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Automation: is it really different this time?

Wajcman, Judy (2017) Automation: is it really different this time? British Journal of Sociology, 68 (1). pp. 119-127. ISSN 0007-1315

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Identification Number: 10.1111/1468-4446.12239


This review examines several recent books that deal with the impact of automation and robotics on the future of jobs. Most books in this genre predict that the current phase of digital technology will create massive job loss in an unprecedented way, that is, that this wave of automation is different from previous waves. Uniquely digital technology is said to automate professional occupations for the first time. This review critically examines these claims, puncturing some of the hyperbole about automation, robotics and Artificial Intelligence. The review argues for a more nuanced analysis of the politics of technology and provides some critical distance on Silicon Valley's futurist discourse. Only by insisting that futures are always social can public bodies, rather than autonomous markets and endogenous technologies, become central to disentangling, debating and delivering those futures.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2017 London School of Economics and Political Science
Divisions: Sociology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
T Technology > T Technology (General)
Date Deposited: 14 Mar 2017 15:04
Last Modified: 18 Jul 2024 06:03

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