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A bleakly plausible future for post-pandemic labour

This piece by James Meadway paints a bleakly plausible future for post-pandemic labour. Firstly, the economic costs of social distancing on businesses with already thin profit margins incentivises a renewed push towards automation, something which has been stalled by the relatively cost of labour heretofore. Why risk the large capital […]

A machine for killing relationality

This section from Virginia Eubank’s Automating Inequality has stuck in my mind. It describes the destructive roll out of an automated system for allocating benefits in Indiana, leaving tens of thousands of legitimate recipients caught in a Kafkaesque nightmare which required time, energy and know how at precisely the point […]

Provincialising disruption

The robots are coming! The robots are coming! After watching More Human Than Human, I’ve woken up preoccupied by the rise of the robots narrative and how inadequate it is for making sense of the cultural politics and political economy of automation. The film is an engaging exploration of artificial intelligence and […]

The future of labour in digital capitalism

Bleak but plausible predictions from Nick Srniceck and Alex Williams in their Inventing the Future. From loc 2020-2035: 1. The precarity of the developed economies’ working class will intensify due to the surplus global labour supply (resulting from both globalisation and automation).  2. Jobless recoveries will continue to deepen and […]

Against craft capitalism 

An important reminder by Douglas Rushkoff in Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus. From loc 198-212: For many of us, the current system, however convoluted, is better than nothing, and changing to one in which we must create real value is frightening. Most people are not cultural creatives capable of […]

The Fatalism of the Multitude

This is an idea put forward by James Bryce, a British observer of the United States, in 1889: This tendency to acquiescence and submission, this sense of the insignificance of individual effort, this belief that the affairs of men are swayed by large forces whose movement may be studied but cannot […]

an uncertain future (for other people’s jobs)

I gave a lecture earlier this week about the cultural politics of automation and how this might shape the emergence of mass automation as a primarily structural reality.  I wish I’d seen this Pew poll when I was preparing the lecture: This sense of the inexorability of mass automation is deeply worrying. It’s possible that […]

IFTTT just raised their game

I’ve been using IFTTT for ages now to perform various acts of automation between my various social media accounts. It’s an incredibly useful service and the sheer diversity of ‘channels’ supported by it hint at all manner of future uses yet to be divined. Their new ‘Do’ button raises their […]