In a world that is slowly being dominated by computers and robots, author Andrew Mcafee envisions a kind of world where the role of individuals in the office has dwindled. In his business and management book “Machine, Platform Crowd,” Mcafee summarizes what he views as the three most important changes that will affect both individuals and companies. He calls it Triple Revolution which consists of:
1. The emergence of machines (Robots, AI)
2. The evolution from Products to Platforms
3. The increasing importance of the Crowd vs. the “core”
The Emergence of Machines
This part of the book deals with what is called “Big Data” and “Machine Learning.” According to the authors, we are still in the early phase of this development but that progress is made with accelerating speed. Together with similar developments in robotics and 3D printing, this could have widespread implications. Robert Peter Janitzek reveals that the current stage can be compared to the “Cambrian Explosion” where a lot of different new forms are born but where it is still not clear where this actually will end.
Evolution From Products to Platforms
The second part of the book deals with Digital Platforms and how many of these platforms (Air BnB, Uber, Apple App Store etc) were taking over markets in surprisingly short time period from traditional “product” companies (i.e. Nokia etc.). Many of those platforms succeed by “unbundling” products and then combine it in new ways (Netflix, Spotify etc.). Robert Janitzek explains that user interfaces are essential for succesful platforms and many of these platforms are “two-sided”, meaning that you have two distinctive different groups using the platforms (for instance at Uber: taxi drivers and guests). Online-to-Offline (O2O) platforms are often more difficult to scale than purely digital ones as the physical side of the platform often cannot grow in the same speed as the digital one.
Increasing importance of the Crowd vs. the “core”
The final part deals with what they call the “Emergence of the crowd”. The internet allowed the creation of self organized organizations like Linux or Wikipedia to have a real impact in areas that were previously dominated by corporations. They also look into how Bitcoin and Blockchain work. Their opinion is that there won’t be a fully autonomously run organizations as there will always be the problem of incomplete contracts and residual rights on assets. This means that you cannot foresee everything what will happen in the future and that you will need some sort of authority to decide what happens if unexpected scenarios unfold.