamentalism, Maui Hawaii, mega-rich, MITM: man-in-the-middle, mortgage debt, negative equity, new economy, Occupy movement, Own Your Own Home, Paul Samuelson, Peter Thiel, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, Ponzi scheme, Powell Memorandum, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Renaissance Technologies, reshoring, rising living standards, Robert Bork, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Spirit Level, too big to fail, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, union organizing, Unsafe at Any Speed, Vanguard fund, We are the 99%, women in the workforce, working poor, Y2K

That was the title chosen for an economic strategy book by William Niskanen, head of the libertarian Cato Institute, and economist Robert Litan of the liberal Brookings Institution. Free trade economist Jagdish Bhagwati forecast that “in the end, Americans’ increasing dependence on an ever-widening array of technology will create a flood of high-paying jobs….” The older generation coached Generation X to stake its future on becoming engineers, computer programmers, and systems architects—an irreplaceable army of “knowledge workers”—because knowledge economy expertise would protect them from low-cost Asian competitors. The dawning of the digital era, its enthusiasts asserted, was altering the global balance of economic power back in our favor. “You could think of it as brain power vs. muscle power,” said Harvard economist Richard B. Freeman. Free traders in Washington think tanks and in Congress, wanting to put the best face on America’s global trade policies and seeing high-technology industries as America’s strong suit, had pressed the government in 1989 to establish a new category of foreign trade—“Advanced Technology Products.”

In 2009, the industry lobbying group TechAmerica reported that while the industry cut 245,600 U.S. jobs, it added more than 100,000 H-1B visa workers. Syntel: Grad Student to Billionaire Once again, the driving force behind the wave of imported IT workers on H-1B visas was the aggressive coterie of Indian offshoring firms, Infosys, Wipro, Satyam, and Tata. They have recruited tens of thousands of Indian knowledge workers at home and sent them into America. Other so-called body shops or multinational temp agencies, some owned by Americans, have copied the Indian strategy. But the four Indian firms have dominated the field. During the recession, from 2007 to 2009, four of the five largest users of H-1B visas were Indian firms—Tata, Infosys, Wipro, and Satyam—each receiving several times more visas than American giants such as Microsoft and Cisco, according to Ron Hira of Rochester Institute of Technology, who has frequently testified to Congress on offshoring issues.


pages: 561 words: 157,589

WTF?: What's the Future and Why It's Up to Us by Tim O'Reilly

4chan, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Alvin Roth, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Bill Joy: nanobots, bitcoin, blockchain, Bretton Woods, Brewster Kahle, British Empire, business process, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, computer vision, corporate governance, corporate raider, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, data acquisition, deskilling, DevOps, Donald Davies, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, full employment, future of work, George Akerlof, gig economy, glass ceiling, Google Glasses, Gordon Gekko, gravity well, greed is good, Guido van Rossum, High speed trading, hiring and firing, Home mortgage interest deduction, Hyperloop, income inequality, index fund, informal economy, information asymmetry, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invention of movable type, invisible hand, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jitney, job automation, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, Lao Tzu, Larry Wall, Lean Startup, Leonard Kleinrock, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, McMansion, microbiome, microservices, minimum viable product, mortgage tax deduction, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, Oculus Rift, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, Paul Buchheit, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer model, Ponzi scheme, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, randomized controlled trial, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Coase, Sam Altman, school choice, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, SETI@home, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, smart contracts, Snapchat, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, social web, software as a service, software patent, spectrum auction, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, strong AI, TaskRabbit, telepresence, the built environment, The Future of Employment, the map is not the territory, The Nature of the Firm, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Davenport, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, transportation-network company, Travis Kalanick, trickle-down economics, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, universal basic income, US Airways Flight 1549, VA Linux, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We are the 99%, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, yellow journalism, zero-sum game, Zipcar

Years ago, Clay Shirky described the move from “filter, then publish” to “publish, then filter” as one of the key advantages brought by the Internet to publishing, but the lesson applies to almost every Internet marketplace. It is fundamentally an open-ended network in which filtering and curation (known in other contexts as “management”) happens largely after the fact. But that’s not all. While large physical retailers cut costs by eliminating knowledgeable workers, using lower prices and greater selection to hedge against worse customer service (compare an old-time hardware store with a chain like Home Depot or Lowe’s), online retailers did not make these same trade-offs. Instead of just eliminating knowledgeable workers, they replaced and augmented them with software. Even though there are several orders of magnitude more products on Amazon than in physical stores, you don’t need a salesperson to help you find the right product—a search engine helps you find it. You don’t need a salesperson to help you understand which product is the best—Amazon has built software that lets customers rate the products and write reviews to tell you which are best, and then feeds that reputation information into their search engine so that the best products naturally come out on top.


