Policy Press

The Economy of Algorithms

AI and the Rise of the Digital Minions

By Marek Kowalkiewicz

Published

Mar 5, 2024

Page count

240 pages

ISBN

978-1529242461

Dimensions

216 x 240 mm

Imprint

Bristol University Press

Published

Mar 5, 2024

Page count

240 pages

ISBN

978-1529242478

Dimensions

216 x 240 mm

Imprint

Bristol University Press

Published

Mar 5, 2024

Page count

240 pages

ISBN

978-1529242478

Dimensions

216 x 240 mm

Imprint

Bristol University Press
The Economy of Algorithms

Welcome to the economy of algorithms. It’s here and it’s growing. In the past few years, we have been flooded with examples of impressive technology. Algorithms have been around for hundreds of years, but they have only recently begun to ‘escape’ our understanding. When algorithms perform certain tasks, they’re not just as good as us, they’re becoming infinitely better, and, at the same time, massively more surprising. We are so impressed by what they can do that we give them a lot of agency. But because they are so hard to comprehend, this leads to all kinds of unintended consequences.

In the 20th century, things were simple: we had the economy of corporations. In the first two decades of the 21st century, we saw the emergence of the economy of people, otherwise known as the digital economy, enabled by the internet. Now we’re seeing a new economy take shape: the economy of algorithms.

“An essential read for those looking to future-proof their careers in the face of AI's advancement and in an era of relentless change." Diana Wu David, Author, Future Proof: Reinventing Work in an Age of Acceleration

‘An eye-opener about how ubiquitous digital helpers and algorithms have become in our daily lives..right on time for us to understand more of the good, the bad and the ugly of algorithms.’ Mario Herger, technology trend researcher and author of Gamification at Work

”A fantastic and timely book on the opportunities and risks of algorithms in our lives. Fun and insightful from start to finish.” Dr Jonathan Reichental, founder and CEO of Human Future and author of Smart Cities for Dummies

“A very accessible book for anyone interested in the long-term opportunities for businesses, individuals and society as technology penetrates ever more corners of the economy and our lives. Enlightening, informative and encouraging.’ Simon Dale, Vice-President, Adobe

“A down to earth tour that will help you understand how the algorithms are increasingly taking on human roles” Toby Walsh, Chief Scientist at the UNSW AI Institute and author of Machines Behaving Badly

‘A damn-well written book… a very thrilling, entertaining whirlwind tour of the different AI algorithms and examples of their industry applications, implications for everyday life and the workforce” Tobias Lange, Senior Vice-President, Siemens Digital Industries Software

“Buzzwords like neural networks, deep learning and transformers dominating the headlines, but what significance do these terms hold for you? Professor Kowalkiewicz’s eagerly awaited book provides clear and accessible answers to this question.” Chong Wang, AI Research Scientist, Apple Inc.

“Through an entertaining collection of stories and lessons, Kowalkiewicz deftly charts how algorithms have come to dominate so much of our world and decision-making. An optimistic guide to tilting our modern economy of algorithms toward opportunity instead of disaster” Rohit Bhargava, author of Non-Obvious Megatrends

“From automating mundane tasks to challenging ethical boundaries, this book delves into the heart of our algorithm-driven future, offering insightful rules for thriving in this new era.” Aleksandra Przegalinska, Vice-Rector for International Cooperation and ESR, Kozminski University and Head of the HumanRace Research Center

Marek Kowalkiewicz is founding director of the Queensland University of Technology Research Centre for the Digital Economy. He previously led innovation teams in Silicon Valley for one of the largest enterprise software vendors in the world. In 2023, Thinkers360 included him in its list of the Top 100 Global Thought Leaders in Artificial Intelligence.

Introduction: The Economy of Algorithms Is Here

Part 1: How Did We Get Here?

1. The March of the Algorithms

2. New Agents Enter the Economy

3. New Digital Frontiers

Part 2: How Algorithms Affect Us All

4. How Do You Advertise to a Fridge?

5. Can an Algorithm Take Your Job?

6. Do Algorithms Dream of Electric Sheep?

Part 3: Nine Rules for the Age of Algorithms

7. Be the Minion Master

8. Be Relentlessly Curious

9. Be Boldly Optimistic

Conclusion: Human Agency