21st Century Automation: Is This Time Truly Different?

Neatly sidestepping the question of whether technology will only destroy jobs or, as every past cycle of technical innovation has done, will also create new (and perhaps currently unimaginable) ones, this post focuses instead on when such a shift can be expected to occur. The period of disruption between the old and the new is important even if it were possible to be confident that the new would be a better place. For much of the nineteenth century, the industrial revolution brought poverty and reduced life expectancy for many – only towards its end did the subsequent century of rising living standards begin. Are we at similar risk of facing serious, and potentially long drawn out, disruption to social order?

Ryan Hagemann and Nicholas Ciuffo – Niskanen Center

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