Significant economic trends talked about in the novel and how they support the different theories
An economic trend defines indicators within a country or a region that show the financial performance of various participants in different markets. From the article, the authors identify certain fundamental economic indicators, including increased productivity, changes in population employment status, increasing purchase of physical goods, and general improvements in industrial supplies (Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee 24). The authors’ description of different economic trends is pegged general changes industrial performances brought about by industrial revolution, and the invention of production technologies and other machines.
In relation to industrial performance, the authors identify the infusion of technology in industrial operations as the most outstanding factor of production since it ensures improved productivity and higher market supplies. For this reason, the authors identify an upward economic movement as defined by instances of improved output, higher consumption, efficient and effective deliveries, general growth in industrial revenues, enhanced industrial communication, and more secured production environments. The authors are more categorical on the shift from labor-intensive means of production to capitalist economy, which is the primary cause of the rising levels of human unemployment (Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee 24). Based on the rising unemployment brought forth by the introduction of production technologies and other important machines, the authors predict future economic imbalances. From the article, two contradicting concepts emerge; an essential upward economic growth and gradual decline in economic performance (Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee 27).
As already stated, the authors widely use the theory of capitalism to define the observed economic changes and subsequent impacts, which could be one-sided. The theory of capitalism identifies an economy as non-labor intensive or an economy that relies extensively on machines and other technologies in production and delivery of goods and services. Authors use theories, statistical information, econometric models, and graphs to define the concept of capitalism and its impact on general economic performance. Just like economic historians, the authors mention technologies as the driving forces manufacturers use to match their profit maximization needs with the customers’ demands for effective goods and efficient deliveries. Some of the machines the authors identify in this relation are the steam engine and electrical power, which by contrast have spread across the world opening new regions for more production processes. Both the steam engine and electric power continue to boost manufacturing by enabling companies or firms to use powered machines in place of human labor. According to the authors and supportive economic historians, production technology is an important technique since it creates potential impacts on many sectors of the economy, which are mainly significant boosts to industrial outputs (Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee 28). On the side of the theory, the authors find ground on Moore’s Trajectory Law and its economic application in industrial performance. For example, the authors mention specific innovations like autonomous cars and non-human machines as part of the new inventions led by technology.
Other than theories and statements of economic historians, the authors use information and data to support various hypotheses. The data and information employed in the article relate producible units to the pessimistic concerns for the power of digital processing. Essentially, the authors talk about the innovation process as a set of discrete inventions, which later joins up as incremental improvements that could be used to tap the full potential of former inventions (Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee 28). The data presented by the authors show that at the time of technology establishment (when the technology has just been introduced into the industry), the economic benefits people reap are small. However, these benefits improve as the industry becomes more technologically oriented.
An example of data used by the Authors to prove their position on the outcome of the digital processing
The authors provided enough data to prove their position on the outcome of digital processing, the current impact, and future economic implications. The authors identify digital processing (digitization) as the most current means through which people can request or receive information, and also get a response or respond to information (Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee 37). The digital processing allows individuals to store or seek data from all types of sensors as well as retrieving information on various items like news, music, photos, videos or maps from their respective sources, such as documents, media, and Internet. The authors use the report released by Cisco Systems on the increasing internet traffic across the world as one of the useful information on how people find computers and other technology applications necessary in data and information processing and retrieval. The authors provide data on digital processing between 2011 and 2012, which shows an improvement of up to 2.7 zettabytes- a half the rate that existed in 2011 (Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee 37). The information provided by the authors also shows higher possibilities of increased internet protocol traffic, which could reach 1.3 zettabytes by the year 2016. The presented figures on digital processing are therefore good examples to be included when examining technology growth rates, and how fast the world is running out of its metric systems.
The digital processing andother digitization processeshave their economicapplicationswhere a personuses the internet to retrieveordeliverinformation on availablegoodsandservices within and outside thecountry. One specificexamplementioned by theauthors is theuse of Google search to access data andinformation on housingsalesandprices of othergoodsandservices within their respectivecountries. Theuse of internet in data andinformation processing makesiteasierforpeople to obtain various industrialserviceandsupplies within fewdayswhilemaintaining an ongoinginvestigation on priceanddemandchanges (Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee 41). Digital processing providesbothpresentandpastinformation on variouseconomic variables andtheimpact of suchinformation on economicperformance. Theauthorsintended to showthat digital processing otherwiseknown as digitization provides data andexamples that industries can useto understand andpredictthechanges in economicenvironmentsforthepurposes of meetingtheprofit maximization needs, and ensuringsatisfaction on theside of customers.
