Everyone’s heard about the rise of the robots: they’re going to put us out of jobs, Skynet is going to usher in a miserable dystopia, or a friendly AI will automate everything we hate, freeing us to live a life of luxury. But what if both of these accounts are wrong? A deeper look at the actual consequences of automation might suggest something quite different is happening. The gains in productivity automation is supposed to make don’t appear: a decade of stagnation tells us quite otherwise. So what have the automation theorists got wrong? And if the robots aren’t going to usher in utopia, how might we build it with our own hands? James Butler is joined by Aaron Benanav, author of Automation and the Future of Work, to discuss.
Endnotes has recently published an account of the 2019-20 ‘non-movements’ on its website.