The Skill Code: How to Save Human Ability in an Age of Intelligent Machines

Available

June 11

2024

Harper Business

How Do We Learn to Work with Intelligent Machines?

An insightful and surprising guide to protecting your skill in a world filling with AI and robots

Pre-Order Now

“If you’re worried about your skills becoming obsolete, this book may be your saving grace. Matt Beane has spent his career studying how to gain and maintain expertise as technology evolves, and his analysis is both engrossing and edifying.”

Adam Grant

Adam Grant

#1 New York Times bestselling author of Hidden Potential and Think Again, and host of the TED podcast WorkLife

From one of the world’s top researchers on work and technology comes an insightful and surprising guide to protecting your skill in a world filling with AI and robots.

Think of your most valuable skill, the thing you can reliably do under pressure to deliver results. How did you learn it?

Whatever your job – plumber, attorney, teacher, surgeon – decades of research show that you achieved mastery by working with someone who knew more than you did. Formal learning—school and books—gave you conceptual knowledge, but you developed your skill by working with an expert.

Today, this essential bond is under threat. In our grail-like quest to optimize productivity with intelligent technologies like AI and robots, we are separating junior workers from experts in workplaces around the world. It’s a looming multi-trillion-dollar problem that few are addressing, until now.

In The Skill Code, researcher and technologist Matt Beane reveals the hidden code that underwrites every successful expert-novice relationship. Beane has spent the last decade examining this unique bond in a variety of settings, from warehouses to surgical suites. He’s found that just as the four amino acids are the building blocks of DNA, the three C’s—challenge, complexity, and connection—are the basic components of how we develop our most valuable skills.

Whether you’re an expert or a novice, this book will show you how to build skill more effectively – and how to make intelligent technologies part of the solution, not the problem. The Skill Code is an insightful must-read, with significant implications for how we will work and build skill in the twenty-first century—a guide to help you not only survive but thrive.

PRAISE FOR THE BOOK

“Beane shows us the true human-centered approach to AI advancements and how we must act now to achieve the next generation of human skills coupled with the productivity gains from AI.”

Fei-Fei Li

Fei-Fei Li

Sequoia Professor of Computer Science and founding director of the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI) at Stanford University

“If you’re worried about your skills becoming obsolete, this book may be your saving grace. Matt Beane has spent his career studying how to gain and maintain expertise as technology evolves, and his analysis is both engrossing and edifying.”

Adam Grant

Adam Grant

#1 New York Times bestselling author of Hidden Potential and Think Again, and host of the TED podcast WorkLife

“Beane delivers an essential, meticulously researched road map for combining intelligent technologies with the way humans have built skill for thousands of years to reach our brightest possible future.”

Reid Hoffman

Reid Hoffman

cofounder of Inflection AI and LinkedIn, and partner at Greylock

“With riveting stories, The Skill Code offers a timeless recipe for skill development and thriving at work in the age of AI.”

Amy Edmondson

Amy Edmondson

Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management at the Harvard Business School and author of Right Kind of Wrong: The Science of Failing Well

“Matt’s decades-long curiosity about human work positions him perfectly to offer such a thoughtful and well-researched guide to skill development in this age of generative AI.”

Jeff Wilke

Jeff Wilke

former CEO of Amazon’s Worldwide Consumer and chairman of Re:Build Manufacturing

“There has never been a more important time for this book— nor anyone more qualified to explain what it all means than Matt Beane. The Skill Code teaches urgent lessons.”

Ethan Mollick

Ethan Mollick

author of Co-Intelligence: Living and Working with AI and professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

“With academic rigor and actionable insights, Matt’s watershed book offers a new approach to skill development that aligns the age-old realities of expert-novice collaboration with the innovative potential of intelligent tools.”

Erik Brynjolfsson

Erik Brynjolfsson

Director of the Stanford Digital Economy Lab; co-author of The Second Machine Age

“In this vital book, Beane focuses us on an immediate, hidden concern: that today’s powerful technologies give people fewer opportunities to learn as they try to master a difficult craft.”

Andrew McAfee

Andrew McAfee

Author of The Geek Way and co-author of The Second Machine Age

The Skill Code is a compelling reminder of the timeless importance of human guidance in an increasingly automated world.”

Hadi Partovi

Hadi Partovi

Founder and CEO, Code.org

“Matt Beane’s The Skill Code is a rollicking read, it’s magnificently researched, and, above all, a relentlessly useful and timely playbook.”

Robert Sutton

Robert Sutton

Stanford Professor; New York Times bestselling author or co-author of eight books including Good Boss, Bad Boss, Scaling Up Excellence, and The Friction Project

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The Skill Code: How to Save Human Ability in an Age of Intelligent Machines

Available

June 11

2024