Historical signals are very instructive, a premise that makes me a big believer in learning from the lessons of history. There are several historical signals that help us understand the drivers of prior transformative periods. The first is a period of great invention. The cumulative effect of invention and knowledge gain has led us to our current modern society. However, it was the early days of the industrial revolution that represent the greatest period of invention. The second signal is convergence. When human action converges with invention, societies transform. A third and critical signal is related to the second, where catalysts throughout history have driven convergence.Continue reading
Conversations about work take many forms these days. Is remote work here to stay? What will a hybrid work model look like? Will we need to work in the future? In the short term, the pandemic has driven a focus on different models of working. In the long term, the polarized discussion centers on the impact of automation. That discussion is explored in incredible detail in a recent book titled Work: A Deep History, from the Stone Age to the Age of Robots. Anthropologist and author James Suzman sets out to answer several questions. He does so by looking at the history of work and the lessons we can learn.
To answer these questions, James Suzman charts a grand history of “work” from the origins of life on Earth to our ever more automated present, challenging some of our deepest assumptions about who we are. Drawing insights from anthropology, archaeology, evolutionary biology, zoology, physics, and economics, he shows that while we have evolved to find joy meaning and purpose in work, for most of human history our ancestors worked far less and thought very differently about work than we do now.James Suzman – Work: A Deep History, from the Stone Age to the Age of Robots