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The Second Machine Age is Almost Here

by Greg Twemlow

The Thomas L. Friedman story that appeared recently in the New York Times and was syndicated globally describes a kind of new world order created by massive growth in Internet data (Internet of Things) and what I have called “The Software Century” in my article published here


Friedman was riveted by MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee’s fascinating new book, “The Second Machine Age”. Brynjolfsson and McAfee have painted a rather sobering picture of a world where the pace of change continually builds thanks to The Software Century and The Internet of Things. Basically where real-time sensor data is accessible by software in The Cloud in order to make many of the decisions that people, white-collar workers in particular, are now paid handsomely to make.


The drivers of this unstoppable change to society as we know it are the combination of Globalization, The Software Century, The Internet of Things, Mobile Devices and of course Ubiquitous Internet powering the insatiable demands of Western corporations for greater returns to shareholders, online consumers and by Governments everywhere that have all but given up on balancing their budgets.


The term “Second Machine Age’ is indeed a very apt one, describing an environment that has been portrayed in numerous science fiction worlds by writers such as Philip K. Dick and Isaac Asimov.

While it verges on a kind of doomsday scenario “The Second Machine Age” shouldn’t be dismissed as the musings of a couple of eccentric MIT Professors. The book accurately assesses the nature of the changes that we will all experience and focuses on the impact on the traditional white-collar workforce.


The potential for genuine social upheaval is clearly upon us and the pace of the changes driving us all toward a new world order will not diminish. Moores Law has never been more relevant particularly when applied to the volume of data washing through the pipes of the Internet.

Maybe it isn’t quite time for our Governments to look for a panic button but let’s not make the mistake of simply hoping all will be fine and assuring each other “these changes aren’t that serious, no need to worry”.


The scariest fact is that none of us can stop the explosive growth in sensor data and with a ubiquitous Internet and increasingly sophisticated software environment The Second Machine Age is literally right around the corner.


What this all means for our kids as we try and help them plan their careers needs some serious analysis. Even more critical however is what it means for the millions of people currently employed to assess information and make decisions, the vast army of white-collar employees. The Second Machine Age essentially predicts that 80% of those people are very likely to be redundant.

Article by Greg Twemlow, CEO, AIRDOCS Global

An accomplished CEO, I combine technical depth with business savvy and creative flair and an ability to think analytically. Currently CEO of AIRDOCS Global, a one-stop Cloud solution for all digital and print forms of intelligent, personalized communications. If you want to treat every single customer with the personal care they deserve then we should talk.

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