The Interesting Thinking Machine Described in the Book
One interesting thinking machine the authors describe in the article is the OrCam system, which is capable of conducting sound waves through the bones of the head of a visually impaired person. The OrCam combines tiny digital cameras with speakers clipped onto an individual’s glasses and connected to a computer. Through the combination of glasses, digital camera, and speaker, the person can read a text or any writing on a billboard (Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee 57). The OrCam is connected in such a way that in the event a person points a figure at the source of text or writing on a billboard, the computer instantly recognizes, analyzes, reads or interprets the image as sent from the camera to the visually impaired person. The example of OrCam illustrates some of the improvements in thinking machines, and how technology innovations make life easier and fun.
Two examples of Crowdsourcing or Collaboration that the authors referenced in this book
The authors in their description define crowdsourcing as a problem-solving and production model, which uses labor-intensive processes instead of the automated process of technology. The two examples of Crowdsourcing the authors mentioned in the book are Task-Rabbit and Airbedand-breakfast.com, which most companies use to satisfy their customers’ demands and requests for different tasks.
Reason(S) For Recommending the Book to another Student
For a student who needs an introductory knowledge of machines (technology), their applications and progress, this book remains ideal. The fact that the book uses different illustrations to give a meaning to the terms ‘machine and technology innovation‘ meets the authors’ intentions of explaining the essence of digital processing. In general, the book can be recommended to a student because it provides relevant information on technology and its application in areas of production and information processing.
Brynjolfsson, Erik, and Andrew McAfee. The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies. , 2014. Print.
eve their objective (DuBrin, 2012). Relying on their inherent abilities, qualifications, knowledge, experiences, and skills are the crucial factors that promote effectiveness and productivity for the leader. In this paper, focus will be placed on analysis the synthesis between traits and skills in enhancing good leadership.
Acquisition of Skills and Traits
Research literature dictates that leaders acquire their skills based either on their innate qualities, behaviors, or abilities, or through education, training, and experience. The innate qualities that a leader can possess that formulate their leadership skills are such as humility, patience, critical thinking, adroit decision making, and goals oriented. Application of these qualities to nay leadership position usually has the overall effect of instilling respect and admiration among others thus endearing them to follow the ideologies of this leader.
For instance, one of the prime qualities that make up a good leader is their ability to make decisions that have a positive impact not only on a particular task, but also on the productivity and efficacy of the group under their command. This is defined as social proof where the actions or behaviors of a person can be used to exert influence on another person or group due to the appeal and efficacy of the action exhibited by the individual. Social proof acts as the core principle that leaders use to exert their influence on their subjects to promote their ideologies, orders, and beliefs. Therefore, leaders possessing qualities that can be deemed as appropriate for influencing people to follow their actions and ideologies usually have better chances of achievement of completion of designated tasks efficiently and productively (Shaw, 2008).
Psychologists suggest that these leadership traits cannot become inherently useful to a person in a short time. They have to be nurtured in an environment that is enabling, accommodating, and encouraging the traits to be channeled in a useful manner that can influence the person towards being a leader. This means that a child can have all these qualities early on, but still make a poor leader in future if these skills are not channeled to useful links and environment. Contrastingly, one who begins to practice these traits early and with ardent can ingrain in them a sense of confidence for the achievement of certain leadership positions and skills.
This analogy is defined as the acquisition of leadership traits through education and training. Training one to become a leader through trait acquisition is an intricate process that entails self-realization, self-efficacy, and discipline. This system is useful since one realizes their innate weaknesses and strengths and learns to channel them to useful links related to their future leadership role (Kent, 2005). Receiving training from outside sources is only effective in acquiring a set of traits that are representative of an idealized leader, and do not conform or consider one’s personality or attributes that can mesh with this ideology. Therefore, the result is a person forcing himself to act in a particular manner without consideration of their beliefs or identity. This often results in poor leadership and management not only of people or an organization, but also of one’s life, career, and professionalism.
Meshing Skills and Traits
Meshing acquired education and skills, and practicing them utilizes two different methodologies for achieving their objectives. Therefore, in spite of one’s zeal or focus for the completion of the task, it is still vital that application of the necessary tools, skills, and methodologies be applied. Effective leaders cannot utilize a common strategy for achieving this objective since different tasks and groups require different strategies to influence to complete a given task (Kent, 2005). The leader has to ensure that their skills used for different tasks vary depending on the severity, complexity, expanse, and time line for the completion of that task. Therefore, utility f different skills and traits will be essential in ensuring that their objective is met.
