Technology

Frey and Osborne’s work knowingly complements The Second Machine Age, a much-cited book by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee. Brynjolfsson and McAfee argue that “computers and other digital advances are doing for mental power … what the steam engine and its descendants did for physical power”.

If the various authors are right, then many of the assumptions regarding how labour markets will change are wrong. This could have major consequences for economic and social policy – and for politics more broadly. Read more

Barack Obama’s two presidential campaign teams used voter databases, digital marketing, social media and targeted advertising to help him win election in 2008 and 2012. It was probably the most technology-savvy campaign in the history of politics. HealthCare.gov, in contrast, is fast becoming one of the biggest technological debacles in the history of public policy. Mr Obama has called for a “tech surge” to fix the problems with the online health system. Read more

The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality, by Angus Deaton, Princeton RRP£19.95/$29.95, 376 pages

The American Way of Poverty: How the Other Half Still Lives, by Sasha Abramsky, Nation Books, RRP$26.99, 355 pages Read more

Universal Credit is the government’s flagship reform to the benefits system. It is also in complete disarray, according to a National Audit Office report released on Thursday. The document is perhaps the most scathing NAO verdict I have read on a large public project. Read more