pages: 229 words: 68,426

Everyware: The Dawning Age of Ubiquitous Computing by Adam Greenfield

augmented reality, business process, defense in depth, demand response, demographic transition, facts on the ground, game design, Howard Rheingold, Internet of things, James Dyson, knowledge worker, late capitalism, Marshall McLuhan, new economy, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, pattern recognition, profit motive, QR code, recommendation engine, RFID, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, the built environment, the scientific method

And while the intent wasn't to spy on such workers, it was readily apparent how the system could be abused, especially when the device responsible was so humble and so easy to forget about. Original sin came early to ubicomp. Want went on to join Mark Weiser's team at PARC (Palo Alto Research Center), where he contributed to foundational work on a range of networked devices called "tabs," "pads," and "boards." As with Active Badge, these were digital tools for freely roaming knowledge workers, built on a vocabulary of form universally familiar to anyone who's ever worked in an office: name tags, pads of paper, and erasable whiteboards, respectively.* * These form factors had been looming in the mass unconscious for a long time. PARC's "pad," in particular, seemed to owe a lot to the slablike media/communication devices used by astronauts Frank Poole and Dave Bowman in Stanley Kubrick's 1968 classic 2001: A Space Odyssey.


pages: 272 words: 64,626

Eat People: And Other Unapologetic Rules for Game-Changing Entrepreneurs by Andy Kessler

23andMe, Andy Kessler, bank run, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bob Noyce, British Empire, business cycle, business process, California gold rush, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, commoditize, computer age, creative destruction, disintermediation, Douglas Engelbart, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, fiat currency, Firefox, Fractional reserve banking, George Gilder, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, income inequality, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, libertarian paternalism, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, Netflix Prize, packet switching, personalized medicine, pets.com, prediction markets, pre–internet, profit motive, race to the bottom, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Skype, social graph, Steve Jobs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transcontinental railway, transfer pricing, wealth creators, Yogi Berra

Companies spent millions on factory gurus, Six-Sigma-smoking consultants from the 1950s all the way through the 1970s to help them squeeze gains out of workers. That’s what drove the stock market and wealth creation for several decades. That’s all fine in an Industrial Age when you can actually measure worker output in the form of widgets per day, cars off the line per hour, and the like. But in a service economy filled with knowledge workers flitting around trying to produce more, uh, banking or more insurance or more satisfaction at McDonald’s, the productivity game isn’t so easy. It’s hard to find ways to make workers more productive. Give’em a BlackBerry or something. Is that the way to create wealth? I doubt it. The trick is to look under the covers to find the new type of technology-bred capital stock—and figure out what all this technology is replacing.


pages: 208 words: 67,582

What About Me?: The Struggle for Identity in a Market-Based Society by Paul Verhaeghe

Berlin Wall, call centre, cognitive dissonance, deskilling, epigenetics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, income inequality, invisible hand, jimmy wales, job satisfaction, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Louis Pasteur, market fundamentalism, Milgram experiment, new economy, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, post-industrial society, Richard Feynman, Silicon Valley, Stanford prison experiment, stem cell, The Spirit Level, ultimatum game, working poor

None of this must come as a revelation; yet, for 20 years now, neo-liberal ideology has been drummed into schoolchildren in the name of a ‘value-free’, competency-based education system. The jargon used is a good indicator. Policy documents are larded with terms such as ‘educational consumers’, ‘output-based financing’, ‘performance funding’, ‘accreditation’, ‘accountability’, ‘benchmarks’, ‘stakeholders’, ‘human capital’, and ‘knowledge workers’. The annual Dutch budget memorandum is a case in point. In the section devoted to education, the emphasis is on issues such as ‘excelling’, uncovering talent, and performance bonuses(!) for outstanding teachers. Teachers’ organisations have responded angrily, attacking the lack of a central vision of education and the narrow economic focus, and expressing fears that weak pupils will fall by the wayside.


