In Race Against The Machines, economists Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAffee explain that as machines becomes intelligent, companies are more likely to hire new machines rather than new people. Consequently, to succeed as a worker in economy of the future, Brynjolfsson and McAffee suggest that one would be best served by falling into three groups
- Highly-Skilled Workers
- The Owners
Those who build machines and the software that runs them or those who are able to augment their own capabilities with the assistance of intelligent machines. Cal Newport describes how famed statistician augments his analysis through machine assistance: “Nate Silver, of course, with his comfort in feeding data into large databases, then siphoning it out into his mysterious Monte Carlo simulations, is the epitome of the high-skilled worker. Intelligent machines are not an obstacle to Silver’s success, but instead provide its precondition” (24, Deep Work)
This group benefits from the power of technology to more widely distribute their products or communicate across long distances. This group possesses a skill or product of high value and is high demand. In the past, these superstars ability to sell their talents was limited to their immediate geography, which meant that their competitors could still sell their talents to the areas where the superstars were not; markets were more localized. Now, the Internet has made it possible for the best within a given area to displace the local monopolies. As a result, superstars can now sell their value at unprecedented scale at the expense of the non-superstars.
Those with capital to invest in technology will be capable of rapidly growing their capital. Cal Newport explains the implications of McAfee / Brynjolfsson’s ‘Great Restructuring’ theory:
“The Great Restructuring, unlike the postwar period, is a particularly good time to have access to capital. To understand why, first recall that bargaining theory, a key component in standard economic thinking, argues that when money is made through the combination of capital investment and labor, the rewards are returned, roughly speaking, proportional to the input. As digital technology reduces the need for labor in many industries, the proportion of the rewards returned to those who own the intelligent machines is growing. A venture capitalist in today’s economy can fund a company like Instagram, which was eventually sold for a billion dollars, while employing only thirteen people” (27, Deep Work)
Working with great intensity for short periods of time. It’s goal is maximize aggregate productivity per a unit of time.
This strategy acknowledges that a given day is either largely commandeered by shallow work or that there’s only a finite amount of time during the day in which a person can be maximally productive (physiologically-limited productivity) . The solution this strategy seeks is to apply the interval training philosophy of athletic trainers to the scheduling of work throughout a given day. One must work hard in intervals, either between periods of shallow work or deliberately selected rest periods.
Teddy Roosevelt Example
“He would then remove the time spent in recitation and classes, athletic training (which was once a day), and lunch. The fragments that remained were then considered time exclusively for studying. As notes, these fragments didn’t usually add up to a large number of total hours, but he would get the most out of them by working only on schoolwork during these periods, and doing so with blistering intensity. ‘The amount of time he spent at his desk was comparatively small,’ explained [biographer Edmund Morris], ‘but his concentration was so intense, and his reading so rapid, that he could afford more time off [from schoolwork] than most.’ “(167, Deep Work)
Deep Work by Cal Newport
An entity theorist sees a person’s skill or qualities as ingrained and unalterable. An incremental theorist believes that skills and qualities may be gained. While an entity theorist sees intelligence as fixed, an incremental theorist sees it as fluid.
The important takeaway is an entity theorist believes that success is due to a combination of luck and the capabilities one was born with whereas an incremental theorist believes that success is a combination of the skills that one has acquired through practice, natural capability, and luck.
Intelligence in Children Example
Art of Learning: “Children who associate success with hard work tend to have a ‘mastery-oriented response’ to challenging situations, while children who see themselves as plain ‘smart’ or ‘dumb’ have a learned helplessness orientation.”
Art of Learning: “Very smart kids with entity theories tend to be far more brittle when challenged than kids with learning theories who would be considered not quite as sharp. In fact, some of the brightest kids prove to be the most vulnerable to becoming helpless, because they feel the need to live up to and maintain a perfectionist image that is easily and inevitably shattered.”
The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin
‘The power of believe you can improve’ by Carol Dweck
Three parts to how movements are started:
- Strong ties and the habits of friendship
- Weak ties and the habits of a community
- Movement participants given new habits,a revamped sense of ownership, and a fresh identity