Category Archives: Book Reviews

Robots v experts: are any human professions safe from automation?

Editor’s note: Given the intense discussion on the employment issues generated by the Robotics technology, I found this book presentation published by British www.theguardian.com very relevant and I am refering to it here.

By

Richard Susskind OBE is an author, speaker, and independent adviser to international professional firms and national governments. He is president of the Society for Computers and law IT adviser to the lord chief justice. Tomorrow’s Lawyers is his eighth book,

and

Daniel Susskind is an economist, lecturer at Balliol College, Oxford, and co-author with Richard Susskind of The Future of the Professions

The main themes of our book, The Future of the Professions, can be put simply: machines are becoming increasingly capable and so are taking on more and more tasks.

Many of these tasks were once the exclusive preserve of human professionals such as doctors, lawyers and accountants. While new tasks will certainly emerge in years to come, it is probable that machines will, over time, take on many of these as well. In the 2020s, we say, this will not mean unemployment, but rather a need for widespread retraining and redeployment. In the long run though, we find it hard to avoid the conclusion that there will be a steady decline in the need for traditional professional workers.

During the year after the book’s hardback publication in October 2015, we tested this line of argument on audiences of professionals in more than 20 countries, speaking to around 15,000 people at over 100 events. The response, frankly, was mixed. Our work seems to polarise people into those who agree zealously with our thesis, and those who reject it unreservedly. Both sides argue their views passionately.

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THE LEAN CEO: Leading the Way to World-Class Excellence, by Jacob Stoller, McGraw Hill, 2016

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A book review by Dr. John Psarouthakis, Executive Editor of www.BusinessThinker.com

I wish I had read this excellent book,  “The LEAN CEO” by Jacob Stoller, when I was looking for and acquired over 20 medium size manufacturing companies, it would have made our efforts easier.

Way back in the 1970’s and 1980’s I was involved in acquiring manufacturing companies. I observed that many, well over 50% of the, companies we looked at were poorly performing. On further look we concluded that it was due to bad management. Never mind about the concept of Lean management, it did not exist, the mentality and approach was totally to the contrary. It reminded me of what we say about an augmented government and related costs.

In 1978 I decided to step out and start a corporation that would acquire underperforming manufacturing companies and make them profitable by streamlining (Lean) management and systems, bring on board relevant technology, train our employees in the plants and /or the near by community colleges, and so on.

Continue reading THE LEAN CEO: Leading the Way to World-Class Excellence, by Jacob Stoller, McGraw Hill, 2016

The Network Always Wins, By Peter Hinssen, McGraw Hill 2015

JP-pic 2A book review by Dr. John Psarouthakis, Executive Editor, www.BusinessThinker.com

This book eloquently and effectively “talks’ about the complexity of our world today and particularly about the complex systems in Business. It is a fascinating read and amazingly effective in communicating the complexity and what to do about it. In one page Peter presents the thermodynamic property of Entropy and Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle and being understood. That is an achievement in itself since Entropy is inter-wound with the second law of thermodynamics and the other with quantum mechanics! Not a simple achievement.

Though I believe complexity has existed for as long as humans began to deal in groups those early people and for many thousand of years they dealt with complexity with simple linearity approach

Because the complexity and the changes that came with it then occurred at a very slow pace and the linear approach was practical and effective. Today the change comes at a high acceleration rate that we do not have the time to deal with the gross deviations that linearity will require to deal with the issues at hand. Adding to this is the great interdependence of our activities on a global scale and instantly felt effects of actions occurring on the other side of the glob from us, etc.

This book, not only made me more acutely aware of the complex world we live in, but also provided me with approaches to the complexity so that I can deal with it and not fall in to “panic”!

I strongly recommend this book that deals with difficult concepts in a way that we build our confidence in dealing with the complexities of today’s business world.