ECONOMICS

A World Without Work: Technology, Automation, and How We Should Respond

Metropolitan: Holt. Jan. 2020. 320p. ISBN 9781250173515. $28. ECON
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Susskind (economics, Balliol Coll., Oxford Univ.; coauthor, The Future of the Professions) presents strong evidence that the progress of artificial intelligence (AI) will eventually result in markedly less work, and jobs, for people, and makes a compelling case that there are few jobs that cannot eventually be performed using AI. He predicts as a result an increase in both societal wealth and unemployment. In addition, Susskind argues for “conditional basic income” (CBI) as opposed to universal basic income, which allows people to receive an income without requiring anything in return. His theory of CBI assures that those receiving the basic income make contributions to society; for example, caregiving or educating. Susskind maintains these positions are important in order to ensure that all are contributing to society, even if they do not have a paid position, and to give those without jobs a sense of meaning or purpose to their lives.
VERDICT This work is sure to be controversial, but it will find an audience with those interested in public policy relating to unemployment and inequality.

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