Automation and the Future of Work

160 pages

English language

Published Jan. 6, 2021 by Verso Books.

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4 stars (1 review)

Silicon Valley titans, politicians, techno-futurists and social critics have united in arguing that we are living on the cusp of an era of rapid technological automation, heralding the end of work as we know it. But does the much-discussed 'rise of the robots' really explain the jobs crisis that awaits us on the other side of the coronavirus? In Automation and the Future of Work, Aaron Benanav uncovers the structural economic trends that will shape our working lives far into the future. What social movements, he asks, are required to propel us into post-scarcity, if technological innovation alone can’t deliver it? In response to calls for a universal basic income that would maintain a growing army of redundant workers, he offers a counter-proposal.

Automation & the Future of Work

4 stars

I'd give this more of a 3.5. I think the ideas here are very important and I agree with much of the author's assessment, but this was one of the most dry, acutely "academic" pieces of writing I've read in a while, I'm sad to say.

That being said, two of the book's main points are important to point out, whether or not you read it: 1) the current "era of automation" is pulling a traditional technosolutionism move by making people believe that it's the development of AI & robotics, not long-term deindustrialization and productivity stagnation, that is creating disruption in the workplace 2) a universal basic income is an indequate solution because it's not guaranteed to reduce inequality or hoarding of capital; it also makes no specific promises about how to redistribute wealth into publicly beneficial projects, and doesn't deal with eliminating scarcity (ie, we don't all magically get …