Timothy Carone provides a visionary outlook on what will probably be called our digitized future. The book is split into 11 chapters. First, the author introduces autonomous systems (ASs). ASs are (in addition to the Internet of Things, IoT) the core element of the whole book. Next, he describes the use of ASs in terms of performing analyses (for example, in the context of big data combined with the deployment of sensors). He then describes the disruption of an AS-driven IoT and AS-driven artificial intelligence (AI). The following chapters discuss enablers for ASs and their utilization to support the global food supply, logistics, financial services, manufacturing, and healthcare. The book ends with a chapter on speculations.
As mentioned, ASs are the fundamental technological element of this book. However, the author’s definition is very broad. In his view, Facebook is an AS, and a bicycle or a self-driving car is an AS. A clearer distinction would have been valuable here. Also, the distinction between platforms and ASs is not communicated in a clear way. Nevertheless, this book is an eye-opener in the sense that it provides a visionary look into the future of several key domains, such as healthcare and logistics.
Compressed into just over 200 pages, the content of the chapters is partially superficial, allowing no in-depth discussion of the topics. This is a pity because the author seems to possess some very deep understanding of the different application domains of ASs. However, some of his assumptions appear to be a bit optimistic; developmental inhibitors and potential problems should have been elaborated in more detail. For instance, societal topics or aspects of information security would be interesting to discuss in more depth. However, the author’s goal was probably not to provide such an in-depth discussion and rather tell the readers about the possibilities of ASs.
Carone discusses several topics, many of which use abbreviations. A list of abbreviations and an index would have been helpful to the reader. The book would also have benefited from some more proofreading--several chapters contain a number of typographical errors.
Overall, this book could be improved, and I would recommend reading a (hopefully appearing) revised edition. The primary value of the book lies in it being an eye-opener, and I learned some ideas from it.