Disrupting Unemployment – Book


By David Nordfors (Author), Vint Cerf (Author), Max Senges (Editor)

Updated version 2018

Disrupting Unemployment

Innovation disrupts things. Can it disrupt unemployment? Internet co-inventor Vint Cerf and David Nordfors, co-founders of i4j Innovation for Jobs, say IT and artificial intelligence should be seen as tools for tailoring meaningful new jobs for workers. In this groundbreaking book they present ideas, scenarios and policy recommendations in a vision of a new golden era for the middle-class society.

Cerf and Nordfors suggest a “people-centered economy”, focusing on the value of people, should replace the faltering “task-centered economy”, which focuses on the cost of tasks. Modern information technology, including AI, machine learning, cloud computing, big data analysis has been brought into people’s hands by smartphones, and can improve their lives by bringing them better education and jobs. Everyone needs a job, and where there is a need there is a market. The future big business is creating meaningful jobs that satisfy people’s needs, not killing them.

“Disrupting Unemployment” postulates that innovative companies can help everyone find a job that matches their skills, talents and passions, teamed with people who engage them, finding mutual opportunities for what they do best. How much more value would billions of well-matched, inspired people create vs. today, where there are only two hundred million workers who are engaged in their jobs?

Beyond the difference in self-actualization, well-being and sense of meaning, the concept of providing all earners with ‘tailored’ jobs has been science fiction. Smartphones, cloud computing, big data and other emerging technologies are making it possible. Summoning an innovation-for-jobs ecosystem around this vision, many companies are already linking recruiting, education, coaching, skills, matchmaking, HR and opportunity-creation in a long-tail labor market.

The thought piece by Cerf and Nordfors comes together with independent chapters presenting relevant perspectives, written by global thought leaders from the i4j Leadership Forum, edited by Max Senges:

– “The Bifurcation is Near”, by Philip Auerswald
– “The First Software Age: Programmable Enterprises Creating New Types of Jobs”, by Robert B. Cohen
– “Mobilizing Ecosystems to Drive Innovation for Jobs”, by John Hagel
– “Innovation Dynamics: Analytics Based on Big Data and Network Graph Science—Implications for Innovation for Jobs (i4j) Initiatives”, by Daniel L. Harple, Jr.
– “Accelerating Toward a Jobless Future: The Rise of the Machine and the Human Quest for Meaningful Work”, by Steve Jurvetson and Mohammad Islam
– “How to Disrupt Unemployment Policy”, by Sven Otto Littorin – “Developing Middle Class Jobs in a Digital Economy”, by Geoffrey Moore
– “The Supercritical Human Elevated [SHE] Economy”, by Monique Morrow
– “Innovation for Jobs with Cognitive Assistants: A Service Science Perspective”, by Jim Spohrer
– “Creative Learning and the Future of Work”, by J. Philipp Schmidt, Mitchel Resnick, and Joi Ito
– “Can the Health Industry Cure the Ailing Job Market?” by Joon Yun
– “Creative Learning”, by Esther Wojcicki