The AI Economy caught my attention when I was browsing for  books at Kinokuniya Singapore. I am an economist by training and am  always fascinated by the subject, so a book with such a title definitely  attracted my attention. The book is written by Roger Bootle,  a renowned British economist. It definitely has the prose of an  economist – if you read it, you will know it is written by an economist,  given the jargon, the economic theories and models the writer brings up  in the book. Although readers do not need to have an economics  background to enjoy the book, it definitely helps one understand the  discussions better.

The book is split into three parts. Part one talks about how  humankind has progressed through changes in technology and how these  changes have changed the face of our economy as well. The case studies  quoted are railways and the steam engine. He also presents a discussion  on whether there is any difference this time round. The short answer is yes, and the biggest impact will be on employment.

The second part of the book discusses how wealth will be distributed  in the age of artificial intelligence – what kinds of jobs will be in  demand, how humanity will change etc. There are several insights which  might be useful for both governments and individuals. Those looking for  business ideas can also look into this part for more ideas on what  industries will be in greater demand in the future. A word of warning  though. For the scenario painted to materialise, there are many caveats,  in my opinion, but I leave it to the readers to read and understand  more.

The third part is where I enjoyed the most, because it discusses a  lot of topics that are closest to my heart, namely, taxation, education  in the new era and a discussion on universal basic income (UBI).  I particularly love the discussion around education because I found  many points in agreement on how education or training should be  conducted. Personally, I feel that lifelong learning is a must in the  new era. EVERY individual who wants to participate in the economy (i.e.  earn a living) will have to be responsible for his/her own learning,  like selecting the right content to learn, methods of learning, who to  learn from etc. If one is reactive to learning, one will have a very  hard time keeping up with the changes in the economy, because it will  definitely become more dynamic. Businesses will also need to create a  learning environment so that they can tap onto the brain power of the  talents they hire. Even though this part of the book appears to be  written more for policy makers in the AI era, I believed anyone reading  this part will benefit tremendously and be able to plan for a better  future.


Overall, I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. There are many good  discussions on the new economy as artificial intelligence takes over  more and more tasks. The part on education will benefit many people. I  loved the book, given that it is a combination of two subjects that are  close to my heart – economics and artificial intelligence. It would have  been a perfect book, if not for the rather dry way it was written.  Regardless of the number of stars I give, I believe it is a good book  for anyone who wants to know how artificial intelligence will affect  their careers and their lives and be prepared for it.