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Capsule Review

The Globotics Upheaval: Globalization, Robotics, and the Future of Work

In This Review

The Globotics Upheaval: Globalization, Robotics, and the Future of Work
The Globotics Upheaval: Globalization, Robotics, and the Future of Work
By Richard Baldwin
Oxford University Press, 2019 304 pp. Purchase

This speculative book attempts to describe the future of work and explain how to prepare for it. Baldwin lays out various different attributes of working life, according to the different talents and industries involved. He then characterizes what kinds of things intelligent robots and remote workers, helped by better software and communications technology, can and can’t do today and what they’ll be able to do within the next few decades. Finally, he matches the two up to see which tasks and jobs will fall to automation. Baldwin argues that in the last century, most people moved from relying on their hands in their work to relying on their heads. In the future, they will have to rely on their hearts, because machines won’t be able to replicate such human abilities as nonverbal communication, compassion, creativity, and face-to-face contact. Many jobs that rely on these attributes will be safe from robots for decades. Artificial intelligence excels at classifying what it sees, searching huge databases, and recognizing patterns, but it cannot copy other, more human qualities.

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