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The Technology Machine

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The Technology Machine

How Manufacturing Will Work in the Year 2020

Free Press,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Text available

What's inside?

How will you work in 2020? Imagine yourself as part of an adaptive system, perhaps an on-demand manufacturing firm located where customers live. But some things haven’t changed: systems still must be simple and knowledge is still your biggest asset.

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Applicable


Patricia A. Moody and Richard E. Morley take a fascinating trip into the future, the not-too distant future, by exploring what manufacturing and product delivery to consumers will look like in the year 2020. By discussing past and current advances, the authors articulately present convincing arguments for their ideas with great zest. Don’t worry, you won’t find impenetrable technological prose here, quite the contrary. Instead, you’ll find visions of point-of-consumption manufacturing, small work groups made up of people who live near their job sites and biotechnology that enables customized creation of replacement body parts. Gene Bylinsky of Fortune magazine calls this well-received volume, "a beautifully written, insightful and important new book... your best guide to success" in the 21st century. getAbstract recommends this book to forward-looking managers who understand that, even in the complex future, the main rule will be: Keep it simple.


The Technology Machine in Action

Autonomous agents, emergent systems and complexity theory will change the way you live and work in the 21st century. Today’s manufacturing and production systems will grow more and more complicated, leading the science of complexity to produce paradoxically simple solutions by the year 2020. Technology, knowledge and individual experience are at the core of this transition.

The lingering problems that beset today’s manufacturers are rooted in three bad business habits: shortsightedness, restrictive structures and unbalanced improvement fads. Business must leave those faults behind. The technologies that will dominate the business world in the future will lead customers and suppliers to be linked by real-time online systems. Business will be driven by customer-designed, point-of-consumption replication of the product. The successful future organization will take a holistic approach and will look nothing like the "sweatshop-like" companies of the past.

Many visions of the future are distorted and show machine intelligence running every operation. That is simply not going to happen. Instead, people will shape technology that works...

About the Authors

Patricia E. Moody is the former editor of Target magazine. She is a manufacturing management consultant and writer with more than 25 years of industry experience. Her client list includes Solectron, Motorola, Johnson & Johnson and Mead Corporation. Richard E. Morley , the CEO of Flavors Technology, Inc., is the founder or co-founder of more than ten companies, including Modicon and Andover Controls.

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