Book Review: Reprogramming the American Dream

I've mentioned before that I have a deep interest in artificial intelligence and how it will change the world. In particular, I'm interested in the effects on jobs. So I was pleased to get to listen to another book covering this recently. It was Kevin Scott (from Microsoft)'s Reprogramming the American Dream: From Rural America to Silicon Valley – Making AI Serve Us All.

Kevin is Microsoft's Chief Technology Officer, so I've come across him before. Prior to Microsoft, he was a senior vice president at LinkedIn and came across to Microsoft as part of the LinkedIn purchase.

I found the book quite fascinating, as much for details of his background in rural America (in Virginia), the moves he's made over the years, and then how he views the potential impacts of AI on rural America. That's an interesting take, as most books today seem to focus on the effects on the big cities.

I'm really interested in how AI will effect people outside the major cities. A recent LandLine program here in Australia covered some local agri-robots. I loved seeing that happening. There is a lot of buzz about agri-robots but not too many are offering practical machines for sale. So I loved seeing that happen, particularly from a rural town like Emerald. What I really loved though, was that they were producing a software development kit (SDK) for their robots, right from an early stage. They've realised they won't be the only ones building apps for their robots. The intersection of this and AI opens so many doors.

In this book Kevin looks at how to integrate AI with work, rather than the typical dystopian view where work is all obliterated. I found his viewpoint somewhat practical and refreshing.

The Verdict ?

This is a great book. 9 out of 10. I found it compelling and compulsive listening. (Mind you I love this topic anyway). I'd like to get Kevin on my podcast one day, to get to discuss it further with him. I might reach out soon. I think it would make for interesting content.


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