For years, I have been meaning to write a book, but could never bring myself to finish it. Whenever I became interested in a topic, it just opened up an entirely new and unexplored territory, which then lead to another universe of things to discover and understand. The more I searched, the more there was to be found. Every time I believed I had a decent understanding of a topic, something new would arise to challenge my previous assumptions. And so I was back to my studies again.
Maybe it is because I have a questioning nature and too many interests. Sticking to a particular topic for long can be an arduous task for me. In October, 2011, I was traveling throughout Europe, thinking about my future, and preparing a speech for my next conference when I finally decided it was time for change. During a rainy day when I was in Sweden I realised that my goal of a 1,000-page manifesto on how to fix society was unrealistic (and perhaps a bit megalomaniac). There were too many subjects, all were complex, and I just did not have enough time to tackle them all in one book. I decided that I would pick the most pressing issue and focus on that. Environmental sustainability and climate change came to mind, but there are already many excellent books on these subjects (from people much more qualified than myself). The future of technology and Artificial Intelligence was another, but the same conclusion applied. Then I realised that one of the most pressing issues we are going to face, both as individuals and as societies, is being deeply overlooked. Technology is displacing human labour.
Up until now, very few authors have addressed this issue. I was determined to fill this cultural gap. My audience would not occupy the ivory towers of academia – they would mingle in the vibrant crowds of the street. After all, the people most affected by this will be common workers and explanations of complex subjects in simple, concise, and understandable terms are rare. I promised myself I would create an accessible resource that would be of value to change-makers as well, be they politicians, technophilantropists, or CEOs.
One of the most difficult things for me was to decide what to include and what to leave out. I sincerely hope that I’ve found the right balance. This is a complex topic and my first book cannot be perfect. Your feedback, both positive and (especially) negative, will help me to improve it in future editions.
I hope this book will make you think about your future, guide you in understanding the world around you a little better, and help you navigate the endless sea of ever-changing wonders. And while you are at it, it might make you smile a bit and become slightly happier.
If I succeed in doing that, then the time and effort I put in writing this book was well spent.
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