Same old beneficiaries of the robots ruse | Letters

Every few decades since the 1950s, there is another automation scare (Letters, 10 November). Yet each new wave of automation displaces less labour than predicted. I investigated the last of these predictions in the 1990s about the imminent computer integrated factory (Forcing the Factory of the Future, 1997). By and large it didn’t happen. However sophisticated the systems, workers are still needed to fill in the unexpected and non-standard tasks. Investments are costly and labour is always cheaper somewhere in the world: today in east Asia and eastern Europe. As in previous episodes it is usually those who would gain from the hype being taken seriously, eg banks (for the capital borrowing) and consultancies (for the expensive advice), who are in the vanguard of propagating it.
Bryn Jones
Social and policy sciences, University of Bath

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via Same old beneficiaries of the robots ruse | Letters

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