Why doesn't the explosive growth of companies like Facebook and Uber deliver more prosperity for everyone? What is the systemic problem that sets the rich against the poor and the technologists against everybody else? When protesters shattered the windows of a bus carrying Google employees to work, their anger may have been justifiable, but it was misdirected. The true conflict of our age isn't between the unemployed and the digital elite, or even the 99 percent and the 1 percent. Rather, a tornado of technological improvements has spun our economic program out of control, and humanity as a whole-the protesters and the Google employees as well as the shareholders and the executives-are all trapped by the consequences. It's time to optimize our economy for the human beings it's supposed to be serving. In this groundbreaking book, acclaimed media scholar and author Douglas Rushkoff tells us how to combine the best of human nature with the best of modern technology. Tying together disparate threads-big data, the rise of robots and AI, the increasing participation of algorithms in stock market trading, the gig economy, the collapse of the eurozone-Rushkoff provides a critical vocabulary for our economic moment and a nuanced portrait of humans and commerce at a critical crossroads.
Douglas Rushkoff is the bestselling author of Present Shock, as well as a dozen other books on media, technology, and culture, including Program or Be Programmed and Life Inc. Named one of the world's ten most influential thinkers by MIT, he has made documentaries for PBS Frontline, including Generation Like and The Merchants of Cool, and he is a professor of media theory and digital economics at Queens College, CUNY. He lives in New York and lectures about media, society, and economics around the world.