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Book review, ‘The Human Advantage’ by Jay Richards

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Forecasts of an impending “robot apocalypse” have haunted intellectuals and caused some entrepreneurs to demand a universal basic income. But what if there’s something intrinsic to the human person that cannot be automated into oblivion? At the Religion & Liberty Transatlantic website, Josh Herring reviews Jay W. Richards’ new book – The Human Advantage: The Future of American Work in an Age of Smart Machines – which makes precisely this contention. Richards, the executive editor of The Stream, also discussed this topic at Acton University.

Herring writes:

Catholic University of America business professor Jay Richards has written a humane, economically sound account of the current technological landscape, and argues that coming technological change is no threat to human labor. Labor, Richards argues, will change but not vanish. In contrast to the technophobic discourse becoming increasingly common amongst futurists and financial forecasters, Richards reminds us that the best ways to prepare for the future lie in remembering what makes human beings unique, and then developing the virtues which have sustained civilization for centuries. …

Richards argues that no machine will ever contain the virtues which drive human success: “The story of the future is about the five virtues of happy and successful people, each of which matches a feature of the information economy.”

You can read Herring’s full review here.

(Photo credit: U.S. Air Force photo / Gina Marie Giardina.)

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Rev. Ben Johnson Rev. Ben Johnson is Managing Editor of the Acton Institute's flagship journal Religion & Liberty and edits its transatlantic website.