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WTF?: What’s the Future and Why It’s Up to Us – Tim O’Reilly

WTF?: What’s the Future and Why It’s Up to Us – WTF? can be an expression of amazement or an expression of dismay. In today’s economy, we have far too much dismay along with our amazement, and technology bears some of the blame. In this combination of memoir, business strategy guide, and call to action, Tim O’Reilly, Silicon Valley’s leading intellectual and the founder of O’Reilly Media, explores the upside and the potential downsides of today’s WTF? technologies.

What is the future when an increasing number of jobs can be performed by intelligent machines instead of people, or done only by people in partnership with those machines? What happens to our consumer based societies—to workers and to the companies that depend on their purchasing power? Is income inequality and unemployment an inevitable consequence of technological advancement, or are there paths to a better future? What will happen to business when technology-enabled networks and marketplaces are better at deploying talent than traditional companies? How should companies organize themselves to take advantage of these new tools? What’s the future of education when on-demand learning outperforms traditional institutions? How can individuals continue to adapt and retrain? Will the fundamental social safety nets of the developed world survive the transition, and if not, what will replace them?

Editorial Reviews

“Tim O’Reilly’s creative insights and moral clarity have made him the trusted guide to waves of technology now sweeping the planet. If you want a better future, don’t just read this book, but make sure your friends do, too.” (Erik Brynjolfsson, Director MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy and Co-author of The Second Machine Age)

“For anyone who wants to know how to prepare for the future – and how we might shape that future in ways that broadly benefit society, not just technological or entrepreneurial elites—WTF? is an indispensable guide.” (Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn and co-author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age)

“O’Reilly has an uncanny knack for charting what’s ahead. In WTF?, he shows us know he does it. At a time of sweeping change, it is a bracing and an exhilarating read.” (Anne-Marie Slaughter, President and CEO, New America)

“So many insights, so much history, so much of our future by the consummate insider who is as much a part of the story as the people and ideas he writes about – I was learning something on more or less every page.” (Dr. James Manyika, director, McKinsey Global Institute)

“Tim has been an astute observer of both the successes and the excesses of Silicon Valley. This provocative book distills the lessons he has learned about the power of technology to shape our economy and our lives.” (Hal Varian, Google chief economist)

“No one is better at understanding the future than Tim O’Reilly. He has an intuitive feel and a deep knowledge of technology. This book makes sense of the astonishing transformations that are happening around us and is an indispensable guidebook to tomorrow.” (Walter Isaacson, President & CEO, The Aspen Institute)

“[a] punchy and provocative book… What’s the Future is an insightful and heartfelt plea, daring us to reimagine a better economy and society… a jaunty read with a compelling narrative of how technology interweaves with the real world. If it can cajole even a few tech titans to dwell on the social and political impact of what they do then it will have served a useful purpose.” (Financial Times)

About the Author

Tim O’Reilly is the founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media, Inc. His original business plan was simply “interesting work for interesting people,” and that’s worked out pretty well. O’Reilly Media delivers online learning, publishes books, runs conferences, urges companies to create more value than they capture, and tries to change the world by spreading and amplifying the knowledge of innovators.

Tim has a history of convening conversations that reshape the computer industry. In 1993, he launched the first commercial, ad-supported site on the internet. In 1998, he organized the meeting where the term “open source software” was agreed on, and helped the business world understand its importance. In 2004, with the Web 2.0 Summit, he defined how “Web 2.0” represented not only the resurgence of the web after the dot com bust, but a new model for the computer industry, based on big data, collective intelligence, and the internet as a platform. In 2009, with his “Gov 2.0 Summit,” he framed a conversation about the modernization of government technology that has shaped policy and spawned initiatives at the Federal, State, and local level, and around the world. He has now turned his attention to implications of AI, the on-demand economy, and other technologies that are transforming the nature of work and the future shape of the business world. This is the subject of his forthcoming book from Harper Business, WTF: What’s the Future and Why It’s Up to Us.

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