Futurists like Jaron Lanier have been warning us that the same thing that happened to assembly line workers in the 20th century is going to happen to knowledge workers in the 21st: machines will come in to do the jobs faster and cheaper.
Of course, in the 20th century it was robots – while in the 21st century it will be software, but the impact will still be the same. This week in Slate, Farhad Manjoo is reporting from the front lines of software automation … and he says he’s terrified by what these programs can do.
Most people are focused on the economic questions this raises: how will millions of people earn a living?
Over at The New Existentialists, however, they’re asking a different question: what will a culture where self-esteem and social standing comes from work do if work becomes the province of machines?
(Photo by Mixabest under a Creative Commons license)