pages: 245 words: 64,288

Robots Will Steal Your Job, But That's OK: How to Survive the Economic Collapse and Be Happy by Pistono, Federico

3D printing, Albert Einstein, autonomous vehicles, bioinformatics, Buckminster Fuller, cloud computing, computer vision, correlation does not imply causation, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, Firefox, future of work, George Santayana, global village, Google Chrome, happiness index / gross national happiness, hedonic treadmill, illegal immigration, income inequality, information retrieval, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, jimmy wales, job automation, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, Lao Tzu, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, Loebner Prize, longitudinal study, means of production, Narrative Science, natural language processing, new economy, Occupy movement, patent troll, pattern recognition, peak oil, post scarcity, QR code, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, RFID, Rodney Brooks, selection bias, self-driving car, slashdot, smart cities, software as a service, software is eating the world, speech recognition, Steven Pinker, strong AI, technological singularity, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, women in the workforce

In 1995 he published The End of Work: The Decline of the Global Labor Force and the Dawn of the Post-Market Era8, where he predicted that worldwide unemployment would increase as information technology eliminates tens of millions of jobs in the manufacturing, agricultural, and service sectors. He traced the devastating impact of automation on blue-collar, retail and wholesale employees: “While a small elite of corporate managers and knowledge workers reap the benefits of the high-tech world economy, the American middle class continues to shrink and the workplace becomes ever more stressful”9. While he may have gotten some of the details wrong, the general outline is so spot-on that it seems almost prophetic. Over the past twenty years we have witnessed the gradual disappearance of the American middle class, with rising costs and lower income1011, while the wealthiest Americans have accumulated more wealth than ever before in history.


pages: 391 words: 71,600

Hit Refresh: The Quest to Rediscover Microsoft's Soul and Imagine a Better Future for Everyone by Satya Nadella, Greg Shaw, Jill Tracie Nichols

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, Amazon Web Services, anti-globalists, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bretton Woods, business process, cashless society, charter city, cloud computing, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, equal pay for equal work, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, fault tolerance, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, Google Glasses, Grace Hopper, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Mars Rover, Minecraft, Mother of all demos, NP-complete, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, place-making, Richard Feynman, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, special economic zone, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, telepresence, telerobotics, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Tim Cook: Apple, trade liberalization, two-sided market, universal basic income, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, young professional, zero-sum game

The new jobs will be predicated on knowing how to work with machines, but also on these uniquely human attributes. In the face of these many coming shifts, there must be a new social contract that helps to achieve economic surplus and opportunity on a more equitable basis. To get there, what will the new labor movement look like? There has been talk of a Universal Basic Income. How will we re-skill and retrain workers—not just high-end knowledge workers, but also low-skill and mid-skill labor? Can the service sector and people-on-people jobs be the source of new employment for many displaced from traditional manufacturing or agricultural sectors? Finally, as leaders, what is our role? At the end of the day, leaders of any company are evaluated based on their ability to grow the business, to clear the way for innovations that inspire customers.


pages: 232 words: 71,024

The Decline and Fall of IBM: End of an American Icon? by Robert X. Cringely

AltaVista, Bernie Madoff, business cycle, business process, cloud computing, commoditize, compound rate of return, corporate raider, full employment, if you build it, they will come, immigration reform, interchangeable parts, invention of the telephone, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, Paul Graham, platform as a service, race to the bottom, remote working, Robert Metcalfe, Robert X Cringely, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, six sigma, software as a service, Steve Jobs, Toyota Production System, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web application

Managers also have no contact with their people to speak of. They are completely disconnected from the day-to-day work of their people or the people themselves (they are often remote or sit in a different building), rarely seeing their people. Managers are just paper-pushers who implement the (often bad and short-sighted) policies that come down from above. Despite this, the company is *full* of extremely talented and knowledgeable workers (for the most part). So all hope is not lost, but their salvation would have to start with a radical change in management at all levels. And who would have to decide this? Management. Richard Steven Hack | May 05, 2007 | 5:32PM Lack of communication ‘deadly’ Richard Hack has almost hit the nail on the head. The problem is related to the fact that shareholders feel that bringing in money managers at the highest levels will ensure income growth and maintain share prices.


