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Actually, robots do kill people. A 21 year old external contractor was installing the robot together with a colleague when he was struck in the chest by the robot and pressed against a metal plate. He later died of his injuries, reports Chris Bryant, the FT’s Frankfurt correspondent. While we certainly need to be aware […]

I’ve been writing for some years now about the emergence of new technologies, especially automation and robotics, and their potential contribution to raising already-high levels of inequality even further. The problem is not, as I have tried to make clear, technology per se but the way it is designed and utilized within existing economic institutions. In other […]

New technologies—automation, robotics, artificial intelligence—have created a specter of mass unemployment. But, as critical as I am of existing economic institutions, I don’t see that as the issue, at least at the macro level. The real problem is the distribution of the value that is produced with the assistance of the new technologies—in short, the […]

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin may not be worried. Nor, it seems, are other members of the economic and political elite. But the rest of us are—or we should be. As regular readers of this blog know (cf. all these posts), the robots are here and they’re rapidly replacing workers, thus leading to less employment, downward pressure […]

Millions of workers have been displaced by robots. Or, if they have managed to keep their jobs, they’re being deskilled and transformed into appendages of automated machines. We also know that millions more workers and their jobs are threatened by much-anticipated future waves of robotics and other forms of automation. But mainstream economists don’t want us to touch […]

Noah Smith is right about one thing: mainstream economists tend to use the word “capital” pretty loosely. It just means “anything you can spend resources to build, which lasts a long time, and which also can be used to produce value.” That’s really broad. For example, it could include society itself. It also typically includes […]

According to the Wall Street Journal, “never before have big employers tried so hard to hand over chunks of their business to contractors.” What’s happening is large employers—like Virgin America and Wal-Mart—are choosing from a number of different options when it comes to their workers. One is to introduce robots and other forms of job-killing […]

Special mention  

Donald Trump doesn’t know what he’s talking about. But he owned Hillary Clinton during the first part of Monday’s debate. And his attacks on free trade are in fact resonating among working-class voters. That, and the fact that the polls show the presidential election much closer at this stage than anyone expected, has finally made […]

We all know that some large portion of workers and their jobs are threatened—now and in the future—by new technologies. That’s why I’ve been increasingly writing about the conditions and consequences of robots and automation. According to McKinsey, “currently demonstrated technologies could automate 45 percent of the activities people are paid to perform and that about […]