In this book talk the Author, Carl Benedikt Frey, will discuss how the Industrial Revolution was a defining moment in history, but how few grasped its enormous consequences at the time. Now that we are in the midst of another technological revolution, how can the lessons of the past can help us to more effectively face the present?
This talk will be followed by a book sale, signing and drinks reception. All welcome.
Dr Carl Benedikt Frey
Oxford Martin Citi Fellow
Carl Benedikt Frey is Oxford Martin Citi Fellow at Oxford University where he directs the programme on Technology & Employment at the Oxford Martin School. He is author of The Technology Trap: Capital, Labor and Power in the Age of Automation.
After studying economics, history and management at Lund University, Frey completed his PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition in 2011. He subsequently joined the Oxford Martin School where he founded the programme on Technology & Employment with support from Citigroup. Between 2012 and 2014, he was teaching at the Department of Economic History at Lund University.
In 2013, Frey co-authored “The Future of Employment: How Susceptible Are Jobs to Computerization”, estimating that 47% of jobs are at risk of automation, which has been called one of the most influential studies of our time.
Frey has served as an advisor and consultant to international organisations, think tanks, government and business, including the G20, the OECD, the European Commission, the United Nations, and several Fortune 500 companies. He is also an op-ed contributor to the Financial Times, Scientific American, and the Wall Street Journal, where he has written on the economics of artificial intelligence, the history of technology, and the future of work.
In 2016, he was named the 2nd most influential young opinion leader by the Swedish business magazine Veckans Affärer.
About the book
From the Industrial Revolution to the age of artificial intelligence,The Technology Trap takes a sweeping look at the history of technological progress and how it has radically shifted the distribution of economic and political power among society’s members. As Carl Benedikt Frey shows, the Industrial Revolution created unprecedented wealth and prosperity over the long run, but the immediate consequences of mechanization were devastating for large swaths of the population. Middle-income jobs withered, wages stagnated, the labor share of income fell, profits surged, and economic inequality skyrocketed. These trends, Frey documents, broadly mirror those in our current age of automation, which began with the Computer Revolution.
Just as the Industrial Revolution eventually brought about extraordinary benefits for society, artificial intelligence systems have the potential to do the same. But Frey argues that this depends on how the short term is managed. In the nineteenth century, workers violently expressed their concerns over machines taking their jobs. The Luddite uprisings joined a long wave of machinery riots that swept across Europe and China. Today’s despairing middle class has not resorted to physical force, but their frustration has led to rising populism and the increasing fragmentation of society. As middle-class jobs continue to come under pressure, there’s no assurance that positive attitudes to technology will persist.
The Industrial Revolution was a defining moment in history, but few grasped its enormous consequences at the time. The Technology Trap demonstrates that in the midst of another technological revolution, the lessons of the past can help us to more effectively face the present.