The one sentence summary

As the robot age decreases the value of much work, we need to enhance our metaskills – feeling, seeing, dreaming, making, and learning.


  • We need five talents for the robotic age. These are metacognitive skills or metaskills: guiding principles that can be transferred from one situation to another. They determine the how to, not the what to:
  1. Feeling: empathy and intuition
  2. Seeing: systems, thinking harder and better
  3. Dreaming: applied imagination
  4. Making: design and testing
  5. Learning: autodidactics (self-teaching)
  • The robot curve shows the value and cost of work decreasing with mechanisation:

Creative work – unique, imaginative, non-routine, autonomous

Skilled work – standardised, talent driven, professional, directed

Rote work – interchangeable, routinized, outsourceable, managed

Robotic work – algorithmic, computerised, efficient, purchased

  • The internet is creating a collective conscious – a fourth brain on top of the three we already have.
  • We need to reject the tyranny of or and embrace the genius of and. Leave the sides behind and look for a third narrative based on common ground.
  • Originality uses imagination and knowledge in four ways: new to yourself, new to the world, adapted from the same domain, or from another. It lies somewhere in the intersection between economy, simplicity, delight, novelty, utility, and credibility.


  • Elements of beauty are surprise, rightness and elegance.
  • The layers of aesthetics are content, form and associations.
  • In the latency trap, you see a problem, introduce a change, nothing happens, you increase the change, and the problem gets worse.
  • Creativity actually comes from a no-process process: confusion, clutter, chaos, crisis, catharsis.
  • The discipline of uncluding is subtracting every element that doesn’t pull its weight. Everyone can include or exclude, but few can unclude.
  • Complexity and simplicity are actually fighting on the same side. They both seek to increase order, one by addition, the other by subtraction. Simplexity opposes disorder, entropy, and messiness.
  • According to geneticist J. B. S. Haldane, there are 4 stages to acceptance to new ideas: from “worthless nonsense”, to “interesting but perverse”, to “true, but unimportant”, to “I always said so.”
  • Connecting two previously unconnected thoughts is a form of combinatory play. “A genius is a person who has two great ideas.” Jacob Bronowski
  • “Without solitude, no serious work is possible.” Picasso


  • Nothing. This is thought-provoking stuff.