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Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future Paperback – 12 October 2018
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From the authors of the best-selling The Second Machine Age, a leader’s guide to success in a rapidly changing economy.
We live in strange times. A machine plays the strategy game Go better than any human; upstarts like Apple and Google destroy industry stalwarts such as Nokia; ideas from the crowd are repeatedly more innovative than corporate research labs.
In The Second Machine Age, Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson predicted some of the far-reaching effects of digital technologies on our lives and businesses. Now they’ve written a guide to help readers make the most of our collective future. Machine, Platform, Crowd outlines the opportunities and challenges inherent in the science fiction-worthy technologies that have come to life in recent years, like self-driving cars and 3D printers, online platforms for renting outfits and scheduling workouts, or crowd-sourced medical research and financial instruments.
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McAfee and Brynjolfsson are thoughtful observers of the emerging technological revolution which they described in their earlier The Second Machine Age.... They write clearly and are at their most devastating in analyzing how the various elements of the new age combine, wiping out large sectors of media, retail and music industries as they have gone.--Roger Smith "New Law Journal"
The authors explain the whys and hows soberly, answering just about every question on AI you could ask: which channels it will colonise next, whether we'll still need physical products in a virtual world and how Bitcoin will change commerce, among others. Throughout, they are eloquent and informed. They don't think humans will be obsolete, but they also don't pretend the solutions are simple.-- "People Management"
The digital revolution we're entering can be unsettling, but McAfee and Brynjolfsson show how these incredibly powerful technologies will make our choices more important than ever. Machine Platform Crowd is a road map for leaders to make wise choices as they navigate this new world.--Arianna Huffington, former president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, author of Thrive and The Sleep Revolution
The story is warmly and richly told.... This book is in many senses a primer, a thorough grounding for the digital warrior in the driving forces of the 21st-century economy.-- "Times Higher Education"
Written... with real human intelligence, concern, feeling, and values. [Machine Platform Crowd] is a big, intense, always interesting, and almost intimidating book--and well worth the effort.--Dylan Schleicher, 800-CEO-READ
On their own, AI, platforms, and crowds are all transformative forces. That they're evolving in parallel means we're beginning to experience a new era of networked disruption, where productive but disorienting change becomes the status quo. For citizens, entrepreneurs, companies, and governments who want to successfully navigate this new world, the first step lies in finding reliable and prescient guides. Andrew and Erik are two of the best.--Reid Hoffman, partner at Greylock Partners and cofounder of LinkedIn
The authors aptly illustrate how the extraordinary progress of technology is reshaping our lives, and they share powerful ideas relevant to world leaders.... The book is a must-read for policymakers who seek a road map for how to combine the strengths of humanity and technology to build a better future for their citizens.--Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund
[McAfee and Brynjolfsson] have done us all a great service in explaining some of the powerful trends that will shape our future.--Mark Cliffe, chief economist of the ING Group
Even Silicon Valley is surprised by the speed and scope of change today. The best way to stay on top of it is to understand the principles that will endure even as so much gets disrupted. This book is the best explanation of those principles out there.--Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google and former executive chairman of Alphabet Inc.
About the Author
Erik Brynjolfsson is the director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy and Schussel Family Professor of Management Science at the MIT Sloan School. He is the author of several best-selling books with co-author Andrew McAfee, and one of the world's most cited scholars in information systems and economics.
- Publisher : *Norton agency titles; 1st edition (12 October 2018)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 416 pages
- ISBN-10 : 039335606X
- ISBN-13 : 978-0393356069
- Dimensions : 13.97 x 2.79 x 21.08 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 34,321 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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I had high hopes for their latest book. It is no “The Second Machine Age”. In some ways, it is a repetition of the theme. It is a version of “The Third Wave” or “Platform Revolution”.
The core message
AI is going faster than expected, machines are getting smarter and smarter, we are all connected, platforms are taking over, open innovation and co-creation are the names of the game, there is wisdom in the crowds and it will happen in your industry too. Using the usual examples (which is in itself is an indication that the platforms are taking over and winners take all) such as Airbnb, Facebook, Google, Uber, Alibaba, Amazon and Kickstarter.
Covering a lot of topics
Network effects, Polanyi’s Paradox (tacit learning), stage 1 and stage 2 thinking, neuroscience, HiPPO, experts, forecasting (they researched 82,000 expert forecasts, and found that they barely bests a chimp throwing darts), Moore’s law, iteration versus long range planning, reinforced learning, gaming (they teach AI to play games and use gaming as a way for AI to solve problems), big data, level 5 autonomy, deep Q network, “Cambrian Explosion” in robotics, 3D printing, dreaming androids, caveman principle (try to imagine an all-digital, artificially intelligent girls’ soccer coach), bundling and unbundling, friction, O2O (online to offline), reputation systems, noncredentialism, blockchain, DAO (a “Decentralized Autonomous Organisation”, read "Reinventing Organisations”), biomimicry, etc.
