The Lights In The Tunnel: free ebook about automation economics

Paul Raven @ 03-06-2010

Martin Ford, much like many of us, has some concerns about the future. Unlike most of us, he’s written a book about it: The Lights In The Tunnel looks at the economic implications of the technological acceleration curve that Singularitarian cheerleaders are so fond of, and suggests it may be at the root of the current economic crisis as well as the ones yet to come. From the website blurb:

The book directly challenges nearly all conventional views of the future and illuminates the danger that lies ahead if we do not plan for the impact of rapidly advancing technology.  It also offers unique insights into how technology will intertwine with globalization to shape the twenty-first century and explores ways in which the economic realities of the future might be leveraged to drive prosperity and to address global challenges such as poverty and climate change.

I’ve had a review copy sitting in my to-be-read pile for ages, and hope to get to it eventually (though I’m not expecting a cheery life-affirming feeling as a result – this isn’t the sort of book you write in order to tell everyone how great the future is going to be). If you’re interested in what Ford has to say, however, there’s no need to lash out for the hardcopy – you can now download a PDF version for free at the book’s website, and the license has been tweaked so you’re perfectly at liberty to copy and share it with friends.

If you take a look, why not drop back here and let us know what you think. Is Ford just another doomsayer pundit, or is he onto something? Is he stating the obvious, or unearthing buried truths?