Daniel Susskind on Start the Week

Daniel Susskind was on BBC Radio 4 Start the Week on 13th January 2020 to talk about his book A WORLD WITHOUT WORK, published in the UK (Allen Lane) and in the USA (Metropolitan Books).

Tom Sutcliffe discussed the threat of technological unemployment with Daniel Susskind, Suzi Gage, Anoosh Chakelian and Sir John Strang.

Daniel Susskind is a Fellow in Economics at Balliol College, Oxford and co-author of the best-selling book THE FUTURE OF THE PROFESSIONS (2015).

A WORLD WITHOUT WORK: Automation and How We Should Respond is published on 14th January 2020.

From mechanical looms to the combustion engine to the first computers, new technologies have always provoked panic about workers being replaced by machines. For centuries, such fears have been misplaced, and many economists maintain that they remain so today. But as Daniel Susskind demonstrates, this time really is different. Breakthroughs in artificial intelligence mean that all kinds of jobs are increasingly at risk.

Drawing on almost a decade of research in the field, Susskind argues that machines no longer need to think like us in order to outperform us, as was once widely believed. As a result, more and more tasks that used to be far beyond the capability of computers – from diagnosing illnesses to drafting legal contracts, from writing news reports to composing music – are coming within their reach. The threat of technological unemployment is now real.

This is not necessarily a bad thing, Susskind emphasizes. Technological progress could bring about unprecedented prosperity, solving one of humanity’s oldest problems: how to make sure that everyone has enough to live on. The challenges will be to distribute this prosperity fairly, to constrain the burgeoning power of Big Tech, and to provide meaning in a world where work is no longer the center of our lives. Perceptive, pragmatic, and ultimately hopeful, A WORLD WITHOUT WORK shows the way.

The full episode of Start the Week is available here.