Fiore charts the rise of world-changing technologies in this nonfiction debut.
Whether we like it or not, technology is changing every aspect of human life. It isn’t just the way we work and eat, but increasingly the ways we conceive, age, and even think. “Where earlier innovations impacted workforce policies, social interaction, and lifestyle options,” writes Fiore in his introduction, “many future changes will involve internal tweaking in the form of edited genetic code, installation of organ implants, and monitoring systems to guide our diets, fitness regimens, and mental activities.” For Fiore, this is a cause for optimism. These innovations have the power to improve human life in myriad ways if they are employed responsibly and with the proper foresight. In short, innovators across society must remember, in Fiore’s parlance, to “put people first.” The book addresses some of these emerging technologies, including vertical farms, brain-computer interface systems that can restore sight to the blind, 3-D printed buildings, and sensors that monitor our health as part of a system of 24/7 telemedicine. Fiore analyzes the forces propelling these innovations, including the rise of automated systems, empowered consumers, and an evolving culture of corporate responsibility while also discussing the organizations charged with considering the possible societal outcomes for these shifts. Fiore’s people-first perspective covers everything from which skills will become obsolete or more valuable in the near future to the necessity of sharing new technologies evenly across the globe. As the author notes, there is no single person or committee responsible for policing technological innovation. He argues that it’s incumbent on all of us to educate ourselves about what is coming so that we can, as a society, innovate mindfully, beneficially, and equally.
Fiore is essentially a professional technology explainer, keeping abreast of new developments in order to advise people and companies on the future of work. His prose is clean and cheery, though he writes in a kind of motivational corporate-speak that may be alien, or simply annoying, to some readers: “Even as smart machines get better at task performance, we will need intelligent, thoughtful, well trained, and highly motivated people to draw on their domain knowledge, to innovate, to make sound ethical decisions, and to ask the right questions at this pivotal time for business, society, and humanity.” While the book describes some new technologies in detail, it’s mostly about the phenomenon of technological disruption. While technologies themselves are always going out of date, our relationship to innovation remains relatively fixed, even if innovation speeds up over time. Fiore succeeds in communicating this idea, offering a kind of “what to expect” for those stressed about the future. Specific changes are difficult to predict with certainty, but the author’s identification of certain trends, particularly regarding the nature of work and health care, are persuasive, and he contextualizes them in a way that makes them exciting rather than scary. For those looking for a glimpse at the future, this book isn’t a bad place to start.An encouraging, unflinching look at the tech changes to come.