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John Zysman ( Zysman.firstname.lastname@example.org) is a Professor
Emeritus in the Department of Political Science, University
of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, cofounder of the
Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy,
and convener of the Berkeley Project Work in an Era of
Intelligent Tools and Systems.
Martin Kenney ( email@example.com) is Distinguished
Professor of Human and Community Development at the
University of California, Davis, and Senior Project Director
at the Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy;
he is also an Affiliated Faculty at Instituto di Management
at the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa, Italy.
©2018 ACM 0001-0782/18/2
timately connected. For example, the
voice-activated digital helpers from
Amazon and Google not only have privacy implications but, because they
recommend products and services,
also affect marketplace competition. 24
Further, their payment systems could
also raise banking regulatory questions. Digital helpers are bound to produce further vertical integration that
could also require regulatory intervention. Decisions in one regulatory area
can directly influence decisions in other regulatory areas.
The greatest strategic advantage for
platform firms is their algorithms and
the data they collect. Not surprisingly,
these firms claim their algorithms and
data are trade secrets not be subject to
Intelligent tools. To establish a
technology trajectory in which intelligent tools contribute to human
creativity, one priority for business
leaders should be to consider how
harnessing computer-human comple-mentarities might create advantage in
ways that will be valued and help generate success in the marketplace. Society should thus fund research projects aimed at identifying where, how,
and why intelligent tools contribute
to augmentation of human capabilities. This research should make possible inferring the kinds of applications and deployments best suited to
computer-human collaboration and
encourage their development and deployment. Identifying alternatives is
difficult. Even more difficult is how to
develop organizational strategies that
support worker development, augment human capabilities, and amplify
Politics translates debate into social
and economic policy. Business lead-
ers, political figures, and workers
need to resolve the politics and eco-
nomics of structural change caused
by the movement of social life and
economic activity onto ICT platforms
and the effect on employment and
the work process. In some instances,
as with Germany’s Industrie 4.0, there
will be a coherent national debate,
while in others (such as policy in re-
sponse to, say, Amazon’s dominance
of online retail) such debate may be
difficult to formulate and responses
to organize. Policy and politics will be
an important force shaping the con-
sequences of the increasing penetra-
tion of platforms and other intelli-
gent tools into the fabric of everyone’s
economic and social life. As existing
sectors decline or are transformed,
new market leaders will emerge, dis-
placing existing firms, even as new
domains and sectors appear. The ex-
isting workforce will transform or be
pushed aside as new forms of work
and new strategies for organizing the
production and distribution of goods
and services are introduced. There
is already a struggle over governance
between the public rules and gover-
nance embedded in platform algo-
rithms and code. We hope this article
provides a framework for a discussion
that is only beginning.
The authors contributed equally to
this article. We gratefully acknowledge
the financial support of the Kauffman
Foundation and helpful comments
of Roger Bohn, Stuart Feldman, Ken
Goldberg, Kenji Kushida, Niels Christian Nielsen, Hanne Shapiro, Shankar
Sastry, Costas Spanos, and Laura Ty-son. We thank the anonymous reviewers for their penetrating comments. All
arguments advanced and conclusions
herein are solely the responsibility of
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