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A Closer Look at the Future of Work

Industry guide: resources and upcoming events.
September 28, 2015



Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future
by Martin Ford
Basic Books, May 2015

A Silicon Valley entrepreneur discusses how advances in robotics could wipe out jobs and deepen inequality.

The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies
by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee
W.W. Norton, January 2014

In this New York Times best-seller, two leading thinkers at MIT discuss how industries will have to adapt to a world where computers can do many jobs better than humans can.

Machines of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robots
by John Markoff
Ecco, August 2015

Pulitzer Prize–winning science writer John Markoff details the history of interactions between humans and robots.

“Who Will Own the Robots?”
by David Rotman
MIT Technology Review, July/August 2015

In this cover story, MIT Technology Review editor David Rotman explores how increased automation is affecting jobs and how the economic benefits of technology can be more fairly shared.

The Glass Cage: Automation and Us
by Nicholas Carr
W.W. Norton, September 2014

A best-selling author looks at how automation is affecting several facets of our lives, including cars, wearables, and factory robots.

Virtually Human: The Promise—and the Peril— of Digital Immortality
by Martine Rothblatt
St. Martin’s Press, September 2014

Entrepreneur Martine Rothblatt looks at what could happen if software becomes part of our brains.

Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies
by Nick Bostrom
Oxford University Press, September 2014

Can humans stay in control when machines become smarter than we are? Philosopher Nick Bostrom explores questions like these in this book, recommended by both Bill Gates and Elon Musk.

The Future of Employment: How Susceptible Are Jobs to Computerisation?
by Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osborne
University of Oxford, September 2013

This report looks at how vulnerable certain workers are to being replaced by robots.

“Will Your Job Be Done by a Machine?”
by Quoctrung Bui
Planet Money, May 2015

NPR has turned the above-mentioned Oxford study into an interactive graphic that readers can use to determine the likelihood of losing their job to a robot.

AI, Robotics, and the Future of Jobs
by Aaron Smith and Janna Anderson
Pew Research Center, August 2014

This report from a prominent think tank explores how the rise of robots could affect humans’ jobs.

World Robotics: Industrial Robots 2014, Executive Summary
International Federation of Robotics, 2014

An oft-cited report on industrial robot sales.

“Technology and Inequality”
by David Rotman
MIT Technology Review, November/December 2014

The gap between the very rich and poor is especially wide in Silicon Valley. David Rotman attempts to find out how much technology has to do with it.

Fastest Declining Occupations, 2012 and projected 2022
Employment Statistics Program, U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, December 2013

U.S. government data shows which jobs are expected to decline the most quickly over the next decade.

Learning by Doing: The Real Connection between Innovation, Wages, and Wealth
By James Bessen
Yale University Press, 2015

Much of the value from innovations comes over time as they are implemented, the author argues, and while technology transforms work in profound ways, it can take a long time for workers and society to fully adapt.

“Technology and People: The Great Job Creating Machine”
By Ian Stewart, Debapratim De, and Alex Cole
Deloitte, December 2014

This study of employment data from England and Wales over the last 140 years concludes that when machines replace workers, the result is faster growth and rising overall employment. Though the authors don’t attempt to forecast the jobs of the future, they conclude that work will increasingly focus on factors that cannot be automated, including social interaction and empathy, creativity, and skill.

“A World without Work”
By Derek Thompson
The Atlantic, July/August 2015

For centuries, experts have predicted that machines would make workers obsolete. If that moment has finally arrived, could it be a good thing?


Next: Economy
November 12–13, 2015
San Francisco

Robotics Alley Conference Expo
December 1–2, 2015

11th ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HR1 2016)
March 7–10, 2016
Christchurch, New Zealand

ICRA 2016: IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation
May 16–21, 2016
Stockholm, Sweden

RoboBusiness Europe
June 1–3, 2016
Odense, Denmark

August 21–25, 2016
Fort Worth, Texas

IROS 2016
October 9–14, 2016
Daejeon, Korea

April 3–6, 2017

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