Big Data at Work: Dispelling the Myths, Uncovering the Opportunities by Thomas H. Davenport

Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, bioinformatics, business intelligence, business process, call centre, chief data officer, cloud computing, commoditize, data acquisition, disruptive innovation, Edward Snowden, Erik Brynjolfsson, intermodal, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, knowledge worker, lifelogging, Mark Zuckerberg, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Narrative Science, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, New Journalism, recommendation engine, RFID, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, sorting algorithm, statistical model, Tesla Model S, text mining, Thomas Davenport

The resulting structure may be intended for additional analysis or to be queried by a traditional SQL-based query tool. Many vendors are moving to so-called “SQL on Hadoop” approaches, simply because SQL has been used in business for a couple of decades, and many people (and higher-level languages) know how to create SQL queries. This business view ensures that big data is more consumable by the tools and the knowledge workers that already exist in an organization. Chapter_05.indd 123 03/12/13 1:04 PM 124 big data @ work Applications In this layer, the results of big data processing are analyzed and ­displayed either by business users or by other systems using them to make automated decisions. As I noted earlier in this chapter, the analysis of big data is not so different from traditional data a­ nalysis, except that it is more likely to be done with machine learning (automated model fitting tools), faster processing tools like in-memory and high-­performance analytics environments, and visual analytics.


pages: 235 words: 62,862

Utopia for Realists: The Case for a Universal Basic Income, Open Borders, and a 15-Hour Workweek by Rutger Bregman

autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Bartolomé de las Casas, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, Branko Milanovic, cognitive dissonance, computer age, conceptual framework, credit crunch, David Graeber, Diane Coyle, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, full employment, George Gilder, George Santayana, happiness index / gross national happiness, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, income inequality, invention of gunpowder, James Watt: steam engine, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, low skilled workers, means of production, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microcredit, minimum wage unemployment, Mont Pelerin Society, Nathan Meyer Rothschild: antibiotics, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, Peter Thiel, post-industrial society, precariat, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Skype, stem cell, Steven Pinker, telemarketer, The Future of Employment, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, wage slave, War on Poverty, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, wikimedia commons, women in the workforce, working poor, World Values Survey

Imagine there was a single measure that could wipe out all poverty everywhere, raising everybody in Africa above our Western poverty line, and in the process put a few extra months’ salary in our pockets too. Just imagine. Would we take that measure? No. Of course not. After all, this measure has been around for years. It’s the best plan that never happened. I’m talking about open borders. Not just for bananas, derivatives, and iPhones, but for one and all – for knowledge workers, for refugees, and for ordinary people in search of greener pastures. Of course, we’ve all learned the hard way by now that economists are no fortune tellers (the economist John Kenneth Galbraith once quipped that the only purpose of economic forecasts is to give astrology a better image), but on this point their views are remarkably consistent. Seven different studies have shown that, depending on the level of movement in the global labor market, the estimated growth in “gross worldwide product” would be in the range of 67% to 172%.17 Effectively, open borders would make the whole world twice as rich.


pages: 202 words: 64,725

Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett, Dave Evans

David Brooks, fear of failure, financial independence, game design, Haight Ashbury, invention of the printing press, iterative process, knowledge worker, market design, science of happiness, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, social intelligence, Steve Jobs

Energy After engagement, the second wayfinding clue to look for is energy. Human beings, like all living things, need energy to live and to thrive. Men and women used to spend most of their daily energy on physical tasks. For most of human history, men and women were working at hunting and gathering, raising children, and raising crops, most of their time consumed with energy-intensive physical labor. Nowadays, many of us are knowledge workers, and we use our brains to do the heavy lifting. The brain is a very energy-hungry organ. Of the roughly two thousand calories we consume a day, five hundred go to running our brains. That’s astonishing: the brain represents only about 2 percent of our body weight, and yet it takes up 25 percent of the energy we consume every day. It’s no wonder that the way we invest our attention is critical to whether or not we feel high or low energy.2 We engage in physical and mental activities all day long.


pages: 274 words: 75,846

The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding From You by Eli Pariser

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, A Pattern Language, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, back-to-the-land, Black Swan, borderless world, Build a better mousetrap, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, data acquisition, disintermediation, don't be evil, Filter Bubble, Flash crash, fundamental attribution error, global village, Haight Ashbury, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, Metcalfe’s law, Netflix Prize, new economy, PageRank, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, recommendation engine, RFID, Robert Metcalfe, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social graph, social software, social web, speech recognition, Startup school, statistical model, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, the scientific method, urban planning, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator

• You should be able to prevent information collected about you for one purpose from being used for others. • You should be able to correct inaccurate information about you. • Your data should be secure. Nearly forty years later, the principles are still basically right, and we’re still waiting for them to be enforced. We can’t wait much longer: In a society with an increasing number of knowledge workers, our personal data and “personal brand” are worth more than they ever have been. Especially if you’re a blogger or a writer, if you make funny videos or music, or if you coach or consult for a living, your online data trail is one of your most valuable assets. But while it’s illegal to use Brad Pitt’s image to sell a watch without his permission, Facebook is free to use your name to sell one to your friends.


pages: 477 words: 75,408

The Economic Singularity: Artificial Intelligence and the Death of Capitalism by Calum Chace

3D printing, additive manufacturing, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Airbnb, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, call centre, Chris Urmson, congestion charging, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Douglas Engelbart, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Flynn Effect, full employment, future of work, gender pay gap, gig economy, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, ImageNet competition, income inequality, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of the telephone, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, lifelogging, lump of labour, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, McJob, means of production, Milgram experiment, Narrative Science, natural language processing, new economy, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, PageRank, pattern recognition, post scarcity, post-industrial society, post-work, precariat, prediction markets, QWERTY keyboard, railway mania, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Rodney Brooks, Sam Altman, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, software is eating the world, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, The Future of Employment, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber for X, uber lyft, universal basic income, Vernor Vinge, working-age population, Y Combinator, young professional

Search We are strangely nostalgic about the future, and we are often disappointed that the present is not more like the future that was foretold when we were younger. 2015 was the 30th anniversary of the 1985 movie “Back to the Future”, and it was also the year to which the hero travels at the end of the story. Journalists and commentators complained about the failure of hoverboards and flying cars to arrive, as predicted in the film. We didn't get hoverboards, but we did get something even more significant. As recently as the late 20th century, knowledge workers could spend hours each day looking for information. Today, less than twenty years after Google was incorporated in 1998, we have something close to omniscience. At the press of a button or two, you can access pretty much any knowledge that humans have ever recorded. To our great-grandparents, this would surely have been more astonishing than flying cars. (Some people are so impressed by Google Search that they have established a Church of Google, and offer nine proofs that Google is God, including its omnipresence, near-onmiscience, potential immortality, and responses to prayer.


pages: 296 words: 78,227

The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Achieving More With Less by Richard Koch

Albert Einstein, always be closing, barriers to entry, business cycle, business process, delayed gratification, fear of failure, income inequality, inventory management, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, knowledge worker, profit maximization, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Vilfredo Pareto, wage slave

Even the 80/20 term itself caught on very slowly and without any visible landmarks. Given the piecemeal use and gradual spread of the 80/20 Principle, it remains underexploited, even by those who recognize the idea. It is extremely versatile. It can be profitably applied to any industry and any organization, any function within an organization and any individual job. The 80/20 Principle can help the chief executive, line managers, functional specialists, and any knowledge worker, down to the lowest level or the newest trainee. And although its uses are manifold, there is an underlying, unifying logic that explains why the 80/20 Principle works and is so valuable. WHY THE 80/20 PRINCIPLE WORKS IN BUSINESS The 80/20 Principle applied to business has one key theme—to generate the most money with the least expenditure of assets and effort. The classical economists of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries developed a theory of economic equilibrium and of the firm that has dominated thinking ever since.


pages: 326 words: 74,433

Do More Faster: TechStars Lessons to Accelerate Your Startup by Brad Feld, David Cohen

augmented reality, computer vision, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, disintermediation, hiring and firing, Inbox Zero, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, risk tolerance, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, social web, software as a service, Steve Jobs

When you are hiring such a big percentage of your workforce, you have to have a super-high success rate. At Return Path, we have sometimes left critical jobs open for months as we cycle through candidates looking for “the one.” As painful as it has been for us to limp along with the position open, taking our time and hiring the absolutely right person has always been the right decision. It is said that with knowledge workers, the best employee is 10 times more productive and impactful than the average employee. Why settle for anything less than the absolute best? Temptation 2: Firing too slowly. Everyone's heard the analogy about a bad employee being like a cancer in an organization—his poor performance or attitude spread and he needs to be cut out to preserve the rest of the organization. To build on this metaphor, I've always said that hiring a new person, especially an early one, is like doing an organ transplant.


pages: 237 words: 74,109