Biomimicry is particularly interesting (and a growing topic in business). As the book points out, bones, exoskeletons, and other structures in nature are the winning entries in evolution’s ancient, relentless competition, the outcomes of which are literally life and death. Evolution has resulted in marvellous designs.
So perhaps we should not be too surprised that when generative-design software is given the task of designing an optimal structure to satisfy a set of performance requirements, it comes up with something that looks as if it came from nature.
What can we learn from platforms in particular?
First, they have only been possible in the last ten years or less. Enabled by a mix of GPS, mobile and cloud.
Successful platforms put much emphasis on customer experience, customer support, removing friction, troubleshooting and problem resolution. They are all critical activities, not least because bad word of mouth spreads quickly. If that is of interest, read “X: The Experience When Business Meets Design” by Brian Solis. Experience as a strategy. Joe Pine would like that.
They are early to the space.
They take advantage of the economics of complementary goods whenever possible, realising that low prices for one complement lead to increased demand for others.
They open up their platforms to a broad range of contributors and contributions.
While they maintain a broad rule of openness, they also curate their platforms
Platforms work in undifferentiated experience
Why have platforms deeply disrupted the business of travelling around cities, but not the business of staying in them? The reason is that getting a ride across town is a largely undifferentiated experience (going from A to B) staying overnight is definitely not. Read “Difference”.
Platforms are coming your way
Just because that large platforms are winning does NOT mean that large companies are safe. On the contrary. The message of the book is that these effects (machine, platform, crowds) will start happening in every sector, industry or market. There is an influx of young companies that bear little resemblance to the established incumbents in their industries, yet are deeply disrupting them. These upstarts are platforms, and they are fearsome competitors. Using the rookie advantage.
Your business is so proficient, knowledgeable, and caught up in the status quo that you are unable to see what’s coming. It is called status quo bias.
Which is why they are coming for you. They will fundamentally transform the world we live in. Science fiction is now next door. And yes, the best way to predict the future is to invent it.
You can do it
The good news is that human abilities, excellent goods and services, and strong organisational capabilities remain essential to business success. You just need to combine that with machines, platforms and crowds.
The questions to ask
The book explains AI, machines, platforms and crowds in detail and is in that way nearly (too) academic. The best part of the book is the questions it asks at the end of every chapter. Here are questions you should consider:
Are you tracking the performance over time of your decisions, judgements and forecasts by people and algorithms?
Is your organisation suffering fro the HiPPO syndrome?
What are your most important pattern-matching, diagnosis, classification, prediction, and recommendation activities?
Which key decisions or operations, if any, would you consider turning over entirely to artificial intelligence systems?
What would happen if your competitors start applying machine learning?
What aspects of your organisation’s work are most dull, dirty, dangerous, or dear? Have you looked recently at robots or other automation that can help with this task?
In your innovation and prototyping work, how are you taking advantage of the new technologies for making things?
How much boring, routine work do the most creative and innovative people in your organisation have to do?
Where would better human connections most help your performance and that of your organisation?
Of the tasks currently being done by humans in your organisation, which will be the hardest for computers to take over? Why do you believe this?
Looking at the existing tasks and processes in your job or organisation, what do you see as the ideal division of work between humans and machines?
Where are the next places in your business where you can apply free, perfect and instant?
What are the most important digital platforms in your industry today? What do you think they will be in three years?
Put yourself in the shoes of some of your archetypal customers. Compared to the status quo, what to them might be a more attractive bundling, unbundling, or re-bundling of your offerings together with others?
What are the possible complements for your offerings? How can you best use them to increase total demand?
Does it make more sense for you to try to build your own platform, or to participate in someone else’s?
What are your guiding principles for delivering a compelling user experience? Again, highly recommend you read “X: The Experience When Business Meets Design” by Brian Solis.
What’s your strategy for cooperating or competing with a platform that brings network effects and revenue management capabilities to your industry?
Compare the user interface and user experience of your online offerings to those of the dominant platform in your industry. How do they stack up?
Are you confident that you can continue to differentiate your offerings as platforms spread? If so, why? What are your sustainable sources of differentiation?
How and how often do you look outside your group of identified internal and external experts for help with your challenges and opportunities?
In the past five to ten years, have you expanded the number of people that you or your organisation regularly interact with?
How and how much are you using the crowd?
How might an open, transparent, global, flexible, immutable ledger be valuable to you?
Helping you to reinvent your business
Through the lens of machines, platforms and crowds, it covers business models, organisational design, technology, innovation, product, customer experience and marketing.
Maybe it is as good as “The Second Machine Age.”
This is a wise book, that explores past and future trends in the economy, to help your enterprise team to avoid errors and remain ahead of the curve, from the best academics and boffins. still very relevant, but will this be great in 10 years?