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The Technology Trap


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

About the Author

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


"If you're an optimist about the robotic future, you likely hear talk that we're all going to lose our jobs or suffer a big pay cut, and tell friends to relax - the new technology revolution is going to turn out like all the others since the dawn of the Industrial Age. But if history is your best hope, you should probably think again: [The Technology Trap has] a strong case."---Steve Levine, Axios
"Frey's analysis is worth taking seriously because the Oxford economic historian and economist has researched his subject deeply and has co-authored one of the most widely cited studies on automation . . . . Frey's story is well argued and - at times - deeply alarming about the stability of western democracies given he predicts the further concentration of wealth in a few hands and in even fewer locations"---John Thornhill, Financial Times
"It's clear The Technology Trap has plenty to teach us, and should automatically be on the reading list of any serious policy maker or politician."---Ben Ramanauskas, Cap X
The Technology Trap
may well ensnare doom-seekers' attention with its ominous-sounding title. But it should ultimately hearten anyone who reads it." * The Economist *
"Narrator Richard Lyddon performs an almost impossible feat-making a very theoretical audiobook sound absorbable in a truly entertaining way . . . . Cheers to both Frey and Lyddon, a pairing that listeners may wish to hear again." * AudioFile Magazine *
"As [Frey] points out in his new book The Technology Trap, for all that the robots may make the world more local, they may have other painful side-effects, putting millions of people out of work and sparking an almighty backlash."---Ed Conway, The Times
"Frey offers a refreshingly human-centered analysis of technological progress."---Oscar Schwartz, Stanford Social Innovation Review
"Frey explores automation and its consequences, taking the reader on a long sweep of UK and US industrial history that demonstrates the distinction between labour-enabling and labour-replacing technologies. . . As arguably the most comprehensive account of automation to date, this book deserves to be read widely"---Liam Kennedy, London School of Economics
The Technology Trap
is the perfect book for higher ed people to read . . . . deeply researched and [convincingly] argued."---Joshua Kim, Inside Higher Education
"I have been lost in [
The Technology Trap
] for the last 10 days."---John Harris, The Guardian
"Economist Carl Benedikt Frey offers a refreshingly human-centered analysis of technological progress."---Oscar Schwartz, Stanford Social Innovation Review
"One of Frey's most salient points is that our attitudes and actions toward technology can play a pivotal role in how it impacts us. A lot of stock has been put into Frey and Osborne's prediction of 47 percent automation. But if Frey's book gets even half the attention the paper got, it should serve to quell some of our fears around a bleak machine-dominated future."---Vanessa Bates Ramirez, Singularity Hub
The Technology Trap
] offers a fascinating history of technology's effects on employment from the Industrial Revolution to today and attempts to tackle how we might avoid a repeat of past social ills, as the Computer Revolution sweeps away a majority of human jobs."---Robert Elliott Smith, Medium
"Anybody interested in the economic impact of digital and AI, in particular on jobs, will want to read [
The Technology Trap
]."---Diane Coyle, Enlightened Economist
"One of the Financial Times' Summer Books of 2019: Business"
"An extremely useful history of the effect of technology on jobs and income inequality."---John Judis, The National Interest
"As Frey points out in his latest book The Technology Trap, these are not disruptions that are unique to our current time. Whereas previous periods of disruption have failed to provide people with the support to help them adapt to technological disruption, we are beholden to try and break that cycle and do far more to help people adapt to the changes facing them."---Adi Gaskell, Forbes
"[Frey] takes a provocative, original long view on current concerns, examining the fallout from past technological advances . . . to mass production and artificial intelligence."---Andrew Hill, Financial Times, Summer Books of 2019
"In his bracing new book The Technology Trap, Carl Frey extrapolates from the history of the industrial revolution to offer a vision of the future in which Amazon Go, AI assistants and autonomous vehicles are 'worker replacement' technologies."---Greg Williams, Wired
"Anybody interested in the economic impact of digital and AI, in particular on jobs, will want to read Carl Frey's new book."---Diane Coyle, Enlightened Economist
"A fascinating history of technical change."---Chris Dillow, Stumbling and Mumbling
"Carl Benedikt Frey has written an important and timely book . . . . A great deal of effort, thought, and scholarship went into its writing, and it shows. There is much food for thought here and I can envision this assigned in upper division economics classes as well as some graduate courses."---Alexander Field,

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