Human Work in the Age of Smart Machines
Jamie Merisotis

Book cover image

Narrated By: Malcolm Hillgartner

Duration: 6 hours and 30 minutes

What to expect

We are living through a time of upheaval and social unrest, with increasing threats to global health, democratic institutions, and the world’s economies. But behind the alarming headlines is another issue that must be quickly addressed: the role of workers is being transformed—and often rendered obsolete—by automation and artificial intelligence.

As Jamie Merisotis, the president and CEO of Lumina Foundation, argues in Human Work In the Age of Smart Machines, we can—and must—rise to this challenge by preparing to work alongside smart machines doing that which only humans can: thinking critically, reasoning ethically, interacting interpersonally, and serving others with empathy.

In Human Work, Merisotis, author of the award-winning 2015 book America Needs Talent, offers a roadmap for the large-scale, radical changes we must make in order to find abundant and meaningful work in the twenty-first century. His vision centers on developing our unique capabilities as humans through a lifetime of learning opportunities that are easy to navigate, deliver fair results, and offer a broad range of credentials—from college degrees to occupational certifications. By shifting long-held ideas about how the workforce should function and expanding our concept of work, he argues that we can harness the population’s potential, encourage a deeper sense of community, and erase a centuries-long system of inequality.

As the headlines blink red, now is the time to redesign education, training, and the workplace as a whole. Yes, many jobs will be lost to technology, but if we promote people’s deeper potential, engaging human work will always be available.


Educational strategies and policy

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“As a leader who understands that talent is at the very heart of our national economic success, Jamie Merisotis insightfully explains how we must transform ourselves into a society of lifelong learners and build a new human work infrastructure. This book provides a smart roadmap to create more inclusive opportunities for more Americans.”

Penny Pritzker, Former U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Entrepreneur, and Civic Leader

“An ambitious but pragmatic blueprint for dismantling longstanding systemic disparities.”

Spencer Overton, President, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, America's Black Think Tank

Human Work reminds us that no matter how technologically advanced our culture becomes, we will always need human morality and will require human beings to make ethical decisions. Jamie Merisotis’s persuasive new book is a call not to abandon our ethical intelligence in favor of an artificial one.”

James Martin, Jesuit Priest, Editor at Large, America magazine, and New York Times bestselling author

“As we all work together rebuilding the economy post-pandemic, fresh thinking like this will be crucial. A must read for leaders in business, education, and government.”

James Stavridis, Retired Admiral, US Navy, 16th Supreme Allied Commander at NATO, and 12th Dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University

Human Work reminds us that work is about meaning, and that in preparing for the future of work we must create pathways toward a more just and equitable world.”

Cecilia Muñoz, Vice President, New America, Former Domestic Policy Advisor to President Obama, and winner of a MacArthur Fellowship for her work on immigration and civil rights

“Artificial intelligence and the age of robots and ‘smart machines’ are often seen as threats—which could make modern economies even less fair, and further drain decency and connectedness from social life. This book is a practical guide to a more desirable human and technological future.”