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Showing posts from August, 2014

Here Come The Robots?

Criticism of Silicon Valley's blueprint for a future society has begun to gather some momentum over the last couple of years. Privacy of communications is still perhaps the biggest source of public concern, along with cybercrime and the security of online shopping and banking, but questions about automation and its effect upon employment are now starting to be raised too. This is a concern that resurfaces periodically with every major wave of technical innovation.

In the 1960s the prospect of the abolition of work by automated machinery could still be treated as a utopian goal by groups like the Situationist International: back then trade unions were sufficiently strong that it was taken for granted that wages could be maintained as working hours shrank. The neoliberal reversal of the last 30 years has ensured that labour lacks any such power nowadays (if it ever had it). The matter cropped up again in the early 1980s when it looked as though the personal computer "revolutio…