One application of a mesh between skills and traits is when completing a project with a multiplicity of subcategories and subprojects, each requiring unique skill sets for the workers handling them. Therefore, since the leader is unskilled to handle such sub projects, he has to ensure that he not only employs qualified people to head each individual subproject, but also have an avenue to erasure the success and efficacy of the completion of each subproject (DuBrin, 2012). Therefore, the leader can achieve this issue by tapping into their management skills where project scheduling and task allocation are easy for them to formulate. Additionally, the leader has to manage the quantity of resources present for the task completion. The traits that the leader would need to possess are such as adroit decision-making, planning, understanding, patient, and attentive to people and their ideas. Therefore, a mesh of these traits and skills would serve to increase the plausibility of completion and management of the project and their subcategories, with different managers or directors.
According to research literature, the mere completion of a given task cannot constitute effective leadership since the strategies and methodologies employed have to be assessed. In some instances, leaders may use unorthodox means to complete their task or forcefully influence their workers to perform a task, in spite of its danger or lack of skills to complete it. This is defined as the application of poor ethical structures and strategies in management and leadership. The crucial role of ethics in leadership and management is important to ensure that activities, projects, labor force, and resources are used in a manner that exerts fairness, authority, respect, and adhering to a strict code of standards and professionalism (Leithwood & Levin, 2004).
The achievement of leadership ethics requires the application of different and unique traits and skills in not only the leader, but also on his subjects. This means that the leader would have to tap into his moral consciousness and societal responsibility to ensure that his actions conform to ethics in leadership and management. The traits used in this endeavor have to be nurtured in a concise and disciplined manner since some action that are ethical can have injurious and negative on people and the overall project. For instance, one of the major issues that leaders in organizations have to deal with is the labor wages that are continually changing to promote humanity and reflect on the severity and complexity of the task.
Ethically, the leader is supposed to listen to the workers’ demands for wage increases and formulate steps to address. However, this creates a logjam since balancing between resource allocation and availability, and pleasing other people is difficult. In some instances, the available monies can be insufficient to meet the demands for better wages and salaries for the workers (Antonakis & Atwater, 2002). Therefore, company ethics dictate that the leader should use logic to ensure that resources are equally and evenly distributed to all sectors of the organization without favor or prejudice. The leader is faced with acting human, or acting as an effective leader. To avert the crisis, the leader would have to consider the needs of the organization foremost, since his primary responsibility is to the completion of the project, rather than human activism. The decision made is modeled on the ideology that traits and skills have merged using adroit decision-making and effective management skills.
Accountability and Transparency
This analogy is closely related to the accountability and transparency skills of an effective leader. The leader is mandated to act in a manner that is representative of the organizations rules, regulations, laws, and regulations. He should align his personality and actions to norms and behaviors that ensure accountability and transparency in not only his actions, but also those of his employees (Leithwood & Levin, 2004). Employees tend to mimic the actions and behaviors of their leaders. Therefore, the leader acts as a role model to the employees. Accountability of one’s actions promotes a culture of self-assessment of the leader and his employees to methodologies and strategies employed to complete tasks. The positive effect of this system is ability for advocating autonomy and independence among employees. This essential skill ensures that the leader and his employees learn and understand their strengths and weaknesses. This models their actions in a manner that is considerate of this knowledge and ensures that tasks and responsibilities are assigned and accomplished with the highest skill and standards.
The leader should ensure that he has a focus on future goals and objectives, rather than focusing on current issues only. Having a vision for an organization requires planning and skill to formulate plans and actions that are representative of a progressive organization. This vision has to be structured in a manner that is considerate to the structures and laws of the organization to enhance the possibility of success of the plans (Antonakis & Atwater, 2002). The employee cannot merely perform the achievement of a vision through a leaders plan and acquisition of resources to achieve the plans, but also through the participation and acceptance of the plans and vision. Communicating the vision to the employees is the primary task for the leader since the employees are the force behind the implementation of the vision. In this regard, it is also vital that the leader also includes the employees’ suggestions and ideas in the formulation of the vision.
Leadership traits and skills are essential for ensuring that the leader is effectual in his actions, behaviors, and ability to complete tasks. Meshing these two core values requires attention and precision to have the right cocktail of traits and skills for a particular task. The myriads of benefits through which this mesh can be achieved are such as better accountability, transparency, creation of vision, adaption of ethics, and improved management of people and resources.
Antonakis, J., & Atwater, L. (2002). Leader distance: A review and proposed theory. The Leadership Quarterly, 13, 673− 704.
DuBrin, A. J. (2012). Leadership: Research findings, practice, and skills. Mason, OH: South-Western. Cengage Learning.
Kent, T. (2005). Leading and managing: it takes two to tango. Management Decision. 43 (7-8):1010-1017.
Leithwood, K. & Levin, B. (2004). Approaches to the Evaluation of Leadership Programs and Leadership Effects. London, UK: DfES.
Shaw, M. S. (2008). Leadership Development and the Characteristics/traits of Ethical and Effective Leaders: The Delphi Technique. San Fransisco, CA